Arsene, it's time to let Cesc go!
It's turning out to be the transfer saga of the 2010 summer as football fans all over the world wonder whether or not Francesc Fabregas will be joining Barcelona for the 2010/2011 season.
Fabregas has made his intentions clear: he wants to go back home, to the club that made him a player in the first place. He wants to play under the management of his childhood idol, Pep Guardiola. He wants to play alongside his friends and teammates in the Spanish national team. He wants to contend for titles every year in a club that he loves and a town where he is loved.
During the 2010 World Cup, players like Xavi and Puyol told the press about how Fabregas missed home and how they'd like him to join them in Barcelona.
"I think Arsenal need to respect his class and show the same class by giving the guy who has given so much to them the move that he and his family want. He isn't just being deprived of moving to the best club in the world.
"More importantly, he is being deprived of coming home. He is the future of Barcelona and Arsenal can't do anything to stop that. I have just spent six weeks with him and there is only one club he wants to be at," Carles Puyol said.
Even Messi, who played with Fabregas in Barcelona's youth teams, expressed his delight at the prospect of playing with his old teammate again.
Barca has made a very reasonable €35 million offer for Fabregas.
Then why isn't Fabregas a Barcelona player yet?
Because Wenger stubbornly refuses to sell him. Fabregas has asked Wenger more than once to release him and still Wenger insists on keeping him hostage at Arsenal.
Fabregas, a player who gave everything to Arsenal in the past seven years and has always been loyal to the club, doesn't deserve this. After all he's done for the club, he deserves to see his (and his family's) wish granted.
Eight years ago, his idol Guardiola gave him an autographed shirt and told him he would one day run Barcelona's midfield. It's now time for him to fulfill his destiny, under the management of his idol.
The move is inevitable. Maybe not this summer, but Arsenal won't be able to keep Fabregas much longer.
And it's not like Arsenal would get nothing in exchange. With €35 million, Wenger could sign some new quality players for his team, making up for the lack of depth Arsenal has shown for the last few seasons. But he insists on keeping Fabregas.
If he doesn't give in, the decision will be costly for Arsenal. Fabregas's heart is already in Catalonia, he is no longer motivated to play for Arsenal, he won't perform at his usual level, and Arsenal will eventually be forced to sell him for a lower value.
Let's just hope Arsene Wenger ends up doing the only reasonable thing by letting Fabregas go. He belongs in Barcelona.
Manuel Traquete is a member of Bleacher Report, the open source sports network.