Do Barca really need to splash out on Cesc?

June 20, 2011

In our latest post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers in Madrid looks at the latest round of speculation over the future of Cesc Fabregas and classy Mali striker Frederic Kanoute’s decision to play on at Sevilla for one more season.

Do Barca really need to splash out on Cesc?

The annual ‘will Cesc Fabregas leave Arsenal and return to Barcelona’ media machine has been cranking into gear in recent weeks and the man himself showed up in Madrid last week to present a new fragrance at a trendy art gallery near Atocha railway station.

Without having the decency to ask anything about the perfume, the assembled sports hacks packing the room subjected the slightly embarrassed-looking Spain international to a sustained grilling about his future.

Depending on which Spanish newspaper you worked for, Fabregas was either definitely on his way back club he left as a 16-year-old in 2003, had committed his future to Arsenal or was cosying up to Real Madrid.

From what he has said in the past, it would be amazing if Fabregas, a born and bred Catalan, moved anywhere else apart from Barca (if he ever does leave Arsenal) and he reiterated that it had always been his dream to play for their first team, where he is seen as a natural successor to his Spain team mate and fellow playmaker Xavi.

It’s interesting, and perhaps revealing, to see that Fabregas is not one of the players Arsenal have used in the promotional photos for their new kit on their website (www.arsenal.com).

The question is do the European champions even need him?

He is likely to cost at least 40 million euros ($57.2 million), which would eat up most of what Barca have said is their annual transfer budget as they attempt to trim their enormous debt and return to profit.

Xavi, who turned 31 in January, probably has three good seasons left in him and will certainly not want to bow out before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

His midfield partners Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets are well established to say the least and coach Pep Guardiola is unlikely to tinker with a formula that has brought him an amazing 10 trophies in three seasons, including two European Champions League titles and three La Liga crowns.

Barca also have a very promising young player coming through from the B-team in Thiago Alcantara, an Italian-born 20-year-old of Brazilian origin who has been showing off his ball-playing skills for Spain at the under-21 European championships in Denmark the past week.

Barca president Sandro Rosell said last week Fabregas was not worth 40 million euros. Was he trying to bid the price down or does he perhaps feel that the club can do without him – at least until Xavi hangs up his boots?

Kanoute to entertain La Liga fans for one more season

For those who have enjoyed watching the effortlessly classy Frederic Kanoute in La Liga in recent years there was good news this week when the Mali striker agreed to stay with Sevilla for another season.

The 33-year-old former African footballer of the year has been with the Andalusian club since 2005 and had received offers to play in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Barca coach Guardiola is known to be a big fan of the former Tottenham Hotspur man and admitted back in March that Kanoute had changed the game when he came on at halftime and helped Sevilla earn a 1-1 draw in La Liga.

“We have been fair with each other and we are very pleased,” Sevilla sports director Ramon ‘Monchi’ Rodriguez told the club’s website (www.sevillafc.es). “It’s a luxury to be able to count on player and a person like him.”

PHOTO: Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas attends a promotional event to launch a new perfume in Madrid June 15, 2011.REUTERS/Andrea Comas.

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