Super Secret Agreement Written in Invisible Ink

Highly placed sources tell me a confidential agreement has been negotiated between Arsenal and Barcelona for the transfer of Cesc Fabregas. These sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because this is an ongoing negotiation and “is Super Top Secret stuff”, confirmed that the Arsenal captain’s transfer will take place “in the future maybe” and will include an amount of money “larger or smaller than expected.”

In order to maintain the confidentiality of the agreement, the contract was drawn up in invisible ink. In fact, the details of this agreement are so secret that, in order to maintain the veil drawn across the negotiations, even the parties involved are not sure of them. A further failsafe was put in place when the document was written in code and only those with the proper rings will be able to decipher it. Even then, they’ll have to immerse the contract in a special liquid capable of showing the invisible ink, the recipe for which is found only in a locked vault in an undisclosed location presumed to be the inner sanctum of the Knights Templar. This process will be undertaken at the appropriate date, which was also written in invisible ink, tied to a brick, and dropped in the Thames so as to be completely impossible to find and publish in Spanish sports dailies.

One source, speaking confidentially (and whispering in order to make it more chilling), mentioned that Sport and El Mundo Deportivo are getting too close to the truth and they must be stopped at all costs. “The truth is that Wenger stands at his sink all day washing his hands and muttering, ‘Out, out, damned rumors,’ while Rosell and Sepp Blatter cackle madly together in the belfry of the highest tower of La Sagrada Familia. Shit, don’t print that, okay? They’d kill me if they knew I’d said anything.” He then looked around furtively, pulled on the hood of his cloak, and slunk off into the murky darkness of the deserted alleyway in Bangkok where we had agreed to meet.

Categorized as Nonsense

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


    1. Yeah the only teams really affected will be Citeh and Chelsea. The only reason Arsenal “can’t” fill their 25 man squad is because a hefty chunk of our players are U21 therefore do not need to be registered! I’d expect something similar to be brought to Spain in the future (if it hasn’t been planned already). They had to include the players as “homegrown” and not English because it was illegal otherwise Arsenal (and others) WOULD be in trouble!

  1. Seriously…I love the site but I’m really tired of the sagerbaF posts. Much rather hear about the guys at the U19 tournament…that Pacheco kid doesn’t seem half bad…how’d he slip out of the Cantera?

    1. That was clever…but also a little dangerous he could easily have put that high/wide trying to be so cheeky. Love it when a risk pays off!

  2. when i first saw the new post, i cursed you for potentially drawing in the flamers. then i read it and LUUUUVED it. funny.

  3. HAHA summed up perfectly. Nobody has a clue what’s going on, not even the people involved. The press have lowered themselves even further by printing non news. Dull isn’t the word. Incidentally I’d also like to hear about the U-19 tournament. The french u19 captain plays for Arsenal (as expected) and we have a couple of English kids there as well. That penalty by Ezequiel Calvente (sp?) still gets me.

  4. Javier Faus is apparently Rosell’s henchman in the “Laporta sucks” campaign. A few guotes in a USA Today snippet:

    “There is a structural problem which Barca has failed to correct for the past six years,” Faus said. “The sporting excellence of recent years has not been reflected in economic excellence.”

    But he stressed that the club is not bankrupt.

    He said Barcelona — which won the Spanish league last season and the domestic treble, along with the Champions League, the year before that — has “hidden assets” such as its youth team and real estate holdings, which he estimated are worth $250 million.

    “We have the best player in the world, the best coach in the world, and eight players who are world champions,” he said of people like Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, who played in Spain’s victorious World Cup side in South Africa. “So, this is not a dramatic issue.”

    1. So what he ia saying is:

      its ok, we can always sell messi for money.

      BS, I don’t buy their dramatization

  5. HT spain-england 2-1 nice the way that kid planas is really very good!

  6. Coming back to the cost of a season ticket- yeah you really did read that right Nine hundred and forty five great british pounds! AND that’s the cheapest seat in the ground (although it’s the best as I get to stand with the closest thing we have to “ultras”, in reality just a singing group).

    I’d pay whatever the price was. I love Arsenal too much. Heck I must have spent about €300 going to Barça games this year and I don’t even support them! I still managed to go to 8 Arsenal games this year (2 before I left, 3 at Xmas, 1 IN Barça and 2 separate games flying back) and would have gone to more if I hadn’t been so slow in booking flights. It’s just as well I’m single at the moment otherwise I’d have a very unhappy wife!

  7. dani pacheco is a EE fan.he said that he regret the fact he was in la…

  8. Bum out.

    A new audit into Barcelona’s finances have revealed the club’s debt is 442m euros (£369.5m) after a loss of more than 77m euros (£64.36m) last season.

    1. It’s been in the Catalan papers today from a direct quote by one of the VPs. It just sounds like Rosell propoganda to me. Barça are in debt but they won’t go bust any time soon.

    2. Oh ok, sounds a bit serious though. BBC isn’t a wash rag and Deloitte isn’t a small company you’d suspect of cooking numbers for a propaganda machine. A 77m loss is a direct contradiction to the 7m profit (or was it 11m?) we’d heard about before.

    3. They used different accounting standards for this audit. No word on what those standards were, but from the comments from the finance VP, it sounds like Laporta and the folks were counting real estate, etc as part of the club’s balance sheet as far as debts, profits and losses, and the new boys aren’t. Witness this snippet from the USA Today story:

      “He said Barcelona — which won the Spanish league last season and the domestic treble, along with the Champions League, the year before that — has “hidden assets” such as its youth team and real estate holdings, which he estimated are worth $250 million.”

    4. The board is just exaggerating as usual. or twisting facts to make the prev admin really bad. They cant attack sportwise so finance it is. I seriously doubt Laporta and co could hide a big loss like that. 11M profit to 77M deficit, isn’t that huge.

    5. To analyze the club’s finance we need the classified balance sheets to have a look on, not just the General Balance sheet.

      The Balance sheet is -by definition- the statement of financial position. Its strange to complain that the previous board included real estate in the Balance sheet. All Assets should be included. Not sure about the depreciated value of the stadium but it has to be there as well. In fact real estate for being fixed assets deliver more accurate accounting values than any other type of assets beside cash.

      If Faus is talking about income statement or statement of cash flows, then its true that you cant include the value of the real estate if it is yet to be sold. But such statements do not tell you the financial situation of the club, so you cant get that hundreds of Millions debt from it.

  9. this U-19s England v. Spain is brilliant. Spain’s midfield and attack looks absolutely incredible but they must be missing Fontas because they’re quite light at the back. even so, our boys have been excellent all-around (especially Thiago) and Spain have almost completely dominated.

  10. Wow. Thiago is something else. HE runs this U-19 Spain team. Everything goes through him. His touch, his vision, his composure. He is very Xavi-like.

    Seriously why do we want Cesc if we have a kid like this in our ranks? Forget Cesc. Give Thiago a chance to shine with the first team.

    1. It’s OK we’ll “steal” him and you can have him back for €40m! 😉

    2. but…he has barca DNA in his JEANS! he belongs here…we want him for €5M and a proper set of cookware.

  11. FT 3-1 Spain through to the final….. this team has great potential ..El Asesino aka Pacheco has been amazing since 1st game…Liverpool are lucky he slipped through

    1. Yup he was…I believe he is ready to step in…he has the confidence and his personal style of play to back him uP11

  12. Do I dare to hope…?


    Didn’t watch the Ingerland-Espa~a match, but it seems Thiago had a killer game (and Planas too). Thiago for preseason and the CDR!

    1. Do I dare to dream… ?

      Louis van Gaal recently stated that he wants to continue for about 2 more years at Bayern Munich, but then he wants to take over a national team for the World Cup. He named Germany as his favourite place to go, but also Argentina. And given that Germany has signed a new contract with Loew, and there is no better coach for Germany than him, he might join Argentina in 2012!
      Damn, that would be awesome 😀

    2. PS: Another option is Manuel Pellegrini. That would make me trust in Argentina again, but as long as Maradona is coach, I swore to myself to not support them anymore – it would only crush your heart.

  13. i remember some people saying that rosell will be barca s florentino..yeah..the guy has spend 9.5m and earn 39..maybe it s propaganda by the board to show that laporta was bad but there is a fact.we made crazy transfers and it wasnt necessary..i hope it s just a propaganda because in the past we were in a situation like this!

  14. you guys must have seen it already right?

    i saw the majority of the second half and Thiago dominated the midfield and he has a good pace that can outrun the english even with the ball. the third goal’s assist over the wall concluded his excellent performance. that made my day.

    1. Just finished the match. He really was excellent. He’s as good, if not better than Canales is. Hopefully he gets promoted this year, he really looks like he can do it. I know it is only U20, but the way he moves and passes the ball is great.

      Here’s the match for anyone who wants to see our players

      First Half:


      Second Half:


  15. A few notes:

    1. Please don’t take these economic reports as the 100% truth. The club is not in that bad of shape, not to mention these audits look internal, which could mean they are looking at balance sheets none of us will ever see.

    2. Thiago is a stud. He’s so good, he’s actually being played out of position, and he’s tearing it up.

  16. Thank God, it’s official! Maradona is gone. There’s hope for Argentina, and for Messi.

    1. YEAH! 😀

      But until I know who they’re bringing in, I won’t get my hopes up Okay, too late, but if the rumours are correct (i.e what you said above is true), we could see Pelligrini or van Gaal. My money would be on Pelligrini, which would totally be awesome because he’s great coach, but with the AFA….


      If not Pelligrini, I’d like to see Sergio Batista—the guy who coached the Olympic team to the gold medal in 2008. Actually, you know what? I’d make Batista my first choice and then Pelligrini because Batista has already sort of proved himself with that squad.

      Anyways.. like France, anyone is better than Maradona (I hope there won’t be any karmic retribution to this statement). Consider me glad this “era” is over.

      The Copa America is in Argentina next summer; here’s hoping they win it and Messi stars. Actually that would be so awesome! Messi to kick arse in front of the very fans/media that’s been doubting his abilities for the national team….


    2. Wait a second… according to Wikipedia (!), Batista is the “caretaker” manager as of now. WTF?! Make him the actual one!

    3. This is GREAT news!! Under the right management, Argentina will be a force to be reckoned with.

      South America 2014 nears…. Argentina, Brasil, and the rest of the Americas have much work to do…

  17. Cesc is not needed .. I say we promote Thiago & JDS and buy a DMF as a cover for Busquet .. In Big Matches if we don’t trust them enough .. Messi can always drop as a midfielder with Seydou Keita and we have plenty of cover upfront

  18. please..don.t be so bad with maradona..for me is the best player i have never seen..respect..and
    don.t forget after 1990 argentina had many why blame maradona..and come on except messi what players had?higuain?tevez?di maria?heinze?come on blame players not him.
    i will never forget man show..he made napoli champion 2 word.respect.

    1. The man can be a living legend as a player and still not have to go and mess up Argentina football as a coach.

  19. Pique goes to visit the squad—and he’s still on vacation!



  20. Good discussion about debt over at the main page at The Offside. A poster named Oleguer is layin’ out some serious truth. It’s the post by Daryl about our debt making him sad. Would post a link, but am pecking awy on the phone between races.

    1. Nice discussion. I know people love to hate us though, without even considering the different factors involved.

    2. I had a terrible issue with Daryl’s original post. Mostly because it ignored obviously contradictory evidence from other sources as well as the fact that most of the best teams in the CL are in huge amounts of debt outside of Arsenal and Bayern.

      It also ignores the universal club football truth that most good teams are always going to have debt without a salary cap, since the best players constantly demand higher wages, even if the talent is homegrown. The Pedros, Messis, Xavis, etc. of the world require wage increases commiserate with being the best players in the world. No matter if they came from La Masia or not.

  21. “Louis van Gaal recently stated that he wants to continue for about 2 more years at Bayern Munich, but then he wants to take over a national team for the World Cup. He named Germany as his favourite place to go, but also Argentina. And given that Germany has signed a new contract with Loew, and there is no better coach for Germany than him, he might join Argentina in 2012!
    Damn, that would be awesome”

    haha forget Van Gaal makes a terrible national team coach and I think he would be especially bad at a Latinamerican team. He is the kid of coach who needs to be on the pitch day in day out so that he can teach his team how he wants them to play. Even at club teams as a rule it takes up to 6 months before they start playing well. I would love him to take on the Argentinian press though…who here remembers ¡SIEMPRE NEGATIVO! ?

  22. Van Gaal managed to NOT qualify for the WC with a Dutch team featuring Kluivert, Van Nistelrooy, Seedorf, Stam, De Boer, Cocu, Bogarde, Reiziger etc. etc. etc. uhmm mmm Argentina would do well to stay away from…

    btw the article rocked, lol

    1. exactly. still couldn’t get over that period.
      that was our golden period ffs!
      and he was my fav manager back then.
      don’t know how on earth they managed to not qualify

  23. very good conversation.and the answer:rosell is a madman trying to laporta look bad.sorry i don.t buy it no more.we have money but we will buy senna for 2m.ok.sleep happy now.visca laporta.oh
    and you said little time ago that we have 90m for transfers..xm..then you said 50..lets see..

  24. Jnice could you please tell me where i can watch the other U19 games ? like the first 2 , for espana of course

    1. Go to and “download matches” and the games will be there.

      If you’re having trouble, just tell me which games and I’ll post the links.

  25. Kxevin what you posted on the offside page about Rosell’s probable plans to force the club into shirt sponsor to clear our debts is scary!
    and Laporta will be the culprit. How dare he lie to us and spend like nobodys business. oh those poor folks who thought Barca is different! LOL

  26. 7 more years…jesus…I can’t already see this guy’s face and even less that of Faus…
    I guess with Pep leaving next year, their end should come quicker.

  27. Just a question but why would the board include property on the balance sheet? Surely the balance sheet is solely the cash that’s available/needs to be paid? You would only include property in the total assets, i.e. the value of the club. This is why Man Utd are the most valuable club in the world because of their property and income but we all know they’re in serious trouble to the tune of £800m-ish. Therefore wouldn’t Rosell be correct to not include property in the balance sheet, because realistically you can’t just sell the Camp Nou!

    This is the season why Arsenal’s debt has dropped so dramatically. In 2008 we had debts of £300m but this has now dropped to £200m because in the last year we have sold the uber luxurious flats that we developed on the site of the old stadium. If it wasn’t for the financial crisis not only would we have sold them quicker but we would probably have made an extra £50m on them but had to sell them cut price in bulk to property developer type people. The remaining £200m is just essentially a mortgage on our stadium to be paid over 20 years (plus interest obviously). We also have a large bank balance separate from the loan (above £100m). Now if only we could buy a keeper and a centre back with it…

    Also 3 of Englands best U-19s were not in the squad (Wilshere, Bartley (both Arsenal) and Rodwell (Everton)). England have this weird thing of not playing their best players although that is because both Wilshere and Rodwell will be playing in the premier league so were withdrawn.

    1. “Surely the balance sheet is solely the cash that’s available/needs to be paid?”

      That’s the cash flow statement. If you add accounts payable and receivable plus some other similar ledgers’ records you get the income statement, which is one account on the balance sheet (one of the secondary accounts if you ask me).

      Balance sheet is based on three main categories:

      3)Shareholders’ Equity

      If you check the balance sheet of any company, you will find the three categories there. There are no different accounting schools in that matter.

      Assets are usually ranked based on how easy it is to liquidate when needed. Cash is the most obvious and reliable asset because it is there to use immediately. Though, it may not be the best value. As an example, if you have a land with an estimated value of 50 M that you dont need to sell, that’s the value you will have on your balance sheet. Though -in normal situations- land value increases with time and the long term value of this asset is higher than the value currently recorded in the books. Buildings, though it goes the opposite way (value decline with usage), it is supported by a depreciation account deducted from the income on annual bases to -at least- keep the market value+depreciation sum = the value recorded in the books (usually it exceed it).

      If the balance sheet exceeds anything beside cash flow, then there is no company in the world with a solid balance sheet. Not even close. In fact the bigger the company is the worse the balance sheet will look. Sometimes you run your business with barely some thousands of rabbits in your bank, but you are all smiling because you have a full stock, you have orders, you have accounts receivable, and you have fixed assists that inspire confidence in case you needed to get a loan to serve an investment or pay some urgent commitments.

      To read in the financial situation of any company, we go first to the fixed assets even before the cash and any other secondary accounts. Because the cash level will differ from winter to summer depending on the business cycle and seasons of low/high demands. The fixed assets value is more stable and it embrace at least 80 % of the wealth of most of the companies. Thats where you secure your money if you give a loan to any company. Or else, and company can demand a loan directly after some aggressive sales and before paying any commitments. You give the loan based on wealthy cash account in the books though the cash existing is not the company’s property but its due to the creditors.

      The interesting thing is that with companies you count on a fixed Asset (building for example) that the company may not be able to liquidate unless if they are bankrupted already because that’s the building where they have their offices or industries. But still you consider it solid enough. In Barcelona’s case its not even that. We are talking about a piece of land that is more an unused fixed asset which makes it easier for the club to sell when needed. Its not money, but its nothing less than a big piece of gold. Will you give a loan covered by that? If I have two tons of gold but only 100 $ in hand, how will you evaluate my financial situation?

      With such a huge debt, if we only take cash in consediration, cules need to start supporting another team as this one will not survive two more months. But taking all assets in consediration its enough to sell Messi and Iniesta to Man city and the world is all good. Thats the club’s equivalent to machines (which is also an asset you find in companies balance sheets). In a slightly more deep dive the club bought different stock for the rest of the season. It is recorded as an expense but to balance the numbers in a balance sheet (which is a must) you need to put all the stock from kits to pencils as assets that will be eaten by time to generate another tangible or intangible revenue, and so on…

      Your example about Arsenal demonstrate what I am saying. There is a huge difference between having debt of XXX and being in debt by XXX. The debt value does not reflect the financial situation of the club. The balance sheet does. Thats where you can manipulate things. In his statement of debts Laporta included the land because he was planning to sell it. Sandro does not want to sell -fair enough. But that doesnt exclude a building from the balance sheet because you dont want to sell it. Tax vampires will hunt your head in that case!

    2. superb explanation ramzi.
      i was going to post a reply but mine would’ve looked so amateurish 😆
      hope you have a good fasting month 🙂

    3. Wow thanks for that. I “think” I understand. Of course there is very little chance of Barcelona going bankrupt only a fool would think that. Man Utd are in a far more perilous position (some say £800m of debts). What we’re really interested here though is the football side. Can Man Utd/Barça/Team X continue as they now and not go bankrupt (no being the simple answer, something must change) or if they do have to make some financial concession (selling land, refinancing etc etc) can they still compete at the VERY highest level.

      As far as Man Utd seem to be concerned that is a definite no. They sold Ronaldo for £80m (lots and lots of euros) and only barely pulled a profit for the year. This year they haven’t sold anyone at a big price so it will be very interesting to see the next balance sheet. Also their transfer policy has changed. There’s normally at least one £20m+ transfer a year but this year they simply can’t do it. Alex Ferguson is undoubtedly a great manager but lets not forget he has spent way beyond the money Wenger has spent. If their transfer money dries up as it seems, can Ferguson keep them at the very top? In my opinion no.

      Barça are very different kettle of fish. They have the cantera so they will never struggle to have top players (united have produced nothing since the golden generation). Also there’s the name and location to attract players (Manchester is a dump other than the football). Whether it’s moral or not there is also a lot of backing from the Catalan government and the banks (united are private owned). Sure it needs to be stabilised but it would only take one big transfer to do so. The question is whether Rosell is serious about sorting things out. If he is the BIG transfers like a potential Cesc or past ones such as Villa, Ibra, Alves etc will have to slow down. BUT are things really that bad? I’m pretty sure if they really really wanted they could find €60m to buy Cesc.

    4. The direct answer is NO. Clubs cant continue like that. In my opinion, Man Utd acquisition operation was the worst crime toward football. It is true that we witnessed the Chelsea operation/other EPL teams. But Man utd is a club that didnt need that. It is the only team that became worse since then (others became more competitive at least). Referring to my previous comment, if we only judge by cash flow, its safe to say Man Utd is probably the richest and most healthy club -financially- in world football. But with the new owners buying the team through a loan they took from a bank and made the club’s assets a hostage of it in return, they fall in a trap of a ridiculous operation. And if you ask me, its the fault of the F.A. how stupid they were to let that operation pass!

      Ironically, if they were less wealthy back then, they would have cost less to buy=>less debt=>less troubles. I just dont want to start as it is a great club that I feel angry to think of what happened…

      But generally speaking, there should be some regulations. I have my critic toward the new fair play regulations but lets hope it will bring something good out of all the bad it includes.

    5. The dangers of being a publicly listed company. I don’t know how much you know about the takeover but basically there were many shareholders (as with all PLCs). To sum it up relatively quickly. There were 2 joint shareholders called McManus and Magnier who held close to 30% of the club. At one point they were pretty cosy with Ferguson but they had an argument over a horse (yes, really!). This persuaded them that they wanted nothing to do with the club as it was either them or Ferguson to leave and Ferguson was obviously going nowhere. In the meantime the Glazers were slowly acquiring shares. He then bought the the McManus/Magnier shares which took him over the 30% to make the compulsory buyout offer. It wasn’t long before he had the entire club. In otherwords to sum up, it was Ferguson’s fault that United are in debt!

      As it stands united are paying £45m in interest alone per year. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Nothing like this had ever happened before so the FA just didn’t see it coming. To help refinance they had to do a hedge fund thing (i’m not entirely sure what that means). If I understand correctly it’s like a loan of sorts but there’s a time limit. “Apparently” if it’s not paid back by 2017 then the Glazers lose control of the club to the hedge fund. If that happens then god knows what will happen!

  28. From barcastuff’s twitter:

    “22 players were named for thefriendly against Valerenga: Pinto Adriano Bojan Ibrahimovic Keita Maxwell Milito VictorSanchez + B-team players

    Abidal (only started training on Monday), Jeffren (injured) and Hleb (technical decision) aren’t part of the squad for tomorrow’s friendly.”

    Hleb left off due to technical decision? That should tell you where Pep’s head is at regarding Hleb. His career at Barça is for sure finished.

    1. Ha! That’s the most contrived way of describing an unwanted player ever!

  29. I know Sport is rubbish but there’s a mention this auditing confusion may end up in court, that Laporta’s regime should answer and take responsibility for the highest debt in Barca’s history. can this happen? or silly talk?

  30. GIB:

    Personally, I think with just our cantera and the existing imports we have right now and of course good luck, we can still win trophies the next 2 years at least. After that, it will be dificult will need rebuilding and wait for someto mature but positive we will at least make the CL round 16 every year. 😀

    1. Don’t think of it that way, if Barcelona is in deep financial problems then we shouldn’t worry about it, people voted for Rosell to take care of these things, and if we do not perform, money or no money, its Rosell’s problem and in the end he fails.

  31. Ramzi is exactly right. With big clubs who have huge name players, stadia, sponsors, etc., the club has a lot of wiggle room. The two clubs in by far the worst positions are Man U and maybe Liverpool (unless Chelsea’s owner gets pissed and walks, then they would be 6 kinds of fucked).

    Anyway, another telling note on this from the @barcastuff Twitter feed in response to a question from our own Stephen regarding how a club with so “little” money can afford to shop for Cesc, Ozil, etc.: “@StephenVanH we’re less broke than the majority of the other clubs… shamefull communication by the club.”

  32. trophies the next 2 yrs? idk. me fears mourinho 🙁

    totally unrelated //
    panini sticker albums. ah the sweet memories

  33. Looks like war. Xavier Sala I Martin posted a lengthy note to his Facebook prifile about what bollocks the Rosell audit is. This is getting more and more interesting.

    1. This isn’t the note, but what he said referring to why he wrote the note:

      “I am working in Washington DC and I had decided not to comment on the doings of Rosell and his Junta, at least during the first 100 days. Their silly accounting and their attempt to appropriate the economic outcomes of our successful management period has forced me to write a note commenting their comical “77 million losses”

      I would love to read the note, but unfortunately, I can’t read Catalan.

  34. Never fear mourinho unless you fear being bored to death. He won’t see Christmas anyway the petulant one will see to that. I’ve been in many a Bangkok alleyway and have seen some strange ( but pleasant ) things too Isaiah let me tell you.

    1. Don’t underestimate Mourinho. Arsenal did it in 2005 when they should have bought further reinforcements to the team that went unbeaten in the league and in the end Mou’s team went close to repeating the feat (only 1 loss and that was 1-0 to a penalty). Mourinho has won the league in 3 different countries and won the Champions League twice. You’d be crazy to think that Barça have nothing to fear.

    2. If you are confident in your own abilities, there’s no need to fear anyone. You can respect Mourinho and Madrid, but fear? I don’t care what he has won and where. We had to deal with a Real Madrid that had 96 points last year.

      And unlike Arsenal in ’05, we’ve have brought in Villa and Adriano and we will surely bring in one, if not two midfielders. We’ll be just fine.

    3. There’s a very fine line between confidence and arrogance. Overstep it and RM will win La Liga.

    4. If theres one thing that makes me nervous this year it is Mourinho. The guy is becoming an expert in playing against Barca.

    5. Don’t underestimate Mourinho. Arsenal did it in 2005 when they should have bought further reinforcements to the team that went unbeaten in the league and in the end Mou’s team went close to repeating the feat (only 1 loss and that was 1-0 to a penalty). Mourinho has won the league in 3 different countries and won the Champions League twice. You’d be crazy to think that Barça have nothing to fear.

  35. Oh, and Wenger has reiterated that Fabregas isn’t for sale, not at any price, dismissing all the talk as just “noise.” Also note that EMD has taken down its “secret deal” nonsense.

    1. EMD really is a nonsense publication. There is very little substance to any of it. It’s like me saying “Arsenal are going to buy the entire Barça team because they want to win the league”. There’s no fact to it and it rarely makes sense anyway. There’s so many reasons why the deal isn’t happening but to say there’s a “secret deal” when both Arsenal and Barça have said there’s no talks going on, is completely ridiculous. It’s not even worth the paper it’s printed on. Sport is a little better but even then a lot of what they write is VERY biased.

    2. I like how EMD tried to slyly take down their secret deal stuff. Sort of like’s exclusive Villa to Barça report last summer.

  36. “We had to deal with a Real Madrid that had 96 points last year.”

    exactly brother, and that was WITHOUT Mourinho. Madrid will be stronger this season. If we win the league a 3rd season in a row it will be a legendary achievement.

    1. Precisely. I agree that Barça should still be the favourites but DO NOT underestimate the Mou Effect. I hate him but it cannot be denied he is a tactical genius. As much as it pains me to admit it, I’d love to see him manage Arsenal because I know we’d be successful again.

    2. Probably true but he would have won a heap of trophies. He would have stayed at Chelsea until they had won the Champions League but Abramovich didn’t want to wait.

  37. Mourinho is just another good coach. he is so good but more lucky and extremely hyped. He will not be one of the top five on my list, if we are talking about tactical qualities. Here I said it.

    With Porto he reached the final after a free kick against Man utd in the last minute of bus parking. Now if anyone really think that his parked bus against Man utd was an invention, better think again. He played the final against Monaco, which -no offense- shows the quality of the competition in that specific year.

    At Chelsea he had a 300M investment squad (that was built for him, as he barely made any of the signings then). It was a period of transition for Man Utd and there was barely a team to compete against(one of the reasons why Arsenal won a title without a single loss. it tells enough). Any coach would have won the title with that Chelsea. Lets not forget that even though he had the strongest squad in Europe he failed to win the CL.

    At Inter he didnt deliver anything better than Mancini till a volcano exploded.

    No doubt you can find similar argument for any coach. Again he IS a good coach. But far from being the genius he is rumored to be. He has his good qualities and his bad tactical habits. Like any other coach of the elite.

    Real Madrid were as competitive last season as they will be next season. Pellegrini served Mourinho the way ranieri and Mancini did before. They created a solid platform for mourinho to only customize things a bit. They were able to win the title last season and they deserved it only if Barca was not up at the peak performance. Nothing will change next season. Two great squads with great coaches, with Barca having the edge if they keep their momentum.

    1. Barça do have the advantage of having a squad that has not only won it all at club level but the majority have also won the world cup for Spain so will be feared by all at club level. The key is continuing that and not taking it for granted.

      Just because he used the bus against United doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good decision. He had little other choice. If they attacked United they would have been destroyed. Admittedly United weren’t great that year and had it been Arsenal instead of United things may have been different. Funnily enough I still think that 2004 was Arsenal’s year in the CL and not 2006. Had we played anyone other than Chelsea in the 1/4 final we would have won the tournament, I’m sure of it.

      My point is that Mourinho is a very good decision maker. He makes substitutes at the right time. He makes brave decisions when picking the squad and he’s not afraid to drop a star player who isn’t performing or isn’t putting the team first.

      You’re entirely correct in saying he’s never “built” a team but that’s not his style. He’s a tactician, not an artist. Very good in the short term, perhaps not so for the long term. But he knows what works and what doesn’t and how to get the best out of a set of players.

    2. For me, Mourinho’s biggest asset is that he is a pragmatist. He doesn’t give a damn what he has to do to win, he will do it. If he determines that to win, EE has to park the bus and play long ball with a single forward, he will do it, the howlings of Marca and AS be damned. Is he overhyped? Almost everyone of any fame in our beautiful game is. Comes with a crazy-ass press. But if any coach can make a club better, it is Mourinho.

      I still think that we are a better club than EE, but of course I will. The real question is whether Mourinho can instill in them the European steel that gets them past the CL quarterfinals. Dunno. I’m not too worried about him or them. If we handle our business, we will win everything in front of us.

    3. To me the interesting thing will be the relationship between Mourinho and Ronaldo. Both are pretty arrogant and don’t like to be upstaged, both are prone to acting on impulse and Mourinho likes everyone in the team to work hard whereas Ronaldo slacks. I think we are in for fireworks 🙂

  38. MMM Mou at Arsenal that’s like cat and dog, salt on your pancake or Lebron in Cleveland. Just wouldn’t work.

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