Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has given the first installment of a two-part interview with the Guardian in which he revealed his love for the Gunners and his wish to return one day even as a coach or in a figure-head role.
The attacking midfielder left Arsenal in the summer of 2011 after what was one of the most frustrating summers for Gooners after watching the heart being ripped out of the Gunners side. Upon departing the Spaniard claimed Arsenal’s future was bright with Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere ready to step up and take over his mantel. He further iterated the quality that makes up the Arsenal squad and feels they can have a decent crack at the title this season.
The Barcelona star still remains hopeful that he will return to the Arsenal ‘family’ in the future, a place where he thrived at a young age under the tutorship of Arsene Wenger.
Fabregas told the Guardian:
Arsenal is in my heart and always will be. It was important for me to leave the right way. I think the fans understood.
I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to go back and play there one day, or maybe after football.
The club’s like a family so even if it wasn’t as a coach, I’m sure they’d give me the chance to play a role.
It’s a club that is always going to be there and will always open its doors to me.
Fabregas felt he had become an obstacle in the way of Ramsey and Wilshere’s development and leaving the club after eight years had a silver lining.
I watch the way Ramsey is playing now, how he looks so liberated, and I think maybe I blocked his way. Maybe I was an obstacle.
Sometimes you need someone to leave for you to step forward and say: ‘I’m here.’
I’m saying that about Ramsey just as an example … I could say the same for Jack [Wilshere].
It’s the concept I’m talking about, the idea of stepping up. That mental unblocking is so important. Both of them have a brilliant future.
[They can be] as good as they want. They have quality on the ball and they have the physical attributes.
Ramsey’s stamina is spectacular. Wilshere is a bit different to the typical English player: he’s more of a short passer.
Ramsey is one of those that you look at and think: ‘He doesn’t stand out in any specific quality, but he does everything, everything, well.’
His touch is good, his movement’s good, now he’s scoring goals too, providing assists. He’s a kid who as a team player is a beast. Above all, he now has the confidence, responsibility.
The Spain international felt there were certain elements missing from the squad when he was around, namely a lack of experience. Now with a range of high caliber international players in and around the squad, Fabregas feels they have a genuine shot at the title and praised the likes of Flamini and Ozil.
The experience was missing [and] we suffered because of that. Now I think they’ve found a good balance.
They have people there who have a lot of experience like [Per] Mertesacker and Mikel [Arteta] and [Lukas] Podolski.
I really do think [that Flamini could make the difference].
[On signing Ozil] If you have the chance to sign Özil, you can’t let it pass you by.I think he’s going to enjoy it enormously.
He’s the man who has to make the difference in the final third. His last pass is brilliant, he’ll get more space and with space he kills you.
He’s going to score more goals himself because of that space. There’s no one better than him for that mediapunta [attacking midfielder] role.
[On Arsenal’s title chances] I really hope so. They’ve started very well. They look very strong; let’s see how they last.
With Manchester there is always talk about a dip, but it never happens. A lot gets decided over Christmas: the team that hangs in there best, that can resist the best, will take the title.
It is encouraging to hear Fabregas talk so fondly of Arsenal still, he remains a very popular figure and passionate Gooner. With Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil at Wenger’s disposal, not to mention Flamini, Rosicky, Wilshere, Ramsey and Arteta – he finally has a midfield that would crap all over the Fabregas-Nasri-Song combination.
It have been tough times over the past few years, but now the Gunners are really having a stab at adding some long-awaited silverware to the cabinet.
Fabregas’ future remained ‘uncertain’ in the media’s eyes over the summer, with Manchester United and David Moyes rather comically seeking to bring in the midfielder. He never would have betrayed Arsenal and moved to a rival (unlike a certain Dutch tosser) and hopefully he does return to the club in some capacity in the future.
The north London has a certain allure that seems to bring back former stars at some point in their careers as we’ve seen time and time again over the past few seasons. Next up it may be Bergkamp or Vieira in some sort of coaching capacity. But the door is always open for El Capitán…