Look at your mate Hleb, Cesc, before you make advances to Catalonia

By Avenell Dave

Apart from worrying about the health of our players during another pointless international schedule, my mind has been firmly fixed on the goings on at Barcelona this week.

With a democratic election process requiring far more accountability than our teams in England enjoy, Barcelona's Presidential candidates must prove they can deliver trophies over the course of their tenure.

Like us Gooners, what gets fans excited is new faces, especially if they are top quality players of renown.

As far as Barcelona and Madrid fans are concerned, that amounts to three players - David Villa and David Silva at cash-strapped Valencia and Cesc Fabregas at cash-strapped Arsenal.

The attraction of Fabregas is that he is a Catalan by birth, has never played in Spain and is playing for a team who are currently considered to be outsiders rather than contenders for the major trophies.

Addict has it on good authority that Cesc was close to a move to Real this summer but his heart lies with the club where he started his career.

From the first time I saw him play, I've anticipated a return to Barca for Cesc, but does it make total sense?

Madrid have strengthened considerably this summer and while Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joined Barca, the loss of Samuel Eto'o will hurt them.

Added to that, in Iniesta and Xavi Barca already have two playmakers - Cesc will no doubt find himself on the bench a great deal instead of being first choice as he is over here.

And if things go wrong for Barca, the fans will look for a scapegoat and while it may not be any individual's fault, the high profile new boy may find himself singled out, local or not.

Cesc only has to look at his friend Alex Hleb to see how things can change when a player leaves Arsenal.

Although the pair probably speak regularly, Hleb's lamentation yesterday about his folly in moving to the Camp Nou is a timely reminder as Barca circle.

Players rarely thrive when leaving Arsenal - Jose Antonio Reyes is another whose return to Spain hasn't quite worked out as planned.

I've noticed that Cesc hasn't come out and declared his love and commitment to us since this latest flirtation by Barca - and some may say 'why should he?'

Even Hleb declared his commitment last summer, only to leave a few weeks later.

Put yourself in Cesc's position - the chance of returning to his hometown club, European Champions and almost assured of a top two finish at worst, with his boyhood hero Pep Guardiola in charge, must be tempting.

I wonder whether Arsene Wenger has made Cesc any assurances about recruits that will make us truly competitive rather than just a selling club as we are currently perceived to be.
We are on the verge of greatness and a couple of key new faces could make all the difference.

Players like to be assured that the club is progressing, whatever they say publicly. And I can't imagine Cesc is ever sheepish when it comes for asking for information.

But if the example of Hleb isn't enough, our captain might just want to remember the age old adage that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.