Paul Merson defends Cesc Fabregas over Arsenal decision

Paul Merson explains why he backed Cesc Fabregas' decision to quit Arsenal and sign for FC Barcelona in 2011

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson has insisted that Cesc Fabregas made the right decision when he quit Arsenal to re-join FC Barcelona in the summer of 2011.

The former Gunners captain made the decision to leave The Emirates after years of speculation linking him with a return to his boyhood club before the switch.

Fabregas spent eight years at Arsenal and was the north London side’s skipper when he decided to move back to Spain and join FC Barcelona.

Now, former Arsenal star Merson has given his thoughts on Fabregas’ choice to leave the north London side and return to Spain nine years ago.

Speaking in an interview quoted by Metro, Merson said: “I can understand the reason Cesc Fabregas laid out as to why he left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011.

“I don’t know too many footballers, who when Barcelona and Real Madrid come calling don’t go.

“Fabregas is an interesting case because he did leave Barcelona as a youngster to go to Arsenal, but he couldn’t turn it down when they came calling again.

“I can’t think of too many players that could turn it down. You may get a player to wait around another year, but they always end up going in the end, and I had no problem with Fabregas going when he did.

“He was a great servant for Arsenal, and I can understand where he was coming from when he spoke about the pressure on winning trophies and the club’s lack of recruitment.

“He’d given his all for the club and the reality is that he could probably see Arsenal were a team in decline, and as I said, I don’t know too many professional footballers who could turn down Barcelona.

“In the end, his decision was proved right. The lad’s a special player, there’s no doubt about it. Whatever football team he’d have gone to he would have improved. There are not many footballers around the world that can say they can walk into any side in the world and improve it.”

Arsenal are currently in ninth place in the Premier League table as they chase a top-four finish in Mikel Arteta’s first season in charge at the club.

The north London side are currently scheduled to return to Premier League action when they take on leaders Liverpool FC at The Emirates on 2 May.

However, it remains to be seen whether there will be further disruptions to the Premier League schedule amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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