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Wenger tries to whitewash Fàbregas snub

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Hey, remember how Arsenal had, by all accounts, a "first-option" on Cesc Fàbregas's return to the Premier League once he decided to leave Barcelona?  Remember how the man who once called Wenger his "second father" was then promptly snubbed by said father figure last summer?  Remember, remember, then the fifth of October?

Anyway, most of this story had already been told, by both sides nonetheless, though in greater detail by the new Chelsea hero rather than the grumpy old man across town.

"We talked with Wenger but he said he'd find it hard to make a place for me on the pitch as Mesut Ozil had my position covered."

-Cesc Fàbregas, June 15, 2014; BBC

"I had options [after Arsenal failed to take up their option] and at that stage Chelsea were just one of the options I was considering. But after Jose Mourinho came to see me and talked to me face to face there were no other options any more."

-Cesc Fàbregas, September 21, 2014; The Sun

Initially, Wenger's story basically matched Fàbregas's version of the events.

"I have no regret about [not exercising the first-option] at all. My regret is that he left."

"It was difficult for him to leave us, but after that you accept he can move to some different clubs. What is good in life is that someone moves out and someone else takes over and he has developed. [Ramsey] is younger than Cesc and the potential is there to get more out of him."

-Arsene Wenger, August 21, 2014; BBC

"Certainly, yes, [Fàbregas wanted to return to Arsenal]. I don't want to make a big story of that because you have to accept that. I personally believe that deal was done a long time ago, early 2014, and all the other speculation is just made up. I didn't speak to him directly. I was informed that he might go to Chelsea. Everybody has the freedom to go where he wants."

"When he left [for Barcelona] we bought [Mesut] Ozil. We were not in need of offensive players. We have [Santi] Cazorla, we have [Jack] Wilshere, we have [Aaron] Ramsey, we have [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain who were all offensive players. It makes sense if you just look at the balance of the team. I think that's a decision that is easy to understand."

-Arsene Wenger, October 3, 2014, Goal

Other than Wenger washing his own hands, his story corroborated Cesc's story.  Arsenal simply didn't want their former star and captain back, so he went to a team and a manager who really wanted him.  They preferred Ramsey and Ozil, we preferred, for better or worse, to change the character of the team and incorporate the Premier League's current assist leader into our midfield.  That decision should pay dividends soon enough with a domestic league and cup double.

So now, with Cesc and Chelsea sitting 10 points clear of Arsenal at the top of the table, Wenger is trying to unsettle the situation by implying that somehow it's actually Fàbregas who should be blamed for last summer's outcome.

"We will have to discuss that one day. With all the terms ... it's not as clean as that. I cannot speak to you about that now because that will not help us to win the game on Sunday."

"The regret I have is that Cesc wanted to leave here. This club and myself had a very positive influence on Cesc's life, so I would be a bit uncomfortable to have to justify today why he is not here. I believe I would rather it was the other way around."

-Arsene Wenger, April 23, 2015, Guardian

Mmm ... now serving Arsene, extra bitter.  To his credit, the Arsenal manager does call on the Emirates faithful to show a bit of respect for their one-time future legend.

"I want every player to be respected and Cesc Fàbregas, when he comes to the Emirates on Sunday, to be respected like he deserves."

-Arsene Wenger, April 23, 2015, Guardian

Yet, with Wenger flipping the script and suddenly blaming Fàbregas for the events of last summer, I'm guessing that respect might not be so evident on Sunday...