I’m not asking what Cesc’s value is in the transfer market.
Rather, what is Cesc worth to Arsenal right now – and how much would we be prepared to pay for him?
We all know the fee we got for him from Barcelona (£25m) was ludicrously low. Cesc had openly stated that Catalonia was the only destination he would contemplate, so there was no chance of getting a bidding war going.
But with Manchester United apparently confirming that they want to sign our erstwhile hero this summer, some uncomfortable questions have been raised.
Not least, could any of us bear the sight of Cesc linking up with Brave Sir Robin for one of our rivals in the Premier League next season?
One of the much-reported aspects of the deal we made in selling Cesc to Barca was that we would have “first refusal” to buy him back should Barca want to sell him.
Arsene Wenger more or less confirmed this the other day during our Far East tour, telling reporters: “Fabregas has decided to stay one more year at Barcelona. Unless he has changed his mind. I don’t know. But that’s what I have been told. We have the clause in his contract so we would be on alert but at the moment that’s not something we are after.”
Although he didn’t give any more detail on “the clause in his contract” it seemed to be a tacit admission that we do have “first refusal.”
But what does that actually mean?
Does it mean that we have the right to buy back Cesc at a pre-agreed fee?
Or that we have the right to match any other club’s bid for him?
Or that we have the right to be informed of another club’s bid and start our own negotiations with the club and player if we want to compete?
The more you think about it, the less useful our “first refusal” seems. If it simply gives us the option to match another club’s bid then we probably have little chance of bringing back Cesc if the likes of ManUre, the Northern or Southern Oilers or even PSG are in the race.
But let’s suppose Manchester United offer a transfer amount with which we CAN compete (for example, £25m-£30m), but also offer the player personal terms which are way beyond anything we pay any of our players.
One report I read yesterday said the Mancs were offering to double Cesc’s wages if he moved to Old Toilet.
Cesc talks very fondly of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. But when it comes to believing in player loyalty our fingers have been burnt more often than a blind baker’s and we would be rash to assume he could not be lured to one of our rivals by piles of filthy lucre.
For us to hijack the move, we would presumably need to match whatever personal terms United are offering.
Which brings me to my original question: IF Cesc does leave Barcelona this summer (and let’s remember that he has so far said he does not want to leave) how much should/would Arsenal be prepared to pay to bring him back to The Home Of Football?
Would we match a transfer fee of £40m? Would we match wages of £200k per week? £250k per week?
If we did, do we risk having a queue of other players at the manager’s door demanding pay rises? Does it create disharmony in the dressing room?
On the other hand, maybe it’s worth paying £200k per week to make sure Manchester United do NOT have Cesc linking up with the Dutchman.
Maybe we don’t need Cesc at all.
I am conflicted about all of this. I would like Cesc back in our squad; I would hate to see him in a Manc shirt; but if we’re going to spend £30-odd million on a player this year I would rather we got a world class striker.
What do you think?
How much is Cesc worth to us?