Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhy Cesc Fabregas will be a success at Barcelona - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Why Cesc Fabregas will be a success at Barcelona - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Why Cesc Fabregas will be a success at Barcelona

After protracted transfer negotiations, Barcelona have finally got their man. The European champions have strengthened their side with one of the most talked-about players in Europe.

President Joan Laporta is enthusiastic about the new star, saying: “He is not a conformist, he is ambitious, a winner, an authentic man with strong feelings and he wanted to come to Barcelona.”

There is every reason to expect him to be a success.

One year later, Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves Barcelona in a rage after struggling to force his way into Pep Guardiola’s first eleven: despite an impressive goals-per-game rate, the Swede made just one more league start than then-22 year old Pedro.

Ibrahimovic’s experience at Barcelona highlights the difficulties facing Cesc Fabregas at his new – or, rather, old – club. Javier Mascherano, another expensive signing who joined from Liverpool last summer and the world’s best defensive midfield player, has been unable to displace Sergio Busquets from the side and has had to line up at centre back to get regular football for the Catalans.

Yaya Toure, who was superb in an attacking midfield role for Manchester City last season, had to do likewise, most notably in the 2009 Champions League final, when Busquets was again preferred in midfield.

This is because Guardiola, like his progenitor Johan Cruyff, picks his side based on what will enable his side’s tiki-taka style to flourish. Ibrahimovic, Mascherano and now Fabregas are undoubtedly all highly talented player, but the Barcelona boss has shown that he will stand by the more unglamorous but nevertheless very capable members of his squad, such as Pedro and Busquets, if he believes they will contribute more to the team performance than a marquee signing.

For all this, though, Fabregas will be a success at Barcelona, as he will find it much easier to adapt his game to the Camp Nou style than others have. There are three reasons for this: he already plays with many of his new teammates at international level, which also helped David Villa look like he’d been in the Barca first team for years; he played with Lionel Messi at youth level before joining Arsenal at 16; and he has arrived back in Catalonia having spent eight years as the talisman in a team that Arsène Wenger has built on very similar principles to Guardiola’s.

There are question marks about where the 24 year old will fit into the first eleven, particularly with Andres Iniesta playing in a slightly more withdrawn role last season, alongside the peerless Xavi and the seemingly unmovable Busquets.

But one must believe that Guardiola would not have remained so dogged in his pursuit of the former Arsenal captain if he did not believe he will improve his side, and with two years to think about it, he must surely have a clear idea of how Cesc is to fit into the squad. The rest of us shall have to wait for Barca’s opening league fixture in Malaga on Sunday to find out just what that is.

Steven Chicken @malchickles



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