Should Cesc remain as Arsenal captain?

By Avenell Dave and Graham McNorthbank

NO - Avenell Dave

Let me state right here and now that I think Cesc is a wonderful player - possibly one of the best we have ever seen in an Arsenal shirt.

When he doesn't play, so much of our imagination is lost and we look a lot less potent.

I'd live him to spend the rest of his career at our beloved club but have always accepted that he will move on at some point.

I'd prefer it if that was under Arsenal's terms, with no chance for speculation and when we have got the best years out of him. Just as with Thierry Henry.

Back in the real world, Cesc supports and bleeds Barcelona, not Arsenal, and even if we hold onto him against his wishes this summer, his long term future and our need to rebuild the centre of midfield will only be put off for a season at most.

Graham rightly says that Cesc hasn't said anything against Arsenal. He's too wise for that.

What has happened though is that he refuses to commit his future to Arsenal and lets his team mates and father speak for him. Just last night his father reminded us all that Cesc asked Arsenal to leave this summer. Who wouldn't want to return to their homeland a hero having played a world-cup winning pass to help Spain lift the trophy?

But to me, being captain should be the greatest honour the club can bestow, not an incentive to keep a player.

While there has occasionally been speculation during contract disputes, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand/Ryan Giggs and even Steven Gerrard (notwithstanding the chaos at Liverpool) have all remained as the symbol of their clubs for years.

Tony Adams was like that for us, one of a crop of players who bled Arsenal like Keown, Seaman and most of the back line, who never even had the honour of being captain.

When Barca sign David Villa and win trophies every season, we bring in a free transfer striker who's never scored 20 goals in a season and a defender who only has one year of top flight experience. Maybe both will be the revelations we hope they will be, but can you blame Cesc for wanting success now?

Footballers are impatient and Cesc is no different.

But for me, being captain of Arsenal should be an honour for the long term and something to be proud of.

Not something that still leads to asking for a move.

I don't think it's being hard on him to say that being captain means being fully committed to the club! Bleeding Arsenal.

If Cesc is still at Arsenal at the start of the season, I will cheer him as I always have. Booing an Arsenal player is for the opposition.

But it will be like knowing your wife/girlfriend fancies that bloke down the road/ at the gym or work.

You patch things up but you know she's going to leave and sleep with him in the end.

YES - Graham McNorthbank

There isn't a single player in our 1st team squad that supports Arsenal. Every one of them would leave if the price - or team - was right. The last Gooner to play for us was Cashley Cole. Nuff said.

Cesc Fabregas wants to leave Arsenal, but only for his boyhood club Barcelona, where his friends, family and girlfriend are all based.


I'm not burying my head in the sand. I just don't think it'll happen this season.

Barca's latest missive is from their new vice chairman who says they have until the end of August to sign Cesc. Meanwhile our own beloved manager Arsene Wenger says Cesc isn't for sale at any price and he has snubbed a meeting with the Barca chairman because, well, the player isn't for sale, so what's the point?!

And who do you believe? Barcelona, who are so broke they can't afford to pay their players? Or Arsene Wenger, a man of his word who, unlike the players he oversees, does live and breath and bleed Arsenal?

Cesc meanwhile sees his mates winning things at the club he supports, but his own club won't (or can't) spend. And still he won't say a word against Arsenal. Put yourself in his shoes if you can and you will realise what a mature and professional individual we have as a skipper.

Cesc is proud to be Arsenal's captain - that's virtually all he's said all summer.

In my opinion Fabregas has handled the whole situation really well. He wants to go to Barca and he will, but he's agreed to leave the timing to Wenger and therefore is saying nothing about his future to anyone else.

The fact is that he's said he could still be at Arsenal next season and Wenger says he's not for sale at any price - a statement he never made about Thierry Henry.

I'll have no problem cheering Cesc next season - as captain.

But a word of warning. Right now Cesc is getting a lot more love from Barcelona than he is Arsenal.

Too many Gooners are criticising our skipper for the actions of others and that's exactly what the Catalan club want - a few boos from Arsenal fans could be all that it takes for Cesc to believe he's no longer welcome and a transfer request could soon follow.

The player and manager had a long meeting at the start of the summer where no doubt they agreed what should happen. If Wenger has said - as reported by Cesc - that he'll take care of any potential transfer, then that's what will happen and it looks like we'll get at least one more year of our brilliant young Spaniard.

I still remember how sad I was when Titi left. The difference there is that he said he'd never leave Arsenal, but he did.

With Cesc he's been honest enough to say he wants to go back to the club he loves, so we know it'll happen at some point, but from what our manager says it won't be now.

If I'm wrong, so be it. Cesc goes now and I'd wish him all the best because, as Dave points out, he's been one of the best players ever to wear the Arsenal colours.

But until the day he departs, he has my full support and my utmost respect. He is fully deserving of the skipper's armband and the way he has always conducted himself as an Arsenal player is beyond reproach.