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Bon Voyage Cesc. Forward Arsenal

Bon Voyage Cesc. Forward Arsenal

According to the Kubler-Ross model, there are five key stages to loss. The departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona has been on the cards for a very long time, yet in the last 24 hours, I think I have seen various Gooners sift through each stage as the deal ebbed closer.

Denial- "But he was at training today? And Arsene said nobody`s leaving?"

Anger (the Arsenal fans` favourite over the last two years) - "So what? He was rubbish anyway. Rubbish captain, treated club like dirt. Hope he rots on the bench!"

Bargaining- "Surely we can hold out for £50m? Why not keep him one more year until Wilshere and Ramsey are completely ready?" (I think I was here in about May).

Depression- "I can`t believe he`s really going. I thought I was prepared for this but now it`s here I`m just sad."

Acceptance- This is the plateau I planted my feet on some time ago. Why not come join me? There`s beer and strippers here and everything!

Losing your captain and finest player at the age of 24 is a bitter pill to swallow. (It puts one in mind of another club Legend that left for the continent aged 24 with just one F.A. Cup medal to show for his time at the club). Regardless of how long you`ve been expecting it for. The fact that we`ve lost him for a price that dos not reflect his quality to a club that have, frankly, behaved with appalling disrespect towards Arsenal right until the end (Victor Valdes couldn`t even muster the microscopic amount of respect to keep his mouth shut as the deal entered its final hours) makes it all the harder.

Fabregas himself has been in a position of not being able to please anyone this summer and has chosen, wisely in my opinion, to keep his counsel. Not wanting to upset his prospective and current employers is an impossible task by any other means. In our information obsessed generation, the tactful approach was always still going to upset some. Footballers seldom win in these situations. Luka Modric met his desire to leave Tottenham head on. He was criticised. Cesc Fabregas chose to keep quiet. He was criticised. Samir Nasri was willing to see out his contract and then leave. He was criticised. As far as supporters are concerned, the only correct way to leave a club; is when the club doesn`t really need you anymore and moves you on.

Fabregas was possibly the finest player I`ve seen in an Arsenal shirt. As I`ve said before, dominating central midfield on such a consistent basis is different to a mercurial striker who will have liberty to disappear for 30 minutes at a time before erasing their anonymity from your memories with a single brushstroke of genius. Players such as Keane, Vieira and Cesc don`t have that luxury. Cesc also doesn`t have the physical properties of the former pair. Cesc was a boy in the sharp end of a big man`s territory and came up swinging every single time. Contrary to pithy commentary, he was a leader. It was unfortunate that he wasn`t blessed with a few more lieutenants around him as other more feted Arsenal captains were.

I don`t think there`s any one replacement for Cesc because I happen to think the only two central midfielders in the world that come close to him are now his team mates. I think we will have to look more towards the model United adopted when they sold Ronaldo. That is to say, that his burden will be spread across the team. The manager has clearly looked to add pace and direction to the attacking line up with the acquisitions of Oxlade Chamberlain, Gervinho and the addition of Miyachi, which already suggests a change in emphasis. Arsene will need to mould the team into a new style as opposed to identifying one man to fill a Cesc shaped hole. Fabregas` recent hamstring problems have left us in a quandary because the shape of the team has been built around him so indelibly. We are already blessed enough to have Britain`s two finest young central midfield players already in situ. (Though that`s not to detract from the fact that we need additions, before you all start!)

To lose him is a bitter pill. But no reason to plunge oneself into depression. King Whitney Jnr. had a saying that holds very true. "To the fearful, change is threatening because things might get worse. To the hopeful, it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident, it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better." Players always need to be replaced. Even if Cesc had stayed for another ten years, his legs would have given out and we`d have had to replace him at some point anyway. Such is football and such is life. But one of the true gifts of the game is that it`s cyclical. It always gives us other games, others seasons and other players. We live in a society where the media impresses upon us the absolute permanence of the status quo. But Gooners older than I would always tell you that every irreplaceable player is totally indispensible until the next irreplaceable player comes along. Bon voyage Cesc. Forward Arsenal. LD.

Follow me on twitter @LittleDutchVA

I'm also being interviewed tomorrow lunchtime on Radio 5 Live's sports show en route to Newcastle. Tune in if you can.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Friday August 12 2011
Time: 6:23PM


Cesc is one of the best players I ever saw in red and white too, not THE best though, despite your very adequate reasoning, I still can't see past Henry or Bergkamp. It's a futile argument though as nothing can be proved, it's all a matter of opinion and they were/are all world class players. I wish Cesc good health and a nice life, I won't wish him good luck though as that would mean wishing that scumbag club of his good luck too. Call me bitter if you want, but in honesty I think Gooners have earned that right.
12/08/2011 18:55:00
12/08/2011 18:56:00
I dont care about Nasri but Fabregas will be impossible to replace this season. I am too sad that he is leaving us.
12/08/2011 18:57:00
An absolutely superb footballer who should have been surrounded by another giant or two of a player... If I cast my mind back to his earlier years with us where he played alongside some of the invincibles, I remember a young man who loved being in the same team as them and drew more out from him and developed him... That was summarised for me by the unforgettable and impudent goal he scored with Henry a few years back at Blackburn and the way Cesc received the ball then half-chipped a return for thierry to slam it in from the D... it's a shame that Arsene never saw fit to give him slightly better quality to play alongside... and that's the crying shame for me... what makes it plain bitter though, is the fact that we had to wait until the season starts for this to play out... sorry but that's not forgettable and it's totally down to the club management, allowing this to fester away in this way... I would not have been so goddamn angry if we had sent Cesc home in June and could spend the summer looking ahead instead of backward... so yes, thanks for everything Cesc, but we've got work to do right now to get ourselves on track, so the last thing I want to hear is a recorded message or video of fond adieus (like I read somewhere!). LD is right, we don't need to replace, we need to re-organise!
12/08/2011 19:22:00
Problem is Andy, it took Barca 2 years to make us an offer that was only mildly insulting. It's easy to say we should've let him go earlier. The willing was there on the club's part, but Barca let this fester, not us. They offered £25m in June. Last season we were unfortunate because TV5 and RvP are the other big players in our spine. Those 3 just didn't get the chance to play in the same team. They represent the class and leadership. Too often, we had only one of them at the most at our disposal.
Little Dutch
12/08/2011 19:32:00
The whole thing just has me mentally & emotionally exhausted. I'm worn down. I know few will agree but I can't ever shake the feeling that AW & the club in general has wasted Cesc-one of the finest, most creative players ever in the modern game-& not provided him with enuf of the tools to bring us success. Yes I know all the arguments, Cesc's own responsibility yadayadayada. Enuf. No one can shake that feeling from me. I'll miss watching Arsenal without playing Cesc-& it'll hurt to watch Cesc playing in a Barca shirt. I've come to love him as a gunner & as a magnificent player. The way he told off Pulis. Throwing pizza at RedNose. Just a helluva a kid. Whatever. It's done, it's over. Tomorrow is Newcastle & couple days later it's Udinese (which I'm much more worried about). It's a new season, we have new players and a new team to think about. Goodbye, Cesc.
12/08/2011 19:35:00
great player - poor captain. making him captain put too much pressure on him and led to 2 poorish seasons..... now we've got a british midfield of 4 of the best young players in the game.... ramsey and wilshere in the middle add theo and alex on the wings and we are in a better position. Wenger changed the formation to fit cesc into his favoured role.... now we can change it back to one that works! so long as wenger signs cahill then we can challenge...
12/08/2011 19:52:00
May not be the best ever for Arsenal.. but my favorite Arsenal player. Period. Just wait and watch. Now Cesc is going to go down in footballing folklore as he conquers everything in his path. The boy is a winner.
12/08/2011 19:54:00
If only Wenger had provided him with players of similar calibre. The thing about Cesc is that he is as hardworking and determined as he is talented and wanted to win everything. But being surrounded with the likes of DIaby and Denilson when he could be winning stuff was perhaps too much for him. I'll still be following his career. Just love the kid.
12/08/2011 20:03:00
I'm still at phase two atm and I don't think I'm going to shake that bitterness until the season starts and we show we can cope without him, which we can because we did really well without the season before last.
12/08/2011 20:10:00
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