Some Arsenal fans are furious, some are happy, and some are indifferent. I am referring to Cesc Fabregas’ first Premier League trophy – a title he won during his debut season with Chelsea.
But what happens to players who leave Arsenal in search of greener pastures? Are they vindicated in their decision? Or left filled with regret?
Fabregas obviously doesn’t fall into the same category as the likes of Alexander Hleb or Alex Song – both of whom saw their careers crumble after leaving the club – but things haven’t exactly gone fantastically for the Spaniard since he traded the Emirates for the Nou Camp.
We were naturally upset when the 27-year-old forced his way out, more down to the nature of his exit than the exit itself. Having been adored at Arsenal though, Fabregas found himself a much maligned figure at Barcelona.
He expected his return to Spain to be one of joy, but was made a scapegoat by the club during times of hardship, and was rarely recognised for his contributions.
Fabregas made over 150 appearances for the club during a three year spell, scoring more than 40 goals in that time. He was regularly booed by his own fans however, and received a huge amount of criticism for his performances.
The Catalan giants also went through a somewhat barren spell trophy wise while Fabregas was at the club – at least by their own lofty standards.
Our former captain won just a single La Liga title during his time there, and never once claimed the Champions League success the fans at Camp Nou had grown accustomed to under Pep Guardiola.
Fabregas understandably wasn’t willing to stick around just to be abused (regardless of his Barca DNA), and sought a move back to the Premier League. We had moved on by this point though, allowing Chelsea to swoop in and secure his services.
So with his recent success in the English top flight, Fabregas has now won two titles since leaving the Emirates. The question is, is that enough to justify his departure? And will he have regrets about leaving?
Many in modern football believe it’s all about trophy success, and claim that if you haven’t won a title then your career has been a failure. But Fabregas went from being loved and worshipped at Arsenal, to being booed and lambasted at Barcelona – surely something that can’t have been enjoyable.
Obviously in years to come when you look back at the stats, the history books will tell you that he made the right decision. Instead of going down as an Arsenal legend though – where he may or may not have won major titles eventually, given our newfound wealth – he will go down as the player who failed at Barcelona and was forced back to the Premier League with his tail between his legs.
It’s unlikely that Fabregas will ever achieve the cult status he had at Arsenal while at Chelsea, no matter how successful he is. So will he regret leaving the club that made him who he is? Or will his meagre trophy success give him solace?
You could argue that he may now regret leaving, but equally: had he remained with Arsenal he may have regretted never taking the opportunity to join Barcelona. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.