Making sense of the Fabregas affair, aka “Less than a shirt”

Barça is “classless.’ Right. This is so, so tiresome. I’m sure that outraged Gunners fans will visit this site with more of the same. Perhaps this post headline should be “We love Catalan puppies” or some such, but that isn’t going to happen. Instead, here’s a little dose of truth and logic for both sides. It might not all be right, and events might make a liar out of me, but take it as you will:

Leave it to Dad. Francesc Fabregas, father of Cesc, says “No biggie,” on the shirt prank. Here are some more of his quotes:

“It was a day of celebration and anything goes. If anyone misinterprets it, they have to see that it was part of a celebration.

“Cesc has [made] it very clear what Arsenal has been and is for him. He is super grateful to them and it has never crossed his mind to do something wrong towards them. Cesc said what he wanted to do [sign for Barça] the day after the end of the league so that Arsenal had time to react.

“It would have been nasty to say it today, when they are almost on the verge of starting the pre-season. But he always did so thinking about Arsenal. It remains to be seen how everything turns out.”

Hmmm …. so I’m going to call BS on Fabregas Sr. and the uncertainly he’s drumming up, with ….

Fabregas isn’t coming to Barça this summer. Now, most cules who understand the game and how we play it are very happy about that for a number of reasons, but first and foremost because his transfer price would argue for a starting role, which weakens our team. Can’t sit Xavi, or Iniesta, and we shouldn’t sit Keita or Busquets. So where does Fabregas play? Find me a club with a 50m+ squad player. Yes, Iniesta will get hurt, as he always does, and Xavi could use the rest, etc. But how long will it take after Fabregas were to come before Sport and EMD start squawking about “We paid for him, why isn’t he starting?” Countervailing arguments will be that his price is only going to go up from here as he ages and improves, and this is true. I just think that he isn’t needed, and Wenger is too adamant about this transaction, at any price.

So he stays put, and hopefully Arsenal will win some silver so then Wenger can keep him (unless he decides to leave after this coming season), instead of snarking at Rosell about the way his captain was pursued, not that I think any such pursuit was legitimate or based in reality. (More on that later.)

Fabregas could have ended this at any time. Just speak up, something along the lines of “The Barça rumors are nonsense, I’m not going anywhere, so relax.” Yes, he dedicated the WC win to Arsenal fans, which was a very classy gesture. Why not go the one step farther and say “And you’ll have me for as long as you want me.” Because rare is the player who would make that promise, particularly a young, ambitious one.

The shirt prank was silly, but not Armageddon. Just like Fabregas Sr. said. Further, find me a drunk person (whether on booze or success) who has done anything logical and intelligent while in that state. I believe that the gesture was to poke fun at the incessant rumor-mongering and prattle. No, it wasn’t part of an organized campaign to finalize the transfer of Fabregas, and anyone who would think that is paranoid. If Fabregas wants to leave, he will submit a transfer request and then let his soon-to-be former club handle it. It isn’t as if touching a Barça shirt is going to be contagious, like cooties or something.

For the record, the players should have understood the context and not done it. But people do stupid stuff all the time. But to label an entire club “classless,” to suggest that the adolescent-minded prank was the final straw in the attempt to lure Fabregas to Barça is (and there is no other way to put this) crazy. Flat-out, full-on, eyes spinning like pinwheels crazy.

Iniesta disavowed any knowledge of, or participation in the prank. He added that yes, it would be a delight to play with Fabregas at Barça. Duh. What does anyone suppose any Arsenal player would say if asked what it would be like to play with Messi? What player would say “I’d rather not answer that, because it might be construed as tapping up.”

None. So when Barça players are asked about Fabregas, they say what anyone would say about the potential of playing alongside a world-class player. They weren’t coached by the club, or handed scripts of words to say, with underlinings in the margins that say “Now say these words exactly, because we have to unsettle Fabregas just so, in order that he will come.”

Come on. Really? I know that people think Barça is evil, but really?

Arsenal is a big club. It’s one of the biggest in the world in terms of reputation, so it should stop acting like some segunda side. “You’re talking about our player! Stop that, lest he be unable to resist the lure of you, jezebel.” It doesn’t work like that. Players are grownups, Arsenal is a top-four perennial in the Premiership. There are three ways to keep players: silver (trophies), gold (salary) and platinum (playing time). Give them all three, and they’re yours forever.

Further, if we have really been tapping up Fabregas, there are legal avenues to pursue that are available. As of yet this hasn’t happened, and I confess to not being sure why, if in fact we have been tapping up Fabregas. As I’ve said, alleged meetings have or haven’t taken place, contact has or hasn’t taken place. Who knows?

Know your history. Fabregas was the heavy election pawn in the race between Sandro Rosell, the eventual winner and current Barça president and Joan Laporta, the most recent Barça president, and backer of a Continuity slate. Had Laporta been able to get a Fabregas deal done (he wasn’t going to, and everybody who understands the business of this game knows that) before the World Cup, his Continuity slate would have breezed to victory. So you pay lip service to the cause even as you know it isn’t going to happen, and you hope that it will help your folks in the election.

Rosell did the same thing in order to win the “more Catalan than thou” contest, by pledging to bring our “native son” home. Fabregas left in search of playing time and stardom, and has received both. His home, until he decides otherwise, is with Arsenal, in the Premiership. Understand election promises and what they mean. If Rosell were to have taken office and dropped the fundamentally nonexistent Fabregas pursuit, it would have looked bad to the fans and supporters. So you meet with Wenger, he tells you to go to hell, and you can shrug your shoulders and say that you tried. Then you can resume the task of strengthening your squad with players that it actually needs.

We don’t do business that way. Think about the way that Barça does business. When has the club ever conducted a protracted, very public courtship of a player? Names pop up and suddenly a deal is done. The Yaya, Henry, Hleb, Txigrinski, Keita. Alves was about the most difficult recent transfer. David Villa is more the typical Barça transfer. Or Ibrahimovic, or Maxwell. The deal just gets done. It’s how Guardiola prefers it, it’s how Laporta and Txiki B. preferred it, it’s how any right-minded technical staff prefers it. The more the name is out there, the higher the price is. It’s why I believe that Barça have no intention of buying, or even seriously trying to buy Fabregas this season. Our first offer was a joke, and a bad one. Everybody knows that who knows anything about the current transfer market. By Rosell saying that Barça won’t pay more than 50m for Fabregas, even though he knows his valuation is, and should be higher than that (Kaka, anyone?), he is in effect saying “We aren’t serious about making this deal.”

Anyone who thinks that Barça doesn’t respect Arsenal is misguided. It’s a big club to big club relationship. Yes, the Spanish sporting press is stupid for acting like Fabregas was something that was stolen in the middle of the night. Yes, the politicians are stupid for acting like Fabregas is just sitting, weepy-eyed, at Arsenal, clutching a senyera like a security blanket, muttering “Take me home” en Catala. But it is impossible for a big club to unsettle the star player of another big club. The player either wants to leave, or he doesn’t. Citeh players and management could dance the mambo in a conga line while wearing thongs with Messi’s picture on them, and Messi isn’t leaving Barça. I wouldn’t want to see it, but it wouldn’t affect Messi’s desire to remain with the club.

You silly, bankrupt Catalans should leave our captain alone and figure out how to save your club. All big clubs have debts. Arsenal has debt, in the hundreds of millions, just like Barça. Any unbiased story lays that out quite clearly. Debt is the cost of competing on the international scene. Simple as that. Barça isn’t in any more danger of going into receivership than Arsenal or United or Chelsea is. Debt gets restructured, loans are taken out to pay bills that help a club restructure, or defer a bit of debt that is easily repaid. It happens all the time, and will continue to happen.

It’s just a game. Lighten up. Players come, and players go. This season, we lost an iconic Barça player and man-mountain in The Yaya (who will always be The Yaya to me). He left because of playing time and guarantees thereof, one of the big three planks in player retention. It happens, and is part of the game, a game played by childlike grown men, a game that is also a business. But he also left because the time was right to sell him. His price was never going to be higher, and his wages were never going to be lower. Perfect time to sell. Nobody knows what the outcome is going to be in the Fabregas affair ultimately (as in way down the road). I do know that it isn’t worth all of the bile and invective that has been spewed.

And that’s what I know.

P.S. This post is going to appear in news filters. It is my attempt to put this whole matter into some perspective. In this space, we don’t mind debate, even spirited debate. But uncivil communication will be deleted. Summarily. Let’s have this be a space where this matter can be discussed by folks who understand the game, even the oft-impure, business side of it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

235 Comments

  1. Sam
    July 13, 2010

    Uh oh.

    • lookout
      July 13, 2010

      I’m an Arsenal supporter and Cesc has been my favorite player to watch since he first pushed his way into the starting XI. From that day to this I’ve always assumed he would one day play for return to Barca and that honestly doesn’t bother me. Arsenal just isn’t a club players retire from anymore and while I’d like to see Cesc stay, I will completely support him if and when he moves so long as he does it in a respectful manner. I think it would be nice if his father used the Catalan equivalent of “no comment” more often, but I can’t complain about the way the kid has behaved.

      I expect him to have another outstanding season at Arsenal and more than likely move next summer. He may cost you more then, but it would make more sense for the player and the club. Xavi isn’t going to get younger and Iniesta isn’t going to become more durable. Cesc is, more than likely, going to continue his education and improve beyond the excellent player he already is. You may accuse me of my Arsenal bias, but I believe Cesc will be better than either of them in the long run. He will be the driving force in the Barca midfield someday, but not this year. Next year for 50 million+? Probably.

      As I’ve told some Gunners before, Wenger sold Anelka for about 21 million and built a training ground to create generations of youth players. He’ll sell Fabregas for a ridiculous fee and perfect human cloning so Arsenal can field the perfect starting XI for eternity. A man can dream, can’t he?

    • John
      July 14, 2010

      I would like to apologise for all the immature arsenal fans. Deep down we know he wants to go back home but we just don’t want to admit it so we are trying to find someone to blame to make us feel better.

      I think the non existent silverware and the fact he is our only shining light fuels this immature behavior as well.

      On behalf of all arsenal fans, sorry

  2. Sam
    July 13, 2010

    Before they show up, please don’t feed the trolls folks.

    • Dan
      July 13, 2010

      Don’t worry, this site just deletes posts that oppose it’s views even if they’re not abusive or insulting.

    • July 13, 2010

      Odd that this one survives then, no?

  3. The Bear
    July 13, 2010

    I understand your points. I can see that the whole Cesc thing was just a part of the Barca election process. But surely Fabregas knows this – so why is he playing along?

  4. Dan
    July 13, 2010

    “It’s just a game. Lighten up. Players come, and players go”- Says the club that threw a pigs head at Figo.

    Classy.

    • July 13, 2010

      It was actually a fan that threw a pig’s head at Figo. And transferring from Barca to That Other Spanish Club isn’t like moving from Fulham to say, Citeh. It’s like switching sides in a war, while the battle is still raging. It just isn’t done.

    • July 13, 2010

      Isn’t the point that we hate the player for the move, not the club? Hatred of Madrid didn’t get more pronounced. I’d say they were given a pass on this whole thing cause everyone thought Figo was so good and naturally you’d want him.

      I shook my head and grimaced when Saviola made the move, but I didn’t blame Madrid for it (in fact I kind of chuckled cause I knew they were wasting their money).

      Regardless, I’m fine with Arsenal fans throwing pigs heads at Cesc if he makes the move, but the the point is that the ire is being directed towards Barça. Figo was our captain too, after all.

    • July 14, 2010

      I think the fact that a pig head was thrown at Figo is what makes the rivarly between Real Madrid and Barcelona so different than all the other clubs in the world. That a long with the anxeity attacks i get a month before the 2 teams meet. And the last four depressions that have hit me. Well, i will say 5, since one is worth two. I won’t say which one. And please don’t tell me which one.

      Gotta hate trolls.

      I hope Cesc waits a year and changes his mind. Madrid is a nice city.

      Just wanted to say good job on all the work throughout the world cup. Vamos Espagna.

      and last but not least, Hala Madrid 😀

    • cliveee
      July 14, 2010

      it must be hard to find a person who understands the war between barca and madrid more than kxevin.

  5. July 13, 2010

    Ok, Barcelona is not guilty, therefore Reina, Puyol and Pique are low life and very disrespectful creature and I hope they will have a very bad season with Barca. And what does Reina has to do with all this anyway. Just a trio of low life octopuses.

    • Dave
      July 13, 2010

      Uh…that would be octopi.

    • shedzy
      July 14, 2010

      actually, its octopusses or octopodes, not octopi – it comes from greek, not latin

      I cant believe ive read the article and the comments, and im discussing the plural form of a sea creature, as opposed to how pathetic it is that a barca fan thinks its AT ALL reasonable for his players and club to try to talk about signing another clubs captain all over the papers all summer because they have had some poxy presidential election – who cares about that, it doesnt make it any more right or legal – i really laughed at the ‘we dont do business this way’ – ERRRR EXCUSE ME you ARE doing business this way.

      anyway, octopodes or octopusses 😉

  6. gooner98
    July 13, 2010

    I agree with about 95% of this – I feel it’s the wrong time for Cesc to leave us, we all know he will return one day, I think most of us will wish him well. Seems a bit odd that Barca couldn’t pay the wages this month though? I don’t think that’s happened in the EPL (yet). I think the shirt incident was just a joke and it’s no big deal.

    • July 14, 2010

      Google “cash flow inconsistency” and “payroll”

      Lets say a company makes 600 million a year, but 400 of that 600 million gets paid over the last 4 months of the fiscal year.

      Sometimes a company has to take out a loan against the coming 400 million to make payroll for the first 8 months.

      Normally, nobody fucking mentions is because it is how MANY businesses operate. This is how BANKS operate. You ever hear of the federal rate? Its the rate the FED charges to banks for short-term loans to cover cash-flow inconsistency.

      The only reason this particular payroll loan was mentioned was so Sandro Rossell could score political points against Joan LaPorta. Period. That there is even any debate around this subject is a testament to the stupidity of barca politics, and the lack of business education amongst football fans. I’m seriously 10 seconds away from writing an article on how f**king stupid this all is.

  7. McGonzo79
    July 13, 2010

    I think you’ll find that our debt is for bricks and mortar not transfers and player wages. Living beyond your means to my mind is cheating. The argument that everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right. The sooner UEFA impose regulations the better.

    • Cherra
      July 14, 2010

      See this was also one of my biggest probs with this blog thing. Because Arsenal debts er not the same as Barca´s ours is for emirates. We are living within our means (which is frustrating sometimes, i have to admit, when many other clubs don´t, they loan money for everything and some end up like portsmouth, or they have a suggar daddy like chelsea or Man C. )

      i think you have to remember also that the media spins whatever they want however it will sell the most. So yeah I also think that it seems like Barca is taking it a bit to far, and club and players has been a bit disrespectful to Cesc and Arsenal.

      I can understand that Cesc wants to go back home, I would also if it was me, at some point at least, and to be fair he does seem like a very properly raised respectful young man, not alot of those running around 🙂
      But I would still hate to see him go, in my eyes he is already in the age of 23 an Arsenal legend..

    • July 14, 2010

      Both of yall, please read my above post. You both sound like intelligent football fans, but lets not comment on corporate finance unless you have an inkling of knowledge in the area.

  8. Hartwick89
    July 13, 2010

    This site is much like Le Grub of what I remember of Le Grub…. You only need to cough up 30 more million pounds and then your fantasy of signing an 80 million pound sub will come true… So Cesc can be the most expensive sub and the MVP for Spain…Makes so much sense? A well thought out article…Can’t wait to read the next one.

    • ElShowDeJason
      July 13, 2010

      MVP for Spain… HAHAHAHA wow… delusional…

  9. Gooner
    July 13, 2010

    Although I don’t agree with some of your points, I thank you for not creating some holier than thou Barca praising article. I haven’t ever visited your blog, so I am not aware of your usual articles, but please try to understand this from an Arsenal perspective, we have lost some of our great players to you, and this happens year in, year out. The media is as much to blame as the Rossell.etc but a lot of us Arsenal fans are just sickened by players such as Pique, Iniesta, and Puyol acting like such prats in public. Some of the excuses for why Fabregas should be cheap are just ridiculous and insulting too, if it wasn’t for Arsenal, Fabregas wouldn’t be the player he is today. There are VERY few teams who play a young 18 year old and put him in the first team and that would have never happened if he had remained at Barca with Iniesta and Xavi in his place, he owes a lot to Arsenal and we at Arsenal love Cesc no matter what he does in the end.

    • shedzy
      July 14, 2010

      …..or even a 17 year old (I can remember signing ‘he’s only 17, he’s better than Roy Keane’ when Cesc played against United).

      Also, you owe us £14m for Hleb and Henry, and if we dont want to sell a player who is under contract for a price that we want, we have the right to say p-off, and if you dont want to listen to us, we have the right to get annoyed with your constant pursuit of a contracted player whom we wish to keep.

      If the sole argument against that is ‘well, if we’re doing anything illegal, why haven’t you grassed us up’ is pathetic, and hopefully leads to only one result – we grass you up. Of course, Platini will do nothing if we do, but i hope we do anyway, just like we did with Chelsea over Cahsley Hole.

  10. Luke
    July 13, 2010

    I used to kind of feel sorry for Arsenal fans, and hell, I really like Nick Hornby, but this shit has gone way too far. To reiterate the main points of all this:

    1. Each player there was drunk, beyond measure.
    2. Pique is a prankster, pure and simple,
    3. You call a player classless for playing a practical joke, one that was very funny? At best you are an epistemic moron with his/her head buried in the sand or a delusional miscreant. Take your pick.
    4. If you don’t understand the difference between this and Figo, well, see number 3.

    As for any apologies, no. Fuck that. If Arsenal and their fans cannot enjoy such humor, then they don’t really deserve apologies. A joke between teammates is a joke between teammates.

    I’ll say it like this. If this is tapping up, then file a case with FIFA, period. If you are so worried about it, go after it in their courts, where they have rules about it. The reason I am willing to bet this doesn’t happen is because I know this does not fit the definition of that rule.

    • Dan
      July 13, 2010

      You don’t get it. It’s not this incident by itself. It’s this and the preceding 2 months worth of comments from directors and players about DNA, trophies et al and then you refuse to even make a realistic bid and complain we want too much!?

      FIFA rule on tapping up:
      “any person subject to the FIFA Statutes and regulations (club officials, players’ agents, PLAYERS, etc.) who acts in a manner designed to induce a breach of contract between a professional and a club in order to facilitate the transfer of the player shall be sanctioned.”

      If you don’t think your club (board or players) have broken that rule in the last 2 months then you’re either thick or ignorant.

      Your quote- “The reason I am willing to bet this doesn’t happen is because I know this does not fit the definition of that rule”… as I said thick or ignorant? you pick.

    • Luke
      July 13, 2010

      You know the ins and outs of all these negotiations? You know what has been said by Rosell, Fabregas, Wenger, etc.? I doubt it.

      As for tapping up: no one is inducing Cesc to “breach” a contract. If, as you said, negotiations have taken place, then that, in and of itself, is not a breach. That is a conversation about the rights to a player. If you were to look up the definition of “induce a breach” then you would see that two sides sitting down and formally or informally discussing options does not rise to this level. Nor does media, fan, or player speculation.

      I’ll go with neither of your options and wait for you to read the legal definitions of the words you write before implying such things.

    • Robbie
      July 14, 2010

      The official statement from the Arsenal website, 2 June 2010:-

      Arsenal Football Club have today released the following statement about Cesc Fabregas:

      “Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is under contract with the Club until the summer of 2015. He is a highly-valued member of the team and part of our future plans.

      “We have followed recent speculation linking Cesc with a move away from the Club but as there has never been any official approach for him, only two informal exchanges, in which we made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in transferring Cesc, we have refrained from publicly passing comment. However, yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc and in response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again that we have no intention of selling our captain.

      “To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word.”

    • DB10
      July 14, 2010

      Luke U R an idiot!!! It is not about the “prank” dude, get it to Ur head. U cant take that separately, take it with what your payers were doing, and saying since the end of the season and take it back a few years if U will. That is disrespect, and a true professional does not do that. That is why I have the utmost respect for Pep Guardiola, cuz he has not said a word about it, at least to my knowledge.
      About the “prank” think of your mother, or Ur wife for that matter, who is suspected to be involved with one of your neighbors, and in one of the social events the neighbor pulled a “prank” of kissing her in public. Lets see if U can take that humorously. That is what we feel about it

    • ChicharitoFan
      July 14, 2010

      If my neighbor was willing to give me anything over 1 mil for my wife, I would gladly accept!

    • July 14, 2010

      Funny is in the eye of the beholder, to quote Garfield….

      I personally think practical jokes are crass on the whole, but my sense of intellectual superiority is punctured by your use of ‘epistemic’. Good vocabulary for such a fundamentally stupid post which shows a deliberate unwillingness to engage with the opposing perspective to the degree of understanding it. I’m not going to engage in a pointless argument regarding the differing interpretations of a meaningless fifa ruling which has shown to be unenforceable even when the party in question is proven guilty. The overriding question has been concerning morality rather than legality, and in this case (not for the first time) Laporta and some other individuals have been shown to be lacking.

      Also, Pique is a knob-end who is lucky to be playing alongside a proper defender like Puyol who can compensate for his positional ineptitude.

    • July 14, 2010

      On an unrelated point, how the hell did barca manage to firstly negotiate alongside real madrid a totally separate TV deal to the rest of La Liga, and then still end up getting paid so much less that Franco’s lot?

  11. Canadian Gooner
    July 13, 2010

    First off, I am an Arsenal fan through and through. I just want to say that overall I feel this is an accurate and (mostly) unbiased account of things. A few arguments though:

    -The shirt prank was stupid and irresponsible, but I agree, they were drunk with happiness (and drink). That said, I still think it reflects badly on Pique, Puyol, and Reina, as they took a Spanish celebration and tried to make it about Barca. For me at least, this does not reflect badly on Barca, as they weren’t behind it.

    -The last one, is by using Fabregas as a pawn in the election campaign, and screwing around with his emotions (of course he wants to go back to Barca eventually), then you are disrespecting Arsenal. Maybe the entire club isn’t, but the presidents are.

    Overall, we are two very similar clubs idealogically, so we should be fans of each other. Unfortunately, this whole thing has just created a lot of animosity between the two. Hopefully it all works out, and in the end we both get a fair deal.

    -Regarding player quotes, I do have a few arguments, although I agree that Iniesta saying he wants to play with Fabregas is completely innocuous- of course he does. The ones that get under my skin are some of Xavi’s, where he says in no uncertain terms that if Fabregas wants club trophies, he has to come to Barca. Arsenal are a big club as you mention, and now that we’ve got our debt under control, we can spend again and really compete. To assume we can’t win anything is very insulting, as I hope you agree.

    • cliveee
      July 14, 2010

      *hats off*

      thanks for setting up a perfect example as an Arsenal visitor, and I agree with you, as a Barca fan, that sometimes Xavi’s comments are a bit too much.

  12. rellends
    July 13, 2010

    can you please pay us the cash you still owe us for hleb and henry please?

    • Dan
      July 13, 2010

      I think we’re still waiting for the 30m for Overmars and Petit aren’t we?

  13. Stroller
    July 13, 2010

    “Arsenal is a big club. It’s one of the biggest in the world in terms of reputation, so it should stop acting like some segunda side.”

    Come on – this is rubbish. Arsenal as a club have maintained a silence over this whole affair apart from one formal statement following Barca’s bid. They are the ONLY party to come out of this with their dignity and reputation intact. Yes the Arsenal fans have been up in arms but to accuse the club of acting up is plain ridiculous and undermines the credibility of your article.

    • July 13, 2010

      The accusation isn’t that Arsenal is acting up. It’s simply that from big club to big club, there are ways set in place that are structured to deal with situations such as the tapping up that Arsenal insist is going on.

      I don’t think you’ll find any Barca fan who agrees with the rhetoric that has been spouted by various club mouthpieces. And we all agree that Fabregas is an excellent player. He showed that in the World Cup.

      I just don’t think that his head can be so easily turned. It isn’t as if Arsenal have nothing to offer him. But ultimately, things will play out. I still insist (and hope I’m right) that he won’t be joining us this summer.

  14. Ruprecht
    July 13, 2010

    I’ve read some rubbish on this subject over the past few weeks but this article scrapes the bottom of the barrel and then some. Yes Barcelona, we all love you. We admire the selfless and sporting way you play the beautiful game and especially the classy way you conduct yourself off the field. We absolutely adore the way that you insist on a level and competitive playing field in Spain for all clubs and your superb business plan. As Arsenal fans we are are touched by the respect you have shown our club and our captain. And when you talk about transfers I think you should probably only call them that once you have actually paid for the player you have spent so long tapping up. That means giving the club he has come from some real money. You know, the stuff you borrow from the bank to pay your player’s wages. As for good old Man Mountain YaYa being an iconic player. This is more Barca romantic nonsense designed to get us all damp-eyed and set our bottom lips quivering. He sat on the bench most of last season while Busquets honed his diving technique and perfected his imitation card waving and dear old YaYa has sold himself to the highest bidder. Such an icon, such a sportsman! The veil has fallen away this season and we see Barcelona naked and for what they really are and no ludicrously romantic American can change that. There will be more over the coming days. It won’t end here. Rossel will embark on a PR binge to make sure that the whole football world knows that poor old Cesc wants to come and that the evil Wenger wont let him. After all, every player has Barca DNA somewhere in their blood. More than a club? Yes. But what?

  15. John
    July 13, 2010

    Not a bad summation, but I think you are trying to hard to make Barca look innocent in this whole matter. When your front board/president down to your players are all saying the same thing for over a year, its classless behavior and its tapping up. I don’t think Barca are buying him either for pretty much the reasons you stated. Also just an FYI about the debt situation, you realize Arsenal make a profit every year and our debt is tied to our stadium? Barca apparently is not making money each year and they had to get a 150m loan to pay player and staff wages, amongst other things. The two teams debt is not comparable.

  16. Jean-Michel
    July 13, 2010

    Excellent post. But you mention in passing the one thing that really sticks in the throat: it’s that Barcelona aren’t serious about Fabregas. It’s all posture and politics, and they never really thought they’d get the player, but they’re perfectly willing to make him think they are. They know what he’s worth on the market, and they know with the players they have he’s not worth that to them because he won’t be a regular starter.

    That’s what’s wrong about the whole thing: you unsettle a player you have no real intention of signing. Forget about Arsenal, they are a big club. It’s callous and classless towards Fabregas, becasue they’re just using him as a pawn in a political game. That’s the downside of public ownership perhaps, that you have to pander to the baser instincts of your fan base because they’re the ones who vote for you.

    Fortunately Cesc is strong enough mentally that I’m certain it won’t keep him from performing on the field, and hopefully it’ll put him off Barcelona for a while. They don’t deserve him.

  17. Lloyd
    July 13, 2010

    Two points:

    C. Ronaldo got the silver (trophies), gold (salary) and platinum (playing time) at Utd, but didn’t stay there…

    Arsenal are in far less debt than Barça, a reported £203.6m in February 2010, compared to Barça’s €489m debt in May 2010. I’m sure the nature of the debts are very different, but it does seem that my club (Arsenal), is steadily paying off this debt, the majority (if not all) of which is from The Emirates and Highbury Square. On the other hand, Barça’s debt is increasing, often from very expensive transfers (e.g. Villa), which Arsenal choose not to indulge in. Therefore, the point on Barça’s debt does have some validity.

    However, all in all, this is a well-written article and it isn’t particularly biased. It sets out all the points of discussion on the recent rumours. Well done 🙂

    • July 13, 2010

      Lloyd, I’m referencing a more recent piece which I can’t track down now, that listed the 10 biggest debtor clubs. That piece had us at 270m, as opposed to the 489 that is being reported by others. I’m still trying to get my mind around debt vs DEBT, however.

      But we turned an 11m profit last year which, admittedly, ain’t much in the context of more than 400m in revenues, but we did manage to pull it off. What’s keeping the hand in the cookie jar is the cost of success, in increased player wages, bonuses and incentives.

    • Bigcheese
      July 13, 2010

      And you can add another 150m euros that you just borrowed to that debt. You are indeed very lucky that Spanish banks give you unconditional loans that you can pay any time you want, despite the current economic crisis. All this Barca-Real pandering is going to stop when the Spanish economy goes belly-up, and then you can go cup-in-hand to your godfather Platini, begging to allow you into the folds of European competition.

    • Robbie
      July 14, 2010

      I know I would much prefer to have affordable long term debt such as a mortgage than unaffordable short to medium term debt which is more like borrowing on a credit card.

    • July 14, 2010

      What you’re saying makes perfect sense from the perspective of personal finance, but is absolute rubbish from the perspective of corporate finance.

  18. RedandDread
    July 13, 2010

    As an earlier blogger so succinctly said-you summed it up in the 1st line of the article. Barca have acted in a totally “classless” manner-your executive hierarchy and players have behaved like they are beyond retribution and above the law. I had some feeling for this club becasue of their style of play but your club’s behaviour in the Fabregas “affair” has been nothing short of repugnant!

    If you think the shirt incident is such a joke try and put a Barca shirt on one of the Real Madrid boys next time!

    There is a real antipathy now between Arsenal and Barcelona, which is shame as both clubs try and play football the “right” way.

    Arsenal have told you and anyone who cares to listen…”Fuck Off” He is not for sale.!!

  19. Jaygooner
    July 13, 2010

    As you can probably guess Kxevin, I am an Arsenal fan. Your post is first class. You have managed to capture every single piece of bitterness and hatred that has grown between our two GREAT clubs. I grew up loving Barcelona over Madrid, I was taught the history of Catalunya and its struggle against Franco in The War. I visited the marvelous City numerous times and love The Ramblas. I love Catalunyans, your stadium and training pitches right next door are awesome. I respect Barcelona Football Club. So Kxevin, in return, can you please respect the statement The Mighty Arsenal Football Club made on 2nd June. CESC IS NOT FOR SALE NO NEGOCIATION> Thank you Kxevin. Good post

    • July 13, 2010

      Nice words, Jaygooner, thanks. And believe you me, I wish that we humble socis had a more direct line to the folks who run the club, and I would definitely tell them to take that money and get a right and left back, some midfield cover and a good DM to replace The Yaya.

      What I hope is clear is that there isn’t a cule alive who doesn’t think that Fabregas is the business. But there is a better way to conduct this matter. Generally, where there’s that much noise, there isn’t a lot going on, as in the case of Laporta, Rosell, et al.

    • July 14, 2010

      Actually it does make you wonder why Barca seem allergic to buying proper left-backs….would be sweet if you lot pipped Franco’s lot to Ashley cole…arsehole but a bloody good player.

  20. July 13, 2010

    Thanks to all for being very cool about this. Nice points made.

  21. RVP
    July 13, 2010

    Utter shit. Barca are blatantly and arrogantly tapping up our player and should be fined and banned from the transfer market for a couple years as the rules dictate.

    I had quite a bit of respect for Barca until a couple years ago, and even less after going to that over rated dump of a stadium last April.

    News flash,,,Arsenal are the third largest club in the world based turnover and the biggest based on profitability. Barca can drown in their debt and sink with Spain’s economy. Few will shed a tear.

    • cliveee
      July 14, 2010

      silverwareless

  22. Dan
    July 13, 2010

    Why are you deleting posts that aren’t abusive or insulting but oppose your view?!

    • July 13, 2010

      The one deleted post was both abusive and insulting, Dan. We don’t mind disagreement here. We disagree among ourselves quite vehemently at times. But it should be done with respect, which is all we ask. You post here a lot on Arsenal-related matters, and aren’t very often edited, as I’m sure you already know.

    • Dan
      July 13, 2010

      How was it abusive. I didn’t swear, in fact i agreed with your words.

  23. Joe
    July 13, 2010

    Arsenal dont have any debt anymore if anyone has debt at the emirates it is Cesc to the Arsenal and Wenger.

  24. potter
    July 13, 2010

    Having lived near Barcelona for a few years and having been an Arsenal supporter for over 50 years this has torn at my heartstrings . Canadian : you say that the actions of Barca’s players disrespected The Arsenal, I actually believe they disrespected Cesc, he clearly did not want to wear the shirt, not in public anyway and I also believe that the players knew exactly what they were doing. They knew that it would enrage gooners and drive a wedge between Cesc and the supporters. Your club through first Laporta and latterly despite his protestations Rossell have openly courted the player in the media and despite being told that their offer was unacceptable have through various outlets ( players, press, radio ) have continued to pursue the transfer. At the death the answer is very clear, if you want the player come up with a satisfactory offer or else go away until you can.

  25. Brian
    July 13, 2010

    As an Arsenal Fan, I’m refreshed to see a (mostly) objective article on this matter from a Barca supporter. And to be honest, my quarrel is not with Barcelona FC, save that I have a fundamental problem with being able to name players the club will buy under such-and-such a President’s reign. That is a poor system for elections – one should vote on competence, not empty promises – and should constitute tapping up in my opinion. Still, it’s not against the rules as written.

    My main problem is with the press turning this B.S. into a “saga”. Look, if Cesc wants to go, and Barca have the money, they can pay above what Real paid for Kaka, and I’ll encourage Arsene to pull the trigger that instant, and buy Gourcuff, Sakho, and Rodwell with the proceedings. Hey, if the Catalans can have super-subs, so can we. But until then, I’m sort of tired with every little drunken celebration getting front-page billing. Pep needs to ask his guys to stop their circus, and let Barca act with the class it is universally know for. I’m sure they’re just messing with their friend, but they know they’re in the spotlight, and they know what class is. We’re brothers in style, and I’m glad Thierry got his CL win with BFC – but I’d really wish Rosell would quit his posturing, and just buy him after Euro 2012. And trust me, you’ll be glad to pay 80M for him after two more years with Wenger.

    • July 13, 2010

      Brian, do you think that Wenger will stay after this season? I read a lot that says this will be his last.

      Notice the silence that Guardiola has maintained through all this. It’s one reason that we are so fond of our coach. He understands how to comport himself.

      Agree with you on the purchase timing. Xavi will be about done by then, Fabregas will have more experience and almost certainly some silver, and will still be young enough, assuming that he wants to leave.

    • Brian
      July 13, 2010

      The ownership situation will be the key to Wenger’s managerial career, I think. I’m actually secretly hopeful Kroenke will just make the takeover, end the drama, and let Wenger do his job (with marginally looser purse strings – after all, you can’t run a business without some yearly investment). But if anyone tries to force Wenger change his approach, or make a certain purchase, I think he’ll be gone. I’d be sad to see him go, because I think he wants to manage Wilshere to a EPL titles, or at least win a CL at the club.

      Honestly, with his build, and a game that relies less on speed and more on brains, Xavi should be able to make another World Cup for Spain. I think the two years between Euro ’12 and WC ’14 for Xavi might look like something akin to what Raul, Henry, and Guti have seen over the past couple seasons: Barcelona buys Cesc, (slightly) changes the formation to accommodate him (I assume Iniesta will done playing the occasional game out wide at that point), and uses Xavi as a sometimes starter/big game sub/as match-ups dictate. But I really think, with Busquets in the fold for years to come, Barca should focus on a more box-to-box midfielder than a pure attacker, especially if they’re are more Xavi’s and Cesc’s coming up from the youth.

    • July 13, 2010

      Oh man, do we agree about the box-to-box mid. Keita is almost the guy, but not quite. Has someone cloned Essien yet, only with better knees?

      I hope you’re right about Xavi. I just worry about an injury, or that lost half step that makes those little spins into space lost balls and attacks going the other way.

      I don’t know if we are going to buy Fabregas or not in the future, but I can’t imagine any coach in his right mind not wanting to alter the formation to get him into the lineup. What he did for Spain in the WC is not to be underestimated.

    • Canadian Gooner
      July 13, 2010

      First- potter- I agree, who knows how Fabregas would have taken that. Putting your friend in an awkward position…

      Kxevin- definitely agree with Guardiola, he’s been class the entire time. I read a quote a while ago basically saying it wasn’t his player, so he had no right to talk about him. Quite the breath of fresh air.

  26. Mike
    July 13, 2010

    You’re right – Barca have no class.

    No class – can any other reader imagine what that must feel like? Supporting and running a website for a club with absolutely no class. What an empty life.

    Prank? – would it still be funny if they put a Barca shirt on a Real Player in the middle of Madrid? Once they’ve found the body parts for Puyol, and burnt what’s left of Pique as the real Supporters get off the stage – will you really still say it was just a harmless joke? can you imagine, a Real player doing that to a Classless Barca player? – Would you smile? Why do you think it’s okay for Arsenal to be afforded such disrespect? Again, another example of Classless Barca.

    No – Arsenal do have a debt for trying to be a big club. Arsenal football has no debts, and we have over £ 100million in the bank – in cash, that is ours, not the bank’s, not some donor’s – it’s ours – because unlike you, we behave like a big club and make a profit. Arsenal holdings built a stadium, they have some 30-years to pay their mortgage which has gone from nearly £ 500m to now just over £ 100m – they don’t need to make a repayment for another 10-years. i’m quite sure that they didn’t use the bank’s money to buy players that the club cannot afford or even afford to pay – oh no, that’s Man Utd, Liverpool, Man city, Chelsea, Real madrid and Barca – who have no class.

    And remember, we’ve never sold you a good player – only players at th end of their career’s. Nothing more then you deserve really. So no – talking to the media doesn’t, has never and will never work when deal with Arsenal players.

    Felt sorry for our Captain though. He’s kept the peace so long in the Spainish to ensure a good relationship with the knuckle dragging Puyol etc – and when he looks like he will be free at last to talk to some one with some idea of what they’re talking about – Puyol did that. He looked so so embarrassed – he couldn’t get that shirt off fast enough. Poor lad – don’t worry Cesc you’ll be home soon.

    By the way, with all those restructed loans you’re talking about – why do you need a loan to pay your staff? Is it because it is easier to scrap and bow to a bank manager for some change then working for a living and selling shirt sponsors??? – Says it all really – no class at all.

    • Jnice
      July 13, 2010

      “Poor lad – don’t worry Cesc you’ll be home soon.”

      This right here is part of the problem. Some of you Arsenal fans act like Cesc isn’t a grown man who is able to make decisions for himself. Fact is, if he didn’t want to come to Barça, all the BS in the newspapers, and the comments from the players wouldn’t affect him. At the end of the day, he is a grown man and shouldn’t be swayed like some freaking leaves because of what is said in a newspaper.

    • cliveee
      July 14, 2010

      you make me feel like u are only proud of your club’s profit. if money is all that matters, why bother to play football? go invest on something else and be a BIG club in your mind.

      As for us, we are happy with out Sixplete. yes, you are right, Silverwares they are.

  27. Malo
    July 13, 2010

    I wonder what the reaction of Barcelona’s fans would have been like had Casillas and Xabi Alonso put a Real madrid shirt on one of Barcelona’s talisman players. I doubt they would have found it amusin.

    • July 13, 2010

      But the comparison isn’t accurate, Malo. It isn’t as if Arsenal was the symbol of the tangible oppression of a people and its culture. It’s what makes El Clasic the two matches that both clubs look forward to on the calendar. If you were to ask a coach of either club if he would rather lose every other match but sweep the two Clasics, it would be a very difficult call to make.

      I understand the ire on Arsenal’s behalf. Many of us do. But the situations just aren’t the same.

    • Jnice
      July 13, 2010

      Not even close to being the same. Sorry, but it’s silly.

  28. July 13, 2010

    Anyone who isn’t retarded can see that there is nothing innocent about any of Barca’s employees behavior towards Arsenal and their players for years now. I think they screwed up though, if they had conducted themselves properly and actually had any cash to spare I think they could have probably come to an agreement with Arsenal for Fabregas. It won’t happen this summer now and with Jose the special one coming to take away their trophies I don’t think Barca will be such an attractive proposition next summer.
    Oh and as someone already asked (no answer given yet) when exactly do Barca intend to pay Arsenal the money they already owe from precious transfers?

    • July 13, 2010

      Can’t argue with the timing and silence facilitating the deal, Ken. It’s one reason I contend (and I could be wrong) that we never intended to do the deal. Politics are loathsome, and this most recent election left a bad taste in a lot of our mouths, not just over the outcome.

      As for the money from past transfers, you’ll have to take that up with Mr. Rosell now. I would rather imagine that it’s a sticking point to any real negotiations, however.

  29. ElShowDeJason
    July 13, 2010

    I can’t understand people over-reacting…
    The joke was funny.
    If it offended anyone, they are insecure about something or another…
    I’ve been hearing “What if it was Puyol, and they put a [insert whatever team here] jeresy on him”
    I wouldn’t care… The fact is that I know that Puyol currently at the club that he wants to play for, so why would I bitch and moan about a little joke.

    • Jose
      July 13, 2010

      I agree that the joke was hilarious, but I understand why it touched on the sensibilities of Arsenal fans. These people have seen their top players transferred to our club time and time again, and the Fabregas story alone has dragged on for years.

      Should you expect drunk players high on winning their country’s first World Cup to take all of this into account before pulling a prank like this? Nope.

      Can you expect Arsenal fans to take a simple joke like this in stride considering everything that has happened in the last few months? Nope.

  30. Jnice
    July 13, 2010

    Why do I keep seeing this “imagine if someone put a Madrid shirt over one of your players” line? How is that even a comparison?

    And regarding this whole debt thing, people are running with certain quotes, but ignoring factual articles and actual figures. They also ignored the part when Sandro said we have over 50 million euros to spend. Convenient.

    Glad most of these posts, barring a few, are sensible, though.

    • Jnice
      July 13, 2010

      I’m seeing less sensible posts now, so I take that last line back.

  31. Jaygooner
    July 13, 2010

    @Mike
    Tell it like is eh? The fact is there are only TWO solvent, not subsidised, Clubs in the whole of Europe, The Mighty Arsenal and Bayern Munich. The rest, Barca and Real Madrid included. are down the toilet quicker than Greece when the banks pull the plug. Back in england, sorry Kxevin for switching from Spain to the UK, once the sugar daddies get tired of their toys and the Mafiosi ask what happened to the money, thats bye bye Man U, cheerio Man City, Fuck off Chelsea and we will just let Harry bankrupt Tottenham all on his own. Happy days Gooners, just around the corner.

    • July 13, 2010

      Ha! We over here wonder where we might be fiscally if we actually had to pay the transfer fees for Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Puyol, Busquets, etc. Probably a darn sight poorer, that’s for sure. I wonder if we will ever have a situation where our Masia has been so effective in raising starting players.

      As for the debt, the UEFA strictures are well-timed, and will bring things in line for every club. Or at least every club that wants to compete on the sport’s biggest club football stage.

    • Jaygooner
      July 13, 2010

      Excellent point Kxevin how long did it take for your youth policy to come to fruition? Fifteen years I believe, at least Barca had patience. Germany took ten years and Wenger has tried to do it in seven years. The days of HUGE transfer fees are coming to an end.

  32. Sol
    July 13, 2010

    A few points:

    1. The debt at Arsenal is completely different to that of Barcelona. Our debt has accrued due to building a new stadium, yours has accrued due to buying players outside your means. We are also PAYING off our debt, it went down by over £100 million this year and we make a profit each year. Your debt on the other hand is increasing annually.

    2. Okay, comments like Iniesta made are innocuous. Sure, I can deal with that. HOWEVER, its the nonsense that the likes of Xavi chats: “Its in his DNA”. Nobody put those words into his mouth, that was his choice to speak like that.

    3. Cesc Fabregas is the captain of Arsenal. The captain. He is our most important player. We pay him £100,000+ a week. By Presidents and players talking trash about him wanting to go home, EVEN IF ITS TRUE, shows a complete lack of class. If you are so sure of getting him, why feel the need to put it out in public? If he is so intent on leaving, then it will happen.

    4. This brings me on to my most important point. You allude to it yourself:

    “Fabregas was the heavy election pawn in the race between Sandro Rosell, the eventual winner and current Barça president and Joan Laporta”

    That is the very essence of why we accuse Barca of being classless. Using Cesc as some kind of political pawn, for a potential president to increase his popularity is SHAMEFUL. You call it “stupid” and “silly” – we call it CLASSLESS. You admit yourself that you think Barca has no intention of signing Fabregas yet your club has done so much to unsettle him. How must that feel for Cesc? If anything, your club has built his hopes up only for them to be falsely placed. That is disgusting behaviour if you ask me.

    5. To all those who think he has a divine right to go back to Barca need to realise that HE WOULD NEVER BE THE PLAYER HE IS TODAY, RIGHT NOW, WITHOUT ARSENAL. He has played more than 250 times for Arsenal to get to where he is now. Through world class coaching at ARSENAL, he is the player you see today. At Barca, he would never have had the same chance to develop with Iniesta and Xavi blocking his path. If anything, he would have been sold because he was unhappy and you would NEVER EVER WANT HIM BACK anyway.

    6. The shirt debacle was a prank, I can deal with that. But to Arsenal fans, who have been put through this endless transfer saga and are at breaking point – I hope you can at least understand it only adds to the image that your club handles things very poorly indeed.

    Apart from that :D, your thoughts were quite fair.

    • Jnice
      July 13, 2010

      To point number 1-

      We make a profit each year as well, might not be as much as yours, but we do make a profit. And if you knew anything, you would know that over the course of Laporta’s reign, the debt he inherited has decreased not increased.

    • Sol
      July 13, 2010

      And do you any response or comments to my other points Jnice?

    • Jnice
      July 13, 2010

      I don’t feel like it, sorry.

      I’m sure someone else will.

    • July 13, 2010

      I’ll echo Jnice on your point no. 1.
      2. What Xavi meant is that Fabregas learned to play at Barca. Simple as that. Not any kind of tugging at his heart via his genetics. And it’s true. He certainly refined his game to a world-class level at Arsenal.

      3. Few will argue with that. As I said, it isn’t how we conduct business when we’re serious about doing business.

      4. I just don’t think that it’s possible to comments to unsettle a player who doesn’t want to be unsettled.

      5. No argument. Taken by itself, the shirt thing is a prank. Piled atop the other stuff, it’s a different matter. I’d wager that without the other stuff, nobody would have even batted an eyelash.

    • Sol
      July 13, 2010

      You’re kidding? You pick a hole in one of the points I make, and then can’t be bothered to address my other points?

      I think its because you can’t defend your club with regards to its antics, and its blatantly obvious.

    • Jnice
      July 13, 2010

      No, because I didn’t feel like addressing anymore since that was the worst point of them all. That and I knew someone like Kxevin here would respond to them sooner or later.

    • Sol
      July 13, 2010

      But thank you for your comment Kxevin

  33. Nick
    July 13, 2010

    Tapping up is illegal, and tapping up is what Barcelona did. The statements of the players have gone on for months — these are players who know how not to answer questions if they don’t want to or are instructed not to. Neither was obviously done.

    As for the short incident, what is astounding is the slight that Barcelona made to the rest of Spain, in the center of their arch rival, Real Madrid. Was this a Barca celebration or a Spain celebration?

    Barca, excuse me, Spain, won because of Fabregas and Torres, not the Barcelona players. Villa only scored when Torres was there creating space and a target to get it to him — he helped on the winning goal in the same way. Fabregas fed Iniesta — perhaps something Messi could provide. Without the Spanish equivalents of Ibrahimovich and Messi, Spain would not have won.

    Taken by itself, the shirt incident is trivial — but it is not taken by itself; it is the hundredth such incident in less than two months — and whatever LaPorta said or did, Rosell seems bent on repeating it.

    Finally, Arsenal are a big club, and don’t need to borrow 150 million to make payroll, so they will act like a big club and reject the petty narcissism of the Barca approach. You might ask yourself why Barcelona persist in this fantasy that they can force the world to their point of view, rather than act like adults and good businessmen, and responsible club executives?

    • July 13, 2010

      I feel compelled to note that the goal that got Spain into the final was off the head of Puyol, from a Xavi cross. Can’t argue with you about Villa. It’s why we’re crazy if we sell Ibrahimovic.

      I don’t think that Barca is trying to force the world to it’s view. It’s a club that is playing football, and winning trophies. Certainly the media is shilling for our football being all pure and full of light, but I tend not to agree with that all of the time. You play the game you have to in order to win.

    • Ryan
      July 13, 2010

      Don’t forget Reina, who gave Casillas the PK tip in the game vs Paraguay; now you can be completely Premier League biased!

    • kirsten
      July 14, 2010

      lol, dude i like the shit u have been smoking.

    • cliveee
      July 14, 2010

      wow… simply, wow. F Torres is flatout crap in this whole world cup and you dare to back him and say such things. bravo for your courage and lack of footballing sense. i am totally refreshed by your comment.

      fabregas is of course, super!

  34. lukychmz
    July 13, 2010

    Arsenal fans aren’t mad at cesc, they are mad at the disrespect shown to their club by barcascum, we all know he will go back to Spain sometime in his career and thats fine. Like you say players come players go but you dont send all the players in your team out to every media outlet and make statements like we would love him here and he would be great here and we will sign him over and over after you were told he is going nowhere 5 times. Then their “management” starts spewing out shite, we will meet with Wenger and complete the transfer blah blah blah. What is Spanish for no because I’m assuming their English aint too good

    No class at all

  35. July 13, 2010

    What do people think about the comments by Cesc’s father? I’m not sure what to make of them.

    • Jnice
      July 13, 2010

      I feel like he is trying to say that Cesc still wants a move to Barça, but at the same time he’s trying to cover his bases since Cesc is still an Arsenal player.

      I don’t get why he found it necessary to talk, though. He couldn’ve said the prank wasn’t serious, he had no idea it was going to happen, he would never disrespect Arsenal, etc. But why that other stuff about him making his wishes clear and what not?

    • Jose
      July 13, 2010

      I agree, though I have to say it is not the best way to go about things. I think it’s understood that Cesc would like to some day come back to Barcelona.

      But until that day, I think we would all be better served by Fabregas, Jr. and Sr., stating their unwavering devotion to the Arsenal.

    • July 14, 2010

      Hedging his bets. The old man dropped a clanger early on by coming out with statements endorsing the deal, and is trying to step back on neutral ground. However the subtle difference between his statements and his sons suggest the possibility that Cesc may be under family pressure to return home (though his sister disagrees!)

  36. Hartwick89
    July 13, 2010

    It’s clear that even this article see’s no room for Arsenal’s best player… The problem though is the realization that all of Spain does not appreciate the talent that came from Barca. And, that’s why Wenger should be admired. He saw Cesc when Viera was still the captain as the successor to Arsenal… And, even now when Wenger’s prophecy has proved true Barca and Spain refuse to acknowledge that! So until you recognize what Wenger saw years before, and not by rhetoric, but by actions you will never have him. 2014 will be your first chance and by thenCesc will have many trophies upon what he already has. Unfortunately, I see both Spain and Barca diminishing because of bad economics. Sorry but dems dere are da facts!

    • July 13, 2010

      I think that said diminution will depend upon whether or not our Masia can keep turning out world-class talent. Is there another club at which 7 of the starting 11 come from the farm? And in the pipeline we have mids such as Dos Santos and Thiago, strikers such as Gael Etock, and defenders such as Muniesa and Fontas.

      Everyone recognizes the talent of Fabregas. We didn’t want to let him go. He left, and his decision was the correct one. When and if the Fabregas deal is done, it will cost north of 60m. And people will know that we’re serious when we start talking at that number.

      Until then, it’s all just politicians making promises they don’t intend to even try to keep.

  37. July 13, 2010

    Thanks for replying Kxevin, I’ll leave on this honest note, and I don’t mean to offend you as an American but to me, Barca are becoming the America of the football world, throwing their weight around, saying and doing whatever they like with no regard for who is actually effected. I’ve always enjoyed watching Barca play, who wouldn’t, but this behavior sheds a really bad light on your club and if it was Arsenal acting this way I wouldn’t be a happy or proud fan.
    Take it easy.

    • July 13, 2010

      You, too, Ken. Thanks for being cool about the visit. And no offense taken. But I do think that to continue with the nation analogy, sometimes things are construed one way that are meant in another. It’s just political perspective that makes them seem as they do.

      Good luck this season, and I still don’t understand why you all didn’t buy The Yaya.

  38. Jose
    July 13, 2010

    Nice try, Kevin. But I have a feeling that opinions have already been irreversibly formed by the collective histrionics of the Arsenal blogosphere and English media, so it was a largely futile attempt.

    I still have to commend you on writing was is easily the most sober take on the issue of any website out there, professional and non-professional.

  39. Dan
    July 13, 2010

    Minus all the biased nonsense we all write (me moreso than anybody), you all (barca fans) know the actions of your club and players in the last 2 months has been pathetic and embarrassing whether legal or not.

    If my club and players had acted the way yours had, I would be ashamed rather than trying to defend them by claiming their actions weren’t technically illegal or they were drunk or misquoted or just answering a question….

    Everyone respects the way you guys play football (minus the diving and constantly calling for players to be sent off) and the shirt sponsorship is one of the classiest things I’ve seen in modern football but you are just a club (contrary to your belief), you did go half a decade without a trophy 10 years ago, you do way overpay for average players, you do steal alot of teenagers from other clubs then claim they came through your academy and you have acted like feckless, classless dickheads in this matter whether you like it or not.

    • July 13, 2010

      We aren’t defending as much as trying to explain. Ultimately, Arsenal doesn’t want Fabregas to leave and many, many Barca fans don’t want him to come. We see eye to eye on that matter.

      We also see eye to eye on the comportment of club officials. As noted, it isn’t how we act when we’re serious about doing a deal.

      Fact of the matter, however, is that many presume that player statements and actions were part of a deliberate campaign, something that I just don’t beleive to be true. Our most recent deal, for David Villa, is a much more typical Barca deal. The name is floated around, we approach the club through normal channels, negotiate and bang, the player is doing a photo op at Camp Nou.

      It’s unfortunate that politics and politicians have soured things.

      As for our trophyless stretches, we have had them before, and will have them again. It’s why any fan of any club should appreciate the success when it comes.

    • Jaygooner
      July 13, 2010

      Oh dear Just as I thought it was getting nice. you go and spoil it all by saying something stupid…….Year after Year after Year you openly courted Theirry Henry. You blatantly stole Overmars, you offered Hleb an icecream. the most blatant tap up ever…come on Kxevin…check your history matey

    • Jose
      July 13, 2010

      You really should play nicer, Jaygooner. We can have debates in this space all we want, but there is no need for inflammatory words like “stupid”.

    • Jaygooner
      July 13, 2010

      Jose its the lines to a Nancy Sinatra song “And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like I love you”. Certainly no offence meant, just satire.

    • Jose
      July 13, 2010

      lol that is actually clever then, I did not get the reference.

    • July 13, 2010

      My history goes far enough back with the club to know, and I just don’t think that was true with Henry. I think that Henry made the move to chase the one title that he didn’t have, and both sides came out quite well in that deal, even if you count his last season with us.

      As for Overmars, Dein speaks more eloquently than I can:

      “Dein added that the final decision to sell Overmars and Petit had been made by Arsenal’s manager. ‘Arsene Wenger has to make the final call on all players and he was prepared to release them,” said Dein, who pointed out that Wenger sold another high-profile player, Nicolas Anelka, last year – for a profit of £22m.”

      Back then, Arsenal fans were mostly saying that it was a good piece of business. Barca fans won’t, in the hindsight of 20/20, agree.

      Hleb also chose to leave, and did so the way that he always does, by burning bridges. When we signed him, many Arsenal fans visited here, predicting that he would suck for us, and not score any goals. I only wish they weren’t so correct.

    • lookout
      July 13, 2010

      Unless Cesc goes this summer, Wenger has yet to let an Arsenal player leave until he thought it was best for Arsenal.

      Henry was courted but never let go until Cesc was ready to lead the team. Henry left and the kids really started playing with freedom rather than fear of what Titi would say.

      Overmars was crocked.

      Hleb’s ice cream was in Milan so probably not relevent to this discussion.

  40. Jose
    July 13, 2010

    Question for Arsenal fans visiting us here (might as well take this opportunity):

    How does the political structure at Arsenal work? As in, does somebody own Arsenal, or is the club owned by the paying members? Are there elections?

    • Canadian Gooner
      July 13, 2010

      The club is owned by it’s shareholders, and is essentially a corporation. We have a few shareholders who own between 20-30%, and if one of them gets to 29.9999%, they have to attempt a legal takeover. As a fan, if this happens I’ll be worried, as even if we get a billionaire owner like Chelsea/City, I don’t want to win that way. I like the club standing on it’s own two feet, as opposed so some other PL clubs.

      I think the Arsenal Shareholder Trust owns something like 8% (this is a guess), and they voice the opinions of the fans at the general meetings.

    • Jose
      July 13, 2010

      Ooooooooh, is that what happened at some other Premiership clubs (like ManU or Chelsea), a single shareholder coming in and initiating a legal takeover?

    • Canadian Gooner
      July 13, 2010

      Pretty much. Chelsea benefited from it, because Roman just opened the pursestrings for the next five years. United got screwed, as the Glazer’s took out loads of debt (not cheap debt either) to finance the purchase, and has been using club revenues to pay off the interest. It was essentially an LBO (finance with loads of debt, and use all profits to pay down the debt fast), but considering football clubs are not for profit, that idea doesn’t work too well.

    • Jaygooner
      July 13, 2010

      @Jose
      AS you well know we are owned by shareholders. Unlike your admirable democratic system at Barcelona, ordinary fans like me do not get a say in the running of the Club. Which could be a good thing, cos I might well have bankrupted The Mighty Arsenal by demanding the pigs head, not Figo, came to Arsenal lol.

    • Jose
      July 13, 2010

      Well I wouldn’t necessarily call it an admirable democratic system, because of the politicking that such a system brings up. If everyone voted just with their heads after a sober evaluation of the facts, Barca (and any democracy, obviously) would be run better. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and I doubt will ever be the case. So we live with it…

      (lol @ the pig’s head comment).

    • July 14, 2010

      I think the German ownership system is the best. It makes it impossible for foreign owners to take control of more than 49% of any club, whilst maintaining a less politically volatile presidential system.

  41. majatt
    July 13, 2010

    Its amazing how upset you get over players when you haven’t won a trophy for years, I hope we never get this bitter and delusional when we hit our low after such a glorious high.

    • Canadian Gooner
      July 13, 2010

      Well that’s an ignorant comment if I’ve ever seen one. You should run for club president, you’d win by a landslide.

    • Dan
      July 13, 2010

      Classy

    • July 13, 2010

      Rather intemperate. It wasn’t that long ago that we were trophyless, and bidding to recall our president, after all. It happens to every club.

    • majatt
      July 13, 2010

      I found it funny the first, oh 20 times, but I’m really tired of coming here to read the usual good discussion of our football and football in general to be inundated with this tripe in the comments section. For pespective though I honestly didn’t think the comment would have been this incendiary, but perhaps I expected too much.

    • Jose
      July 13, 2010

      I think I have been through this so many times (with less than exemplary behavior on my part, mind you) to try to keep a level-head amidst all the incendiary words, and in fact spark some reasonable debate.

      Like channeling my inner Gandhi/Kxevin.

    • Dan
      July 13, 2010

      It was only 5 years ago when you hadn’t won anything for 6 years. Get off you high ignorant horse you ****.

      Where’s that pigs head gone? Bitter much!

    • July 13, 2010

      And then for two years before this last season, which resulted in Frank Rijkaard’s sacking. In a way, and I shudder to say this, we will find out what kind of fans this club has when the trophies aren’t coming. Already this season, with “just” the Liga, people were clamoring for changes, and calling certain things a “failure.” Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who notched 22 goals and 8 assists for us in all competitions, was actually called a project that didn’t work out.

      Such is the burden of success. Failure tempers that, and balances the load.

    • Canadian Gooner
      July 13, 2010

      Success is usually viewed as doing better than the year before. Good luck trying for seven trophies! People’s memories are short.

      Agreed- Clubs get loads of bandwagon jumpers these days. One of the (few) benefits of five trophy-less seasons is that we know all of our fans are legitimate at this point.

    • majatt
      July 13, 2010

      Arrogant?

      As I said we will eventually slip and I’m well aware of the days when things weren’t so well.

      My point is Yaya Toure, a player who SO MANY people on this blog love left. To me he was incredible even during the 2 years we won nothing left. You know what? We are winning now so no one here is trotting about sobbing.

      I’m totally bypassing the media hype, I’m totally bypassing reporters asking every barca player “How would like you fabregas eh?” and then only reporting the answer as if they called a press event only to say “Yeah fab would be great, we all fathered him during an orgy so he has our DNA!”.

      I don’t care what you have to say, if you are trotting around the net blasting a FOOTBALL CLUB for being classless you need your head examined. I stand by my statement you guys (and gals if any) are bitter.

      Bitter like Barca fans after Figo (yes I know its different but the bitterness is the same) because in part it feels like you are stealing the success (or hope for it) in taking the player.

      Again to the arrogance, show me a football fan who isn’t proud of his club during success? I refuse to play down the fact that our injured squad took the injured arsenal squad and thrashed then 4-1 because I follow Barca for football and on the pitch (and in several areas off it) I love this club.

    • jaymin
      July 13, 2010

      Buddy fair arguments all with the exception of your final inference that this year’s UCL fixture was fought out between two equally “injured” squads. Of our starting strikeforce of 3, one starter (Bendtner) started. Of our starting 3 mids, only 1 starter (denilson) started. And of our starting back four, neither of the CBs played. You guys were in the same position in that vein, but otherwise. Messi put on a clinic, and it was a glorious night for Barca, but we were a little worse for wear than you guys on the night, probably because we play in a league of cynical titans who regard our limbs like terriers do chicken bones.

    • Ciaran
      July 13, 2010

      Dan, you do not seem to be the nicest of people. Not many four letter words blanked out with **** tend to be a graceful word in our language

    • Jaygooner
      July 13, 2010

      Enjoy your years of trophyless seasons finishing second in a two horse race majatt, Its Mourinho’s league now and he has unfinished business with Barca, Come back when you are bitter and twisted and tell me all about it, As for The Mighty Arsenal? The march is on, the Invincibles are coming back. Ever won the League unbeaten majatt? nope not even in a two horse race did you manage that. OOOH TO BE A GOONER

    • Dave
      July 13, 2010

      Hmm..how about this. Why don’t you wait a few months, Jay, see how the league plays out, and if you turn out to be right, come back here and brag about your clairvoyance all you want? Until then, I would hold out on comments like this, because, honestly, they make you sound a bit..immature.

    • lookout
      July 13, 2010

      Eh, some people get more upset than others. While I want us to win everything every year I enjoy the games each and every week for the entertainment they are. I believe the youth plan, a.k.a. “Let’s set ourselves up for perpertual success” cost us a few possible trophies over 5 years then I’m ok with it. Afterall, we’ve sold a big player every year, shown net profits on transfers, built a new stadium, paid down the debt, and depended on youth who got us to a number of quarter and semifinals.

      I think we are well placed to be a force in european football for decades to come.

  42. Hartwick89
    July 13, 2010

    @Majatt,

    Can you fault us for our passion for this club? Least of all we have taken to Cesc because of what he has proven as world class. I ask you to take Messi, Xavi as examples of what passion you would feel if they were center of a sensitive situation. Again if a lot of Barca fans don’t even see the class of Cesc I ask who is delusional. Again, Spain wins the world cup because of Cesc’s contributions in such little minutes played… You are the ones’s who cannot see and you are the one’s who do not deserve this gift.

    • majatt
      July 13, 2010

      I have a tremendous amount of respect for Arsenal, Football and the Arsenal football players. Trotting around the net jumping on innocent folks who just have the same passion for Barca as you all have for Arsenal, to me, is ridiculous. Your club isn’t perfect and neither is ours, but we love it.

  43. July 13, 2010

    Right-o, everyone, I have a wife and dinner to tend to. Arsenal fans, thanks again for being so cool and classy about this debate in which I think we actually see eye to eye. And best of luck this season. We will both need it. Citeh is poising for a run, and the Evil Empire is buttressed by (and I hate to say this) a real coach. T’will be interesting.

  44. Hartwick89
    July 13, 2010

    Kxevin,

    on behalf of Arsenal fans everywhere you have my permission to abolish the king of negative football! Have great dinner but Cesc is ours till 2014. I hope you all are still around by then!

  45. Kari
    July 13, 2010

    In other news (which deserves a post of its own IMO):

    Pep’s signing an contract extension today!

    Details are still unknown, but it’s official at least.

    Yaaaaaaaay!

    P.S. Whoa! Some nice, reasonable Arsenal fans here for a change. I don’t want to single people out because that would take to long (cue shock 😛 ), but it’s been swell having you here.

    • July 14, 2010

      Lucky sods! He’s the one manager out there on the biggest stage I have always respected. Humble as a player and a coach, and always treats his opponents with respect. His comments after the footballing lesson we got this year were temperate and sensitive. If he’s half the man privately as he has always been publicly his family are very lucky. Maybe someone will make him president one day and all this antipathy will vanish!

  46. Jaygooner
    July 13, 2010

    Its been nice to argue football stuff. Thanks for allowing the posts to appear. One day the bridges between our two GREAT football clubs will be repaired, BUT YOU STILL AINT GETTING CESC lol. Gracias

  47. Ciaran
    July 13, 2010

    Does anyone else think it would be freakin’ hilarious if we swooped in and signed Jack Wilshere?

    Just kidding.
    For the record, I think that the prank, although irresponsible, was funny.

    I’ll give my take on a few different points; I have been a Barca fan since the terms to describe Arsenal were either “boring, boring Arsenal” or “one-nil to the Arsenal” so I have seen quite an evolution from both teams.

    Historically, Arsenal have not been the free flowing team that they currently (or at least recently) have been. They have had good players (Ian Wright is the most underrated striker in English football history in my opinion) but Wenger has transformed them into a proper footballing team although recently, Arsenal have not even been close to reaching the heights of the Invincibles.

    Electoral campaigns are they way the big clubs in Spain are run. It’s not nice or overly ethical but when was the last time a politician came to your door and promised to fix everything? Every four years where I am from I see politicians offering to fix the world to get a vote and they disappear afterwards delivering 10% of what is promised.
    Remember, Ramon Calderon promised Kaka, Robben & Cesc for Real Madrid and only delivered Robben a few seasons after he was supposed to.
    Originally Laporta promised Beckham and delivered Ronaldinho once Beckham opted for Madrid.
    We don’t like it but politicians can be sleazy. What is at least a saving grace is that the president in Barcelona normally is not directly involved in the signing of players.

    The Debt situation is blown out of proportion for a number of reasons… Rossell is the new president and in order to make his job easier, he is saying that the club had huge debts that he needs to ‘fix’. It doesn’t have many more debts that other big clubs.
    Profit is a lot different also. Barca has no need to make a profit as it doesn’t really benefit the club. The goal for Barcelona is to improve all aspects continually, thus reinvesting all income directly back into both the sporting (transfers, wages) and non-sporting (buildings, developments) areas of the club.
    It must also be noted, that we are a sporting club, not just a football club, meaning that the income generated by the teams (mainly football) has to sustain all of the sports departments, which are incredibly successful by the way.
    Arsenal fans should relate to this having the most dominant women’s football team in England every season.

    In terms of Fabregas, most Arsenal fans accept that he will come here at some stage. Most Barca fans accept the same thing. Both sets of supporters are unanimous in their belief that the time IS NOT NOW for that move to happen.
    Cesc said at the start of the summer that he is ready to make that move WHEN ARSENAL ARE READY. Arsenal are not ready yet and have made that clear to Barcelona who have had a formal offer rejected. They have said that they will not offer more than €45million which is obviously not going to be enough to buy him so THE CASE IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED.

    Fabregas himself could have told Barca to f*ck off if he had wanted like Iniesta did to everyone who is not Barca yesterday. He didn’t as it seems that whenever the Arsenal Board and Arsene Wenger decide to sell he will be ready to go.

    Xavi, Iniesta, Pique & Puyol have answered questions answered of them and have given answers from their heart. While it may be said that the Spanish Media underestimate Fabregas, it cannot be said that his international teammates do. They clear feel that he will be an integral part of the squad whenever he does come here and have voiced that support for his ability. They have not done this with any form of subtly which is their fault but this is still not illegally tapping him up. They have not requested that he buy out his contract or hand in a request (at least not publicly).

    If any Arsenal fan has a short memory, Arsenal signed Fabregas through a legal loophole which, while not illegal, was certainly immoral. What Barcelona are doing is not a whole pile different and also is immoral, by making noises about wishing to bring him to the club.

    • Bigcheese
      July 14, 2010

      Very nice post there, Ciaran, but I would like to point out a couple of discrepancies:

      1. Cesc cannot buy out his contract at present. He signed a contract extension just last year and according to the rules a player needs to be at least 3 years into his contract to be able to do a Bosman.

      2. Slightly immoral, perhaps, but if you’ve read the above posts you’ll know that Arsenal paid for the transfer by knocking several million GBP off the GvB transfer.

  48. Hartwick89
    July 13, 2010

    Congrats on unproven Pep as compared to Wenger…. I call Pep a noble or someone who has been given everything to succeed. He has done well by given everything! Soon he will have to prove himself as Wenger has and then as you all jokingly want Cesc will pray you have Wenger. But, they will not come. Cesc will be the Johan Cruyff of the Dutch to Barcelona as Cesc will be of Arsenal and Wenger will be a Arsenal Legend as Cesc will to. I am out!

  49. Ciaran
    July 13, 2010

    Just one thing I meant to add, the five trophyless seasons that Arsenal are currently going through is 100% Arsene Wenger’s fault in my opinion. He has given me, and every Arsenal fan that I personally know, the impression that the FA Cup & the League Cup are irrelevant and that it doesn’t matter whether they win them or not. A lot of my friends believe that this is teaching his young players how to lose rather than how to fight for every match.
    I believe that Arsene Wenger is certainly a good manager but he is not perfect. He has completely forgotten the formula that he had so much success with. The “Invincibles” were not a team of 18-23 year old players like his current team, they were men, fully grown and very aggressive in the right places.
    Arsene should remember Martin Keown towering above Ruud v Nistelrooy like a mad-man, Veira squaring up to Roy Keane and the likes of Pires and Ljundberg supporting Bergkamp and Henry up front. Physically the team was immense and were never bullied by the likes of Big Sam’s Bolton & Blackburn.

    He seems to have forgotten all of this and thinks that he can only play with kids

    • Bigcheese
      July 14, 2010

      This is another perception amongst non-Arsenal fans (and even a large number of Arsenal fans) that I would like to correct. Arsenal were hitherto playing at perhaps the smallest stadium for a club of our stature. Once people like Abramovich came into the picture, Wenger recognised that the club could no longer compete on the financial front unless some drastic changes were made. Hence the construction of the Emirates stadium.

      Now, obviously, with the real estate market booming, it cost Arsenal a pretty penny to build the Emirates, and we had to take some hefty loans. And this is where the difference between Arsenal and Barca shines through. Instead of borrowing cash to fund their transfers, AW and the Arsenal management decided to embark on a policy of sustainable economic growth, one that meant that Arsenal would have to significantly tighten purse strings and perhaps even sell off one major player a year in order to reduce the debt, or at least maintain it at a manageable level.

      Cue AW’s highly ambitious youth project, one that certainly hasn’t delivered the results most fans expect from the club, but certainly keeping the club competitive on all fronts and has delivered lucrative CL football season after season. When you put things into perspective by looking at what happened to clubs like Sunderland after building a new stadium, you can’t help but applaud Wenger for what he has achieved with Arsenal FC.

      And now that much of our debt has been paid off, we’re reporting a very healthy turnover every season, we can once again compete on the transfer front and especially with the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules coming into effect, I won’t blame fans of other top European clubs for pissing their pants at what Arsenal are poised to achieve in the decades to come.

Comments are closed.