Wenger raises intrigue over Arsenal’s Fabregas clause

Arsene Wenger has intimated that Arsenal’s supposed buy-back clause on Cesc Fabregas was perhaps not as straight forward as many think.

Having left Barcelona for North London in the summer of 2004, Fabregas soon established himself as a key player – and later captain – for the Gunners, but was left frustrated with their inability to add to their honours list. For that reason he was eager to return to his former club, and did so in 2011 when he would then go on to win six trophies including La Liga title in 2013.

But when the midfielder fell out of favour at his hometown club he set his sights on a return to England, and it was largely expected that he would return to Arsenal especially when it transpired they had secured a buy-back clause. But, as the story goes, Wenger decided against offering him a return to the club, so he instead signed for capital rivals Chelsea in a £30million deal.

Fabregas will return to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for the first time, and he is likely to receive a hot reception from the home fans. However, some pundits and indeed fans have instead pointed the finger at Wenger for rejecting the chance to sign this season’s top assist maker in the Premier League, but he has now intimated that the buy-back clause wasn’t quite straight forward.

“I cannot speak to you about that now because that will not help us to win the game on Sunday,” Wenger said. “We will have to discuss that one day, with all the terms. It is not as clean as that. The regret I have is that he wanted to leave. This club and myself had a very positive influence on Cesc’s life, so I would be uncomfortable to have to justify today why he is not here.”

A win for Chelsea would put take them to just three points of a first league title since 2010, which they could accumulate when they travel to Leicester City on Wednesday. As for Fabregas, Jose Mourinho doesn’t know the reasons why the 27-year-old snubbed a return to Arsenal, but the Portuguese coach can certainly explain why the playmaker chose Stamford Bridge.

“I know why he chose Chelsea,” said Mourinho. “I don’t know why he didn’t choose Arsenal. I can only speak about what we promised him. I can’t talk about what stopped him going back. I just promised him we’d build a team very adapted to his style of play. That he was going to be an important player in our project. And that, normally, good projects end with titles.”

Do you think Wenger actually rejected the chance to sign Fabregas again, or do you think maybe the midfielder had set his heart on a move to their capital rivals?

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