Rumour: "Good chance" Cesc Fabregas returns to Arsenal this summer

"please, send me baaaaaaaaaaack" - Laurence Griffiths

***CESC TRANSFER SAGA KLAXON***

As the more early-rising among you may already have seen, there's been another possible twist in the proto-saga that's becoming 2013's Cesc Fabregas Rumor Mill. According to Twitter's @GeoffArsenal - one of two or three people whose "inside scoops" interest me at all - there's at least a possibility that Cesc could return to Arsenal, and that it could be done relatively soon. Look:

Yes, it's Twitter. We all know this, but despite the fact that Twitter is a whirling hellscape of lies and deceit, Geoff is actually relatively reliable. He's not perfect, certainly, but he's been right on enough things that I'm led to believe that he's one of the few ITKs who actually has a legitimate source at the club. So this is at least an interesting bit of information to be considered. So let's consider it!

Cesc is always a touchy subject. We all loved him (as far as I know, HOW COULD YOU NOT? HE WAS GLORIOUS) and he left in that weird window where it hurt a lot, but people didn't really sour on him that much because he was "going home." I've been mad at him for a while, but it's more like being mad at a family member. It's not like Robin van Persie, which is more like being "mad" at a cousin who killed a guy. His close association to both Barcelona and Arsenal has caught him in the middle, in a sense, and though I really don't feel bad for him (if you have those two clubs fighting over me, you've done something right) it does get annoying as a fan.

But something that Geoff says here is entirely accurate. 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 - they have right of first refusal on any sale, and a 50% sell-on clause. That means that any transfer to a non-Arsenal club essentially has to be approved by Arsenal (an incomplete explanation, but close enough) and if it is, we get half of the fee. This is partially why the Manchester United rumor was silly, at £25 million: if Barcelona would sell him there for that, why not here for, let's say, £18 million? The answer is "because they would never sell him for basically £12.5 million," by the way.

But it's still a world-class player, and if we were able to get these clauses from Barcelona, it stands to reason that they would want something similar if we were to buy him back. 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, even as someone who thinks Geoff is a reliable source (I did spend my morning writing this, after all, and it's not for nothing) 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, 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. And those are just the things that I thought of in a minute, as I was typing. It's just more likely not to happen than it is to happen. I think Geoff is probably right - there's a chance this could happen, 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. But he's right - take a deep breath.

UPDATE

Geoff speaks, once again. Some more details about where things (evidently) stand:

The £25 million release clause to Arsenal is news to me, though I believe it was mentioned in the comments earlier. Some interesting developments, and Geoff also claims that "it will be out soon and will become clearer," so I guess we'll all see. ANOTHER FUN SUMMER RIGHT GUYS

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