Cesc Fabregas has told Spanish radio that he wants to stay at Barcelona, which in a rational world would signal the end of speculation about him but at this point, we all know it probably won't. In an interview with Onda Cero, Fabregas said that he's "living the dream" at Barcelona, and that he "wants to triumph there."
So one would assume that this marks the end of the "Cesc to Arsenal" transfer saga, right? Well, that's probably the case - but it's not quite that simple. First of all, it appears that he was responding specifically to the rumors that he was being pursued by Manchester United, rather than Arsenal. Arsenal was never actually specifically mentioned, so there's still that unanswered (that is, whether he has interest in returning at some point, or even if there was ever real interest there).
Additionally, while he said a bunch of great stuff about Barca, he also talked about the struggles that he's had since moving.
The public is boss. If they whistle, I'll have to put up with it. I was the first to know that Barça would be the most important challenge of my life. I just want to play.
Barcelona is my home...I know there are some people who don't like how I play, but these all are challenges in my life and it must make me stronger and let me know I still have a lot to improve if I will be able to succeed in this team.
The most important thing is to face every good and bad moment as they come. But it's true there have been some games when I wasn't OK, for example the one against Bayern Munich. You always have to accept the supporters' opinion. Then I just have to keep fighting so I can be wanted.
That's all interesting to me, because after hearing about how he's "very happy" and "living a dream" you wouldn't expect him to then talk just as much about all of the problems you're having. That all doesn't sound much like a dream. But I don't think it means he's coming to Arsenal.
If you remember back to when this all started, this is what we said:
If this is a real thing, and Arsenal are actually trying to bring Cesc back, it's going to be tough. Arsenal have advantages over the other clubs that are supposedly trying to pry Cesc from Barca...But it's still a world-class player. There will be negotiations on price, there will be negotiations on clauses, there will (if lucky) be negotiations on contract. It's all very involved, and there are a lot of moving pieces to a transfer like this - one involving a player who's absolutely world-class, and one with such a complicated history with both teams. There will be a lot of places where something like this could fall apart.
This is the reason why...I doubt this is a transfer that will end up happening. There's just too much that could go wrong - Geoff's source could be wrong [ed: remember, this was initially based on tweets from @GeoffArsenal, who hedged about as much as I did on this], the money might not be there yet (as we've been led to believe), Cesc may not actually want to come back, Guillem Balague could be more right than anyone else, or the clubs could fail to agree...It's just more likely not to happen than it is to happen. I think Geoff is probably right - there's a chance, but it's complicated. I'm less bullish on it than he seems to be, but he seems to have the better sources, so maybe I'm just cynical.
It was always a pretty unlikely thing. These comments don't necessarily rule out a move, because players say a lot of things they don't mean - I'm pretty sure Alex Song said he was happy at Arsenal last summer, and so on and so on - but the window of probability is cracked just about a micron right now. Things could change, but for right now it looks like we'll have to postpone the Welcome Home Cesc party for at least another year. But we'll see.
Or at least I will. You don't have to, we'll let you know if anything actually happens.