The Spaniard spent eight years with Arsenal and made over 300 appearances for the North Londoners before returning to boyhood club Barcelona in the summer of 2011. However the 27 year old signed a five-year deal with the Stamford Bridge club in June after Wenger turned down the opportunity to bring the Spaniard back to Emirates Stadium.
Wenger has once again confirmed that Fabregas’ first choice was to re-join the Gunners. When asked if the Spaniard wanted to return to Arsenal. He said:
Certainly, yes. I don’t want to make a big story of that because you have to accept that. I personally believe that deal was done a long time ago, early 2014, and all the other speculation is just made up.
I didn’t speak to him directly. I was informed that he might go to Chelsea. Everybody has the freedom to go where he wants. When he left [for Barcelona] we bought [Mesut] Özil. We were not in need of offensive players.
Cesc Fàbregas, when he looks back at his career, he will find that Arsenal and myself had a very positive influence on his career. I have no personal animosity against Fàbregas. He is a person I love and a player I love. [He deserves a] respectful welcome. Everybody respects Cesc here and I want him to get the welcome he deserves.
The French manager also revealed that he turned down the chance to work with his former captain again because he already had Ozil and the Gunners didn’t need any more attack-minded players. He said:
When he left we bought Ozil to buy an offensive player. We have Cazorla, we have Wilshere, we have Ramsey, we have Oxlade-Chamberlain, who are all offensive players.
We were not in the need to buy offensive players. It makes sense if you just look at the balance of the team. I think that’s a decision that is easy to understand.
I think everybody has the freedom to go where they want. We have to respect their decisions. As long as we are not in contention we cannot stop people going where they want.
The Gunners have plenty of top class talent in the midfield and many would rightly question whether we actually need him. However when a talent as good as Fabregas is available you can never be too full, as the instant quality that the Spaniard would bring to the team was unquestionable.
I personally would have wanted him at the Emirates, but yet I’m not angry that we rejected the chance to sign him as he is not the kind of player we needed. I’ll hate seeing him at Chelsea, but I don’t hate him and I’m not angry with Wenger, as I firmly believe the right decision was made.
Wenger’s decision to decline to sign Fabregas was almost admirable in the way the head overruled the heart. With the midfielder set to face his former club for the first time and while wearing the shirt of a direct rival, attention turns to how his presence will be received by travelling fans.
Did Wenger make a mistake by not signing Fabregas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.