As Cesc Fabregas enters his third season with Barcelona’s first team the first doubts have been cast over his position at the club. Manchester United made their interest very clear with two bids which where both instantly rejected and left Fabregas having to hold a press conference to state his commitment to the Catalans. His desire to succeed at Barcelona is stronger than ever and clearly a mutual one shared with his club given their swift responses to Manchester United’s advances. United must have felt they genuinely had a chance to lure him away from the Spanish champions but it seems as though Fabregas feels he owes it to Arsenal to give it everything he has with Barcelona to succeed. He didn’t leave a club he loves in Arsenal to fail at Barca and move again. Especially not to one of Arsenals biggest rivals.
It’s not often somebody who has come through Barca’s famous La Masia cantera fails to fit in with the system of the first team. That appears to be the case with Fabregas though. It’s been hard for him to find a position he can flourish in, the endless amount of talent surrounding him makes it harder, but he’s certainly capable of breaking through and nailing down a place in the starting eleven. The problem is he’s a central midfielder- and Barcelona have arguably the two best midfielders in the world. As a result we’ve seen him deployed out wide in a 4-3-3 and sometimes even in the false number nine role when a certain Argentinian is unavailable. Last season Tito Vilanova and Jordi Roura toyed with the idea of forcing Iniesta out wide in order to accomodate Fabregas which didn’t go down so well with the former- (though he still remained brilliant). This year Fabregas is expected to be given more chances to play in the center of midfield as Xavi’s legs will need to be better preserved and conditioned for the bigger games but some at the club, including the fans, don’t see him as a direct replacement for Xavi. There’s a feeling Fabregas is better used further up the park rather than deeper, but as aforementioned he will have a tough time keeping Iniesta or Messi out of the side while the arrival of Neymar should see his playing time out wide reduced too.
The time has come now for Fabregas to truly make his mark on this Barcelona side. He’s 26 years old and too good to be used seemingly wherever the management pleases and he needs to hold down a consistent position in the team. Add the fact Vicente Del Bosque will be keeping a close eye in this world cup year and it makes it an even bigger season for the 26 year old. Should Fabregas fail to make his mark this season you do wonder, in a years time, if him and his club would be so quick to dismiss any chance of a departure should an offer come in the summer, particularly one from Arsenal.
For now though Fabregas will continue to give his all for Barcelona. The club and player have been given a slight reminder that the footballing world is aware of their trouble finding a way to get the best out of such a talented footballer, and others clubs believe if Barcelona can’t, they can. Barcelona need to help Fabregas in order for him to help them.