- Team news: Wenger’s update on Ramsey, Welbeck, Giroud & Cazorla
- Preview: Arsenal v Boro, team news, line-up & prediction
- [Photos] Arsenal duo step-up injury comebacks in training today
- [Photos] Arsenal boost as injury doubt trains ahead of Boro game
- Arsene Wenger sets comeback date for forgotten Arsenal man
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury doubt for Middlesbrough game
- Team News: Arsene Wenger offers update on Ramsey & Giroud
- Arsenal boss confirms defender could leave in January
- 4-2-3-1 v Boro: Iwobi & Cazorla out? My Arsenal starting XI
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury concern + Sanchez update
To My Fellow Arsenal Supporters: Don’t Fall For Their Tricks
Since Arsenal Station’s return from summer hiatus, I have tried to avoid commenting on the whole Cesc/Barca soap opera that developed both before and all through the World Cup. However, I can no longer remain silent on this farcical affair. It is clear that there is much more to Barcelona’s actions, intentions, and motivations than simply acquiring Cesc as a player, and that is what I’d like to discuss. I’d like to beg my readers’ forgiveness ahead of time for the length of this post but it has been building up all summer and I’d rather just spew it now than let it drag on and on. Anyway, here we go…
I don’t think many, except delusional Barca fans, would deny that what has been going on since June is a systematic media campaign by Barcelona involving both their front office and players. It is a media campaign that would make any P.R. firm on Madison Avenue proud. To me, it seems that Barcelona has three objectives in mind:
1) They are trying to turn Arsenal supporters against Cesc.
2) They are trying to get Cesc to hand in a transfer request and thereby get him for far less than he’s worth.
3) The new regime is trying to placate their own supporters.
Don’t let #1 happen. Don’t let the machinations of a club with no integrity or self-respect turn us against our captain, the player they more than willingly let go and whom we have been supporting unfailingly since he was 16 years old. Now, I realize that Cesc has not come out in the media to make his usual statements, or at least not for some time. One can only imagine how confusing this all must be to Cesc himself.
Like everyone else, I wish he had just stated his desire to remain at the club right off the bat. That didn’t happen. And no one can fault him for considering his options. However, his delay now appears to be the prudent thing to have done as the situation at Barcelona has become clearer in the past few weeks.
Both Barcelona’s management and players know the supporter’s attachment to Cesc and his attachment to us. It is a special relationship borne by supporting a young player and watching that support pay off as he turns into one of the world’s best players. This is evidenced by recent quotes from Iniesta. A key to getting Cesc to leave Arsenal without consideration is to destroy the relationship between the player and supporters.
On one side, there is the club and fans who have been nothing but loyal and honest with him. On the other side, is his boyhood club, to which he’d eventually like to return, whose players are constantly saying how much they want him, but the real noise from the club is that they “won’t go crazy” to sign him. And, now, to further complicate matters for Cesc, the club’s very bleak financial situation has come to light.
Apparently, the Barca players want Cesc more than the club does. If I was Cesc, I would be insulted at Barcelona’s pitiful valuation of him, especially considering they spent more than that on David Villa despite having already spent even more than that to bring in Ibrahimovic the previous summer. What does all this mean?
It means they are hoping for #2. The media campaign is also aimed at getting Cesc to turn in a transfer request so the club would be forced to sell him for whatever Barcelona offers. There is no doubt that many in Spain are dumbfounded that he has not done this yet.
Luckily for us, however, Cesc seems to have stalled when it comes to this option. I imagine that Wenger told Cesc that it is one thing to move from the club, but it is another thing to leave in a manner which means the club, which turned him into the footballer he is today, is not fully compensated. It appears that Cesc wants to move but he does not want Arsenal to get shortchanged in the process.
More funnily, Barcelona claims that “Arsenal won’t negotiate.” But who can blame them? Here we have a club that has not yet finished paying for previous transfers from Arsenal and whose financial woes are all over the papers and internet. The main fact that dominates this entire campaign by Barcelona for Cesc is this:
Barcelona neither need nor are able to afford Cesc Fabregas.
That is it. That is what it comes down to. Obviously, the World Cup had given Cesc a bit of pause as he sat on the bench behind Barca’s midfield. Then, as soon as the World Cup is over, it is revealed that Barcelona lost £64m last season, are carrying a debt bigger than Arsenal, and were forced to take a loan of €155m just to pay their players and staff last month. (See Tony Atwood’s fantastic post on Barcelona, and other club’s, precarious situation).
Transfer fees are not paid up front, but over a period of time in installments, usually. With Barcelona already in the red, and them continuing to sign big-money transfers on big-money wages, their financial situation is not likely to improve any time soon without some kind of fire sale. Why wouldn’t Arsenal be wary of making a big-money transfer with a club who doesn’t look likely to be able to pay it?
Barcelona is not some footballing monolith, as they would have the world believe. It wasn’t very long ago when Barcelona had gone twice as long without a trophy as Arsenal have now. And that was when the club wasn’t in the precarious financial state they now find themselves in and which could cause them to repeat such a run. Because no matter all the talk about Barca’s youth system, they have always spent big money bringing in big players.
And all this above is only focusing on the media campaign and not the questionable legality of Barca’s behind-the-scenes tapping-up. Multiple sources have confirmed that Barcelona has contacted Cesc without Arsenal’s approval. That much is obvious. That FIFA knows something is wrong was evidenced last week when FIFA.com carried a story with quotes about Cesc from Barcelona players only to pull it from the website a few hours later when their error (complicity?) was pointed out to them.
The most disappointing part of the whole thing is that after last summer, Cesc came back as captain with a seemingly renewed sense of dedication to the club and the cause. However, quite justifiably, the disappointing tie with Barcelona and subsequent finish to the league season, likely caused a bit of reflection. Then comes the Barcelona media barrage and probably non-stop “harassment” during the World Cup only to further exacerbate the situation.
Also, don’t let the Barcelona management fool you, the new regime knew exactly where the club was financially when they took over. It doesn’t take financial geniuses to see the club is spending far more than it makes. Certainly, they hoped their financial situation would remain hidden so as not to reveal their motives for making Cesc hand in a transfer request.
Barca completely expected to end this media campaign with the upper hand. Instead, they have insulted and alienated Arsenal, shown their true character and undervaluation of the player, and also had their financial difficulties made public partly as a result. Their entire plan has backfired and their final hope rests on turning us, the supporters, against the player in order to make it easier for him to force the club to let him go on the cheap.
Nevertheless, if Cesc really was determined to go to Barcelona this summer, he could have handed in the transfer request or told Arsene to make the deal. This does not appear to be the case and so, just as we urge the club not to be swayed or affected by the ramblings of the self-important Catalonians, neither should we, the supporters. It is, after all, like Arsene said, “just noise.”