After Arsenal were able to cling on to the fingertips of Cesc Fabregas last summer as he strained to reach for the open arms of Barcelona, Arsene Wenger would have breathed a sigh of relief that the saga was over once more.
Well now it is that time of year – just as every English summer can guarantee the nation lets out a collective sigh at the gathering grey clouds, the end of the football season without fail brings with it the cranking up of the Fabregas to Barcelona rumours.
While the saga rumbles on Arsenal find themselves in an entirely unwelcome and uncomfortable position. Having turned down a bid of just under £40 million last time round, the Gunners knew they were entering last chance saloon – both in terms of winning the trophies that would persuade Fabregas to stay and, if he must leave, maximising Fabregas’s value.
Neither of those happened Now Arsenal are at a critical point under Arsene Wenger, who faces having the heart of his side, Nasri, Clichy and Fabregas – ripped out. These departures which would mark a definite downward turning point in the trajectory of Arsenal under Wenger, with his chances of adding to the trophies he has won at Arsenal ever decreasing.
Now he must persuade Fabregas to stay once more, convince his squad that he knows what he is doing and show the Arsenal faithful he is still the right man to end the 6-year trophy-less run; and to achieve the last two he must start with the first.
But the mood seems more than a little subdued this time round. After Fabregas endured a difficult season, gone is the manic desire to right the wrongs of the past and bring Fabregas back to the club he started out with, and present is the mood that if he was to depart for Spain this summer it would be a particularly low key affair.
Some of the old spice remains however. The underlying tension that remains between the two sides share ruptured through the surface after Barca suggested Fabregas was “doing all he can” to leave Arsenal, with the Catalan club unwilling to budge on their offer.
All this adds up to the saga going on for at least the remainder of this summer and potentially into next. Fabregas will depart for Barcelona at some point, the only question is when. Arsenal will just have pray that it is not this crucial summer.