Cesc Fabregas was perfectly within his rights to leave Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011, in the eyes of Gunners legend Paul Merson.
Fabregas has been in the headlines recently after explaining the reasons for his departure, claiming he felt under immense pressure as captain of the club and questioning the ability and mentality of some of his former team-mates.
The Spaniard has at times been a target for Arsenal fans after returning to the Premier League with Chelsea in 2014, and right-back Bacary Sagna told Goal he was surprised at Fabregas’ latest comments.
However, Merson thinks Fabregas’ actions were reasonable.
“I can understand the reason Cesc Fabregas laid out as to why he left,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“I don’t know too many footballers who, when Barcelona and Real Madrid come calling, don’t go.
“Fabregas is an interesting case because he did leave Barcelona as a youngster to go to Arsenal, but he couldn’t turn it down when they came calling again.
“I can’t think of too many players that could turn it down. You may get a player to wait around another year, but they always end up going in the end, and I had no problem with Fabregas going when he did.”
Fabregas played more than 300 times for Arsenal after making his first-team debut in the 2003-04 season, but only won the FA Cup and Community Shield during his time in north London.
He went on to win domestic and European titles between his time Barca and Chelsea, as well as the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.
"He was a great servant for Arsenal, and I can understand where he was coming from when he spoke about the pressure on winning trophies and the club’s lack of recruitment,” Merson added.
“He’d given his all for the club and the reality is that he could probably see Arsenal were a team in decline, and as I said, I don’t know too many professional footballers who could turn down Barcelona.
“In the end, his decision was proved right. The lad’s a special player, there’s no doubt about it. Whatever football team he’d have gone to he would have improved. There are not many footballers around the world that can say they can walk into any side in the world and improve it.
“There are players like [Virgil] Van Dijk, Kevin de Bruyne, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo that can do it, but not many. Fabregas was a special talent and I had no qualms with how his time at Arsenal ended.”