When Cesc Fabregas joined Chelsea last week, he made sure that Arsenal fans were reminded that his former club had the option to bring the option to bring the one-time captain back. Arsene Wenger decided to pass on that reunion, and Cesc explains why:
"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,"
On the surface, this makes some sense. Fabregas would be best utilized in the same position as one of Arsenal's two best players, and therefore, isn't a perfect fit. That said, there's little doubt that a player of Fabregas' caliber wouldn't be a massive upgrade to the Arsenal lineup even if played out of position, as Ozil and Aaron Ramsey aside, Arsenal don't have another attacking player offering anywhere near the same sort of talent.
The fit is an issue at Chelsea as well, where there are loads of excellent attacking options already at Jose Mourinho's disposal. Here's what the Spaniard had to say about any concerns the Chelsea boss may have had:
"I spoke with Jose Mourinho and he said what I wanted to hear and things went very quickly from there. This is not the right moment to talk about this, though, as we need to be focused on the national team and the World Cup."
I don't love this transfer, not because Fabregas doesn't make this squad better, but because I had other players that I'd personally prefer to see added, and I really don't relish the idea of cheering for a guy I've disliked for so long. That didn't stop Mourinho or the board from upgrading when the need arose though, and the club's chances of winning silverware next season have increased because of it. Marginal upgrades are still upgrades, and the Portuguese manager clearly understands this.
The way these two managers reacted to the availability of Cesc Fabregas really helps to explain the massive difference in the amount of silverware each has won over the course of the past decade. When faced with adding world-class talent that might not be a perfect fit, Mourinho just assumes he can make the situation work to improve his club's chances of winning. Wenger, on the other hand, looks for a perfect transfer target, and decides to pass on the player if the value or fit isn't absolutely perfect. At least Arsenal will make a profit though...