By EC Arunye
Cesc Fabregas finally returned to his childhood club Barcelona from Arsenal this week, after an endless saga that seemed to excite and disappoint fans from both ends of the transfer.
On Monday the Catalans officially announced the signing of the Gunners' captain on a five-year deal that could be worth as much as €39 million. Despite eight years of his life spent at Arsenal, the departure did not come as a surprise as the drama began years ago and Gunners fans worldwide were well prepared to face that fact that they would eventually lose their skipper.
Though some may argue that he will be an Arsenal great rather than an Arsenal legend considering the circumstances surrounding his move, it is important to remember that he was still a fantastic player and captain. The Premier League side will no doubt be affected by the gap left by the Spaniard, but supporters of the club are positive in their outlook following his move.
Fee: €34 million
Contract: Jun 2016
Goal.com asked fans on the African continent to express their views and opinions on Fabregas’ transfer this week, with the majority believing that his decision was the best for Arsenal.
Luke Lamothe, a director at a games development company in Johannesburg said: "We all knew that it was coming, so it's good to finally have it over and done with. I don't blame Cesc for wanting to return home, and I don't blame Arsenal for selling an unhappy player.
"They have other quality creative midfielders so they just need to make sure that they keep the fans behind the team by strengthening the defensive areas and reinvesting that money quickly and assertively."
Philemon Yartey, who is based in Ghana’s capital, Accra, has urged fans to respect the player's decision and deal with the fact that the 24-year-old is no longer a Gunner.
“Fabregas or no Fabregas, Arsenal will exist," he noted. "He has done his part and it’s time for others to do their part as well. It’s sad, but we can’t cry over his departure forever. Life goes on and we have to respect his decision as an adult and moreover understand his wish to win trophies after all these years,” he said.
|A club is bigger than an individual ... I still think Fabregas should not have gone to Barcelona at this time; he should have stayed for one more season. Looking at the magnitude of experience in the midfield at Barcelona.
- Michelle Katami
In north Africa the sentiment is similar, with fans prepared to move forward in their support of the London club in the hope that they can secure a few replacements before the transfer market closes.
“Arsenal were a big club before Fabregas and they remain so now. [Arsene] Wenger has an eye for talent and that won't change. We're in good hands with him in charge and whoever thinks otherwise should be careful what they wish for."
Skander Barhoumi, a university student from Tunis in Tunisia added: "In these tough moments, the real fans stand by the club and support whoever goes out there on the pitch to fight for Arsenal colours. We have quality already and we'll probably get another player or two before the end of the transfer window."
As for a staunch Arsenal fan, Michelle Katami, who works as a sports and news producer in Nairobi, Kenya, she questions if the World Cup winner will be a regular in the Barca squad.
“A club is bigger than an individual," she stressed. "Fabregas wanted to leave Arsenal for some time now, I am glad Wenger did an honourable thing to release him all for the sake of stability of the club and for Fabregas' sake. A great move for him, however, I still think Fabregas should not have gone to Barcelona at this time; he should have stayed for one more season.
|It seemed to be a move that was destined unfortunately, and at this point it is a bit of a relief that it is finally over and we can move on and focus on the players we have at the club.
- Colin Chiramba
Colin Chiramba, a Zimbabwean marketing student from Harare who is currently completing his studies in the city of Johannesburg concluded: "It is sad to see Fabregas leave, especially after all that he has done for the club and the time spent as captain of our team.
"It seemed to be a move that was destined unfortunately, and at this point it is a bit of a relief that it is finally over and we can move on and focus on the players we have at the club."