Fabregas moved to claim that only two players were ‘at his level technically and mentally’ in his later years at Arsenal, naming Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie, and former team-mate Bacary Sagna has hit out at his former captain’s comments.
“I was surprised to read this,” said the 36-year-old. “From him I was surprised because he was supposed to be one of the leaders of the team, he was one of the great prospects and as a leader and a true player, you don’t speak like that about your club.
“So I was surprised because he is a nice guy, he’s still a nice guy, this doesn’t change anything. But I was kind of surprised.
“Arsenal made him so saying that some players were not at his level was a bit harsh because I’m not sure out of all the seasons he was playing at the club, he was always an exemplary player.
“At that time the press was talking about him not running enough or tracking back. So other players could have said ‘you should be running more or doing more’.
“If you look at Liverpool today, all of them are running. This is a team. And maybe, because we didn’t have the right spirit at that time we didn’t make this little extra push, or make that little extra run to track players, maybe this is the reason we didn’t win.”
Sagna added: “Obviously in the team, we all have different levels. Some will be good physically, others will be good technically, but this is not a reason to speak in that way about other players.
“I don’t agree with that statement. It’s his opinion and he’s right to have an opinion, but we all have good moments and bad moments in our career and I’m not sure he always had great moments with Arsenal.
“Yes, he is a great player, he has amazing quality, but maybe some people were expecting more from him.”
The former French international was selected for the Premier League team of the year on two occasions, and no doubt had a fair amount of ability, but maybe when Cesc said that only two players had the same mental level, they meant the eagerness to be challenging for titles, which must have been a key issue which led to his departure.
It was also revealed that the club failed to sign Xabi Alonso in his prime, despite the player begging for the transfer to be done, which no doubt played on the mind of our former captain.
Was Sagna at the same level as Nasri, Fabregas or Van Persie? Would anyone else from that era have cause for complaint?