A smorgasbord of stupid, aka “L’affaire Fabregas”

Arsene Wenger: “I love Fabregas and I want him to stay, that is basically it.”

This Fabregas transfer business is officially at rock bottom. It doesn’t work with soon to be ex-wives or girlfriends, as any guy will tell you. It didn’t work for Mars Blackmon, either. “Please baby please, baby baby baby please!”

Will it work for an attacking midfielder?

As astute Twitter follower, mesqueunprofile, notes: Both sides are acting as though its about proving that Cesc loves them more instead of thinking of what is best for the teams.

Exactly. It’s also incredibly stupid, not just Wenger’s declaration but the whole business.

And the life-affirming beauty of stupid is that there is always enough to go ’round. And in consideration of the Fabregas transfer affair, which looks set to end this summer and resume the next, it’s worth having a right smart look at what is enough stupidity to power a small country, were jackassery electricity. Two clubs don’t want to lose face, so they face off and bray like jackasses over a player. “Cesc should come home.” “We love him, and think he should stay.” Stoo-pid.

Let’s start with us, since we’re the home team:

–We’re stupid because we refuse to come sufficiently close to Arsenal’s valuation to even raise the possibility of a deal.

–We’re stupid because we’re putting all our eggs in one wishy-washy basket, and whistling past the graveyard of a back line that is old in key positions. But we’re so busy chasing a player that we don’t need right now, and are, in my opinion, ignoring other needs. Some will say that we’re a deeper squad than last season because we have better players at all positions, who are also versatile. Whatever.

–We’re stupid because we’re playing a game of brinkmanship, betting that Arsenal won’t want to keep a want-away captain, thus facilitating a deal on our terms, or as close to them as possible. But Arsenal is happy to keep him, because this isn’t just business, it’s also personal, made so by comments and other blather about tapping-up, hijacked young’uns and other silliness.

–We’re stupid because we aren’t exactly making ourselves known as a delight to deal with in the footy world. Will teams really want to dance around with us if the player a club is trying to sell has other options? Gijon didn’t, and Roma now have one hell of a left back for a very fair price that they set, rather than our “We’ll give you 1.5m, some Barca Xips and a squirrel. Deal?”

–We’re stupid because we look stupid for letting this thing drag on and on and on and on. We also look cheap. Arsenal’s valuation of Fabregas, in the current transfer market, is very fair. This is a statement which, it must be added, has nothing to do with my personal valuation of Fabregas to the club. We’re looking for a bargain, which is stupid, particularly since the other party has made it very clear what the price is.

–We’re stupid because we’re frittering away a dwindling transfer window, even if Guardiola has said that if we don’t sign Fabregas, we aren’t signing anyone else.

And now for Arsenal:

–They’re stupid because this matter is not strictly business for them, just as for us. And it should be. This is like a 2 million dollar house sale being scuttled because of not being able to agree on whether a 9k fridge stays or goes. Fabregas wants to leave. What is the point of keeping him? But they don’t want to “lose” in this deal. So it’s X number or get lost, which is their right. But that right makes them no less stupid.

–They’re stupid because they’re standing pat with a lineup that finished fourth in the Prem last season, while all around them have improved. 38m, or whatever in the hell we last offered, buys a hell of a lot of talent, talent that could improve a club to the extent that gets it over the hump. Instead, they let this thing drag on, missing the Juan Mata “sensible price” deadline. And now they pretty much have to keep a player who doesn’t want to stay, to have any shot at all.

–They’re stupid for adhering to their valuation of a player who doesn’t want to stay, taking a HUGE risk that he is going to be every bit as excellent and fully committed as he has been in the past. No matter someone’s intentions, can he be, really? Good question. There are some consummate professionals who, after mentally quitting a job, continue to perform at the same high level as when they started. Yup. There must be, somewhere. Fabregas could well be one of them.

–They’re stupid for not taking the money and running to improve the club. Wenger ‘as zee ‘ope that doing the same thing the same way will bring about a different result this time. Because it always does in the rosy glow of footy pre-season, right? Fans are full of hope that this season, it will all be different. Gervinho really will be the cut-rate Henry that everyone thought Chamakh was going to be. Yup. You betcha.

And Fabregas doesn’t get off easily here:

–He’s stupid because it’s only his future. If he wants to help resolve it, he’s stupid for sitting on the fence. So as it is, two clubs are haggling for the rights to pay him millions of dollars for his services, each one thinking it’s negotiating from a position of strength, because it knows what the player wants. Maybe Fabregas doesn’t really care, and would be fine with either club.

–He’s stupid because he’s taking fans and their love for granted. Yes, some fans will embrace him and the lack of a deal because they will delude themselves into thinking that he will stay because deep down, he loves Arsenal. Whatever. Were I an Arsenal fan, I would boo him until I fainted. Upon revival, I would continue to boo him.

–Is he injured or not injured? Travel with your damned teammates. Or are physios afraid to fly? If you’re injured, tell me that a football club worth hundreds of millions of dollars doesn’t have the wherewithal to continue your treatment at any location on the planet. Go ahead, so I can call you a liar.

–He’s stupid because he has a contract. That he signed. A long-term contract that gives his scads of money and security. It’s a contract that I believe he should honor. In the last year of it, all bets are off. But right now, he is under contract to Arsenal for at least two more seasons. Even if he honors the contract to its full term, he still leaves Arsenal while in his prime as a player.

All of this is why everything, everyone is stupid. What would I do to make this less stupid? I would remove the antagonists from the affair, and have a neutral party ajudicate the matter, as with mediation in a labor dispute. When both sides are too riven to continue negotiating in good faith, it’s time for a third party, who might say “This is what I would do to resolve this,” or “You people are just too stupid to be helped.”

And that’s what I (don’t) know. What do you know?

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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.


  1. nzm
    August 5, 2011

    As one of our Catalan friends said, as he generalised on the whole affair, “Catalans have never been good at bargaining. Look at our history. Saving face and honour, while simultaneuosly trying to save money, runs in our genes, and very rarely have we ever managed to be successful when operating under those conditions.”

  2. August 5, 2011

    ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FOUR readers online? JFC. Thank god for registration is all I’m saying.

  3. August 5, 2011

    Anyway on the actual substance of the issue, I actually don’t mind this negotiating style. I’m not a Rosell fan obviously, but this tactic of waiting and waiting and squeezing and squeezing does have its benefits, just look at the Sanchez transfer which was a great piece of business, given the price and his potential.

    The point is that we can afford to wait and they can’t. Maybe they get fed up and say “we won’t deal him for any price now” but I doubt it. They don’t want an uninterested Fabregas playing for them.

    Put it this way: it’s a game of chicken so we could both end up getting hurt but our car is bigger so it’s more likely they swerve first.

    • August 5, 2011

      Yes, this is actually one of the things that Rosell does well. Laporta would have already caved and paid the 60m that Arsenal asked for when the transfer window open because he was impulsive like that. In this case, Rosell knows that Barça is in a position of strength because the player only wants Barça and Barça doesn’t “need” the player. Letting this drag on and on is frustrating for culés, but far more frustrating for Arsenal who is trying to organize their season and must wait for this saga to end before they buy new players.

  4. Justin
    August 5, 2011

    wow, great writeup/ thanks for the mention.

    I think my biggest problem here is exactly what you spelled out, cesc is a t a position where really we don’t have holes couldn’t we wait a year and use our time now to add another striker?

    Seriously, what happens if anyone on the frontline goes down for 2 months

  5. John B.
    August 5, 2011

    Arsenal are stupid for holding out? Ridiculous. Fabregas was the most creative player in Europe last season, he is their best player by far, and unless they signed Xavi, there’s simply no replacement. Nobody can do what Fabregas does for Arsenal. Nasri had 1 assist last season. Wilshere and Ramsey aren’t even close to his quality yet, and may never be.

    Yet you claim that it’s about love for Arsenal? About winning some sort of pissing contest? How naive. The only reason Fabregas is being GENEROUSLY priced by Arsenal at 40m is because there is only one buyer. If the club decided to seek offers from Man City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, etc., you’d see Cesc’s true valuation in this already crazy market.

    I notice also you fail to mention Barca’s incredible stupidity from their fans, manager, players, former players, owner, president, you name it, anybody associated with the club, in constantly moaning to the media about the player, about his DNA, about how Arsenal are kidnapping him, about how Arsenal should give up, about how shameful it is that Cesc has to suffer at Arsenal, about Barca being business class, and moreover, in unsettling the player, asking him to help pay for his transfer, saying publicly he’s your second choice, that he’s gone down in value because of wear and tear (is Messi worth less every year, then?), etc.

    There’s a reason this saga rumbles on, and that reason is everybody at Barca feeding the press with their sniveling remarks about Cesc.

    Barca have insulted Arsenal at every turn, while also flouted any decorum about how football clubs should behave with regard to players under contract at other clubs.

    Barca, more than a club? That’s right, more putrid than any other club.

    • August 5, 2011

      Oh man, I see what you did there. You took Barca’s motto, see, and then you added an insult, and now it’s all funny and stuff. Haha. Great stuff man.

    • John B.
      August 5, 2011

      Oh, haha! I see what YOU did there. You responded to the last sentence, but conveniently forgot (like the OP) to tackle the mountain of evidence pointing to the miserable way your club has behaved with respect to Fabregas. Shrewd, sir. Very shrewd.

    • August 5, 2011

      No one is ignoring anything. It’s just that Arsenal fans’ complaints are so tired, so old, so based on false reports and a false sense of victimhood, that very few people have the patience to deal with it anymore, point by point.

    • John B.
      August 5, 2011

      These complaints appear “tired” to you because they provide an inconvenient truth about your club and its behaviour. What false reports would these be? Shall we troll through the internet archives of “Barca folks opening their stinking gobs about Fabregas”?

      You lot keep disrespecting Arsenal, the player, and making public remarks about Arsenal “kidnapping” Cesc, etc., then you should expect Arsenal fans to keep calling you out on it.

      The only “tired” aspect of this is that Barca just keep moaning and moaning, and then idiots like you say it’s “tired” when we respond to it?


    • Justin
      August 5, 2011

      John most of the stories in english press have been made up, yes barcelona players say things but its also becasue and this is important, EVERY INTERVIEW WITH A BARCELONA PLAYER INVOLVES NUMEROUS QUESTIONS ABOUT CESC, thus the constant mentions.

      Personally I believe that arsenal really should get rid of him because this situation also makes them look bad and means that they cannot move on. Do you honestly think you have a team capable of winning the EPL this year? Because that is what arsenal should be aiming for as they are a top class club.

    • Flippy
      August 5, 2011

      What I think Kxevin points out about Arsenal keeping Fabregas, is that they are keeping a player who wants to leave. The consequences of doing so would probably result in poorer player performance and a poorer mentality, which also spreads to the rest of the team. For this reason only, Arsenal is making a bad decision. However, Fabregas is a top notch player and is certainly worth in this market the 40 million Arsenal ask for him. Nonetheless, Barça only value Fabregas somewhere within 20-30 million + variables because he used to be one of them.

      So the situation pans out like this:
      Arsenal: 40 million for Fabregas or leave (risking the consequences of keeping Fabregas)
      Barça: 20-30 million + variables (banking on Arsenal giving in)
      Hence, a pissing contest. This is why this transfer saga has been so prolonged.

    • John B.
      August 5, 2011

      The player is under contract at Arsenal, who say his price is 40m, a generous under-valuation in recognition of the player’s desires and the fact there’s only one buyer.

      As Barca don’t have enough money, they have resorted to public displays of shameful pining in order to unsettle the player and his club, a fire-sale of existing fringe players, and weasel talk about Cesc’s wear and tear, kidnapping, asking him to help fund his own transfer, and his being second priority (as if Arsenal should lower the price because of this).

      I.e., pay up or shut up. Stop acting like children.

    • Roz
      August 5, 2011

      The funny thing is that Cesc would gladlyhelp fund his transfer to Barca if needed. Shouldnt Arsenal take that into consideration when dealing with this mess?

    • Flippy
      August 5, 2011

      John, if you can come with reliable publications that contain direct quotes from people “related to Barça” (your definition) that you so abhor. Almost all that I have heard of made by the British press (i.e the Sun, Daily Mirror, etc…) and are misquoted, completely made up, or only after the interviewee had been asked about Fabregas. If you can come here with that, then we can talk. Not everything in the media is fact.

    • Roz
      August 5, 2011

      John I am assuming you are British or at least read alot of British papers, which are a load of crap. See half of the football news are in there are absolute rubbish. And the comments that are from Barca players are distored or not accurate.This while ignoring comments from Premier league players talking about others(Wilshire on Mata, players from Chelsea on Modric, Man u on Snejder) which does classify as tapping up.So please dont come here and spout that nonsense about Barca players being classless and other BS.

    • John B.
      August 5, 2011

      It’s fair to say that all clubs have at one time or another spoken about other players.

      It’s also fair to say that nothing has ever quite matched Barca’s behaviour the last two years. The extent of it, the kinds of words being exchanged (are you seriously telling me that Chelsea’s interest Modric at all compares to Barca calling Arsenal “kidnappers” and second class? That any club in England has ever resorted to PUBLICLY saying a player is worth less this year because of wear and tear, then saying he’s not their priority, then saying the player should help fund his own transfer?). Justifications about distorted words are nice. Are you saying the word “kidnapping” was never used? That Alves never said Arsenal were economy class?


    • Roz
      August 5, 2011

      That Alves quote was reported in the British media but I can not find it anywhere else. If you could give me the source on that I would greatly appriciate it. And when did Barca say he should pay with his own money? See the thing with the British media is that they paint Barca in the worst possible light. Dont tell me that the British media(or any media) doesnt distort general quotes. Its the way they attract readers and make a profit.

      Im not saying that Barca are innocent in all this nonsene but as the article points out everyone is at fault here.

    • Jnice
      August 5, 2011

      Enough already.

      Who besides the mayor if where Cesc was born said anything about kidnapping? Not one Barcelona player or executive has said that. Get real.

      Alves never said economy class. I have the full interview if you would like to hear it. He never even mentioned Arsenal. Get real.

      No one has ever openly said “Fabregas is our second priority” or that the player should fun his own transfer. They may have said that behind the scenes, but they have never come out and said that in public. Get real.

      Honestly, stop your whining and dry your eyes. You look ridiculous. Either get your facts straight or don’t comment. It’s that simple.

    • August 5, 2011

      Jnice FTW!

    • Sheena
      August 6, 2011


    • Nav
      August 5, 2011

      Haha gunners.

  6. Ryan
    August 5, 2011

    Hoo boy, you gone and put that kid’s name on the title! Head for the hills!

  7. mom4
    August 5, 2011

    Cue the trolls…Oh, wait…

    Lose -lose situation for everyone the longer this goes on.

  8. Miguel
    August 5, 2011

    It sweeps already? I guess BFB was due for a Fabregas article.

    • Miguel
      August 5, 2011

      and I need a pair of Jordans.

  9. August 5, 2011

    Note that I say in a non-partisan way that EVERYBODY is stupid. I suppose one can read past the universality of that notion and raise an argument, but this has been poorly handled by all parties involved.

    As for statements by Barca players in direct response to questions, all players do it. Look at Jack Wilshere’s very recent comments about Mata.

    This is, from top to bottom, a comical situation. This isn’t about history, or past comments fabricated or not (many were). It is about the current state of things. And in my view, that state is stupid.

  10. Vj
    August 5, 2011

    I suppose the argument works both ways. Report us to the authorities or shut up. Quit whining about every false interview in the BritPress.

    Quit whining about every quote that amounts to ‘tapping up’ when your players and manager do the same thing week in week out.

    Quit trying to take the moral superiority when you poach youngsters because of a legal loophole AND get called out. (see Fran Merida/ Gael Kakuta)

    Quit labeling others classless time and again without rhyme or reason and more importantly, without proof.

    Register a complaint via the proper channels with sufficient legal backing or DEAL WITH IT. We aren’t (shouldn’t) going to match your inflated valuation for an oft-crocked-gloryhunter unwilling to commit to either side and who has only 1 interested party. Us. Deal with it..

    • Vj
      August 5, 2011

      And yes. This makes me stupid too.

      *Reaches for hidden stash of Hector Pills*

  11. August 5, 2011

    Are you saying the word “kidnapping” was never used?

    No, actually that term wasn’t by anyone from Barca. No one from club said this – you just perceive (incorrectly) that this is the case. The person who did say this was the mayor of the town Cesc is from in Spain. I’d guess Cesc’s family has close connections to the mayor given how small the town is. I wonder who influenced the mayor to say such a thing?

    That Alves never said Arsenal were economy class?

    Actually – Alves never said such a thing. So wrong again. It’s amazing that Arsenal fans continue to believe these complete fabricated interviews. Alves never said that – he publicly denied ever even giving this interview. And the paper where it was published never disputed his denial.

    This whole transfer issue is dumb beyond belief. But it’s just amazing how PL supporter get on this moral high horse based on false reports in the ludicrous British phone hacking press.

    are you seriously telling me that Chelsea’s interest Modric at all compares to Barca

    From the Captain of Chelsea on Luka Modric:

    Terry said on Sky Sports News: “He’s a world-class player who is very difficult to play against. He’s very agile, very quick and a great finisher like we’ve seen over many years.

    “I know there are problems. It’s probably a little bit disrespectful towards Spurs… [to talk about the situation].

    “He has his own problems at the moment. We’ve got a good squad of players. If he comes he could certainly add to that.”

    If a Barca player says anything like this it’s front page news in the British press. It’s good reason to climb on that moral high horse with editorials and outrage. But when a proper englishman from a “big” english team says it about a smaller team, well that’s perfectly fine. That’s just the industry. Because after all just playing in the “premier” league gives one dominion over all the football world.

    You can be endlessly disrespected but your own actions are always excusable.

    For instance, Jack Wilshere on Mata a player clearly under contract to Valencia:

    “He is a top quality player, we’ve seen that in the Under-21’s and in the Spanish league last season. I think the way Arsenal play would suit his game,” Wilshere said after the Emirates Cup game against Boca Juniors.

    The hypocrisy is amazing. Nothing at all is made of Wilshere comments. No problem. Just business as usual when an Arsenal player says it.

    And the notion that if a buying team does not instantly just agree to whatever price the selling team is setting being tantamount to “disrespect” is ludicrous. That’s not how business is done.

    Barca will stop “disrespecting” Arsenal and will “pay up” when Arsenal stop disrespecting Everton and pay up on the price that Everton is demanding for Jagielka on the first bid.

    Or does it not count when Arsenal uses the same negotiating strategy with a another club? Because Wenger is well known for just paying whatever price the selling team is demanding right away. He never, ever tries to negotiate down a price because he’s worried he may hurt the other team’s feelings. He would never disrespect anyone that way.

    No more negotiations in football transfers! Fixed prices for everyone!!!!

    This whole issue is dumb beyond belief. But it’s Fabregas who is responsible. He signed a contract and now he expects everyone else to bend over backwards and suffer costs to make him happy. He accepted the captain’s armband at Arsenal and is making little of it now. It’s him.

    It’s ridiculous. But this fiasco is his doing.

    Barca does not need this player right now. And Rosell is negotiating accordingly.

    Fabregas has put Arsenal in an awful position. And for some reason it’s Barca that is being made out to be at fault for not simply “paying up.” Nonsense.

    If anyone is disrespecting Arsenal its Fabregas.



    • Roz
      August 5, 2011

      This. Copy this comment people im sure we are going to need it for later.

  12. Judas Pissed
    August 5, 2011

    John B – Barca don’t really want Cesc. Otherwise they would pay €40million & throw another €5million made from those chips they sell at the Botiga at Arsenal. He’s told all his mates he wants to come & play with them – that Arsenal are shite & he’s fed up there – & we are trying to do you a favour by giving you some money to replace him while you still can. We can wait until Xavi is 34 & wants to spend January to May chilling in Ibiza every year, & then we’ll sign Cesc for free. When he’s 28. And Arsenal have still won nothing…

  13. cantbelievebarcabbbbb
    August 5, 2011

    When did wilshere ever put an arsenal shirt on mata? Barcelona who cheated their way to the Champions league against Arsenal – extraordinary that they received that they received no yellow cards for throttling arsenal players- whilst arsenal recieved 5 yellows and 1 red – have shown themselves to be less than a club, less than professional and disrepsectful both to Arsenal and to Cesc Fabregas. They are punishing Arseal for taking Cesc and punishing Cesc for leaving otherwise they would pay the extremely reasonable price that arsenal are demanding. If you can’t afford the goods go somewhere else and stop touching what you can’t afford.

    And learn some manners.

    • Ryan
      August 5, 2011

      I’m sure Barcelona are also at fault for Arsenal failing to have a single shot on target at the Camp Nou? Can you blame your 6% price increase on us too? How about Ricardo Clark’s recent call-up to the USA NT, I hate that, blame it on the blaugrana!

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 5, 2011

      the “failure to have asingle shot on target conveniently ignores the fact that Arsebl scored a goal sand until Van Persie was sent off for an offence committed by two Barcelone players that evening. The constant violent attacks on Nasri whcih didn’t receive any punishment I blame on the blaugrana and their overclose relationship with UEFA. Something smells in Barcelona and it isn’t just the fish in Barceloneta.

    • Ryan
      August 5, 2011

      Fine, you guys failed to have a single shot on target and Busi scored an own goal. It really does no help to comment on referee decisions, since they tend to even out over time. Your complaints can be countered by Messi’s legitimate yet annulled goal during the first leg, for example.

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 5, 2011

      In normal football they even out over time- but not in the Nou Camp

      No yellow cards for repeated violent tackles, hands around a players neck (should be a straight red)

      You were pressurised into scoring an own goal and were losing on aggregate until van Persie was sent of for the most ridiculous yellow card I have ever seen. Convenient refereeing. A shabby performance from a spoilt and over indulged club who think they are entitled to special treatment – and that is exactly how you are behaving with Cesc Fabregas, You don’t want him for your team – you just don’t want Arsenal to have him- you try to humiliate him- you end up shaming yourselves.

  14. cantbelievebarcabbbbb
    August 5, 2011

    And is it not true that Rosell is texting Fabregas? is it not true that even when given the Arsenal facilities to train Barcelona players upload photos of themselves clowing around with pictures of Cesc from the Arsenal dressing room.

    IThis is avery good blog, by the way and I’m disappointed that the interventions of Barca fans disrespecting Arsenal have caused me to respond in kind.

    • August 5, 2011

      Thanks for the BFB compliment. If you follow me on Twitter, I called out RoSELL for that SMS to Fabregas. I forget if the words I used were “stupid” or “dimwitted.” Either one fits.

      For me, this isn’t a “who did what.” Everybody did. And that’s why it’s stupid.

      Complicating the matter is that Fabregas and the Spanish NT players are all friends. So yes, there will be some pranks. Unfortunately, in such a charged atmosphere, those pranks can be interpreted as something other than a bit of fun, ’tis true.

      Should the players have not done them, given the situation? Good question. A more valid question is when are we going to stop expecting players to act like grownups, right?

      I think this thing can be discussed without name-calling and rancor, but I’m silly that way. For me, this isn’t about the past. It’s about the right now. And the right now is just plain stupid. As with the fans facing off about slights real, imagined and fabricated, the club jefes are facing off in the same way. So it isn’t a negotiation, it’s, as someone noted earlier, a game of Chicken that neither side wants to lose.

      And games of Chicken are always stupid because usually, everyone loses.

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 5, 2011

      But Kxevin don’t you think that this has something about calling Cesc back to his Catalonian home but also punishing for leaving and punishing Arsenal for taking him. Arsenal fans could respect Cesc and let him go but they have to watch their club go through this humiliating farce- lose their best player to a rival who doesn’t really want him.

      Arsenal’s valuation is reasonable for a man who has three more years on his contract- (whcih incidentally Cesc didn’t need to sign). In the British Market anyway up to 50 million is not unreasonable- and there’a big Cesc going home discount in there.

      Of course if Cesc asked for a transfer then he would forego 5 million but at least there would be honesty in that .

    • Justin
      August 5, 2011

      That’s the problem here, its CESC. He needs to come out and say one way or the other.

      Both teams are acting stupidly, agreed,

      Barcelona should drop it and return when the price is where we value him

      Arsenal should sell him and use the funds to improve the team (is there really any chance you guys finish above 4th this year, no offense meant but chelsea, man u and city all improved, as did liverpool)

    • August 5, 2011

      I don’t, actually. I think that Fabregas is (rightly or wrongly) thinking that he isn’t going to be winning trophies at Arsenal. A player’s life is short, and they want as much as they can get.

      People shouldn’t forget that Fabregas left of his own volition, and signed the long renewal of his own volition. I think that sometimes, particularly the dim-witted Spanish media, forget this.

      I think that has Wenger, as soon as the window opened, gone out and bought a quality CB and winger to replace Clichy and a real forward, this wouldn’t be going on. Fabregas would have said “I’m Arsenal, and want to help this club win trophies.” But when Wenger didn’t, I think that was that.

      And that’s just my speculation. Nothing official about it.

  15. cantbelievebarcabbbbb
    August 5, 2011

    If you don’t need him tell him . Stop cock teasing Cesc. Tell him the truth. Don’t lure him with pretence and Catalan nationalism.

  16. Judas Pissed
    August 5, 2011

    Keep him! Arsenal scouts are already checking out our 13 years olds to replace Cesc in 3 years time when we sign him for free. You let us do all the work in unearthing nuggets of football genius from around the world & then steal them thanks to a loophole in UK employment law – just stop bibbing when they reach their early twenties & realise what a massive mistake they made joining Arsenal in the first place…

  17. jaymin
    August 5, 2011

    I agree with Kevin. We’re good about money, we’ll keep him unless his valuation is met. He’s irreplaceable no? Past five years, more assists than anyone in europe, playing with Nikky B for long spells? Once Barcelona decide to pay up, he’s FCB. Until then, he’s a gunner. His pride and professionalism carried him through last season. I just hope his hamstrings carry him through this one, should he stay. Because your conflicted spanish brazillian looks to be, well, the business.

  18. afc4ever
    August 5, 2011

    This is Barca’s problem. They can have cesc when they offer a respectable price (like they did for sanchez, villa, ibra etc)

    • Ryan
      August 5, 2011

      Hold on a minute, Ibra’s price was respectable?

  19. August 5, 2011

    Maybe instead of trying to paint your club as the most innocent, one could see that everyone has a bit of the blame here? (Which the article is trying to say). No need to shift it places.

    Barca, IMO, shouldn’t even be pursing Fabregas in the first place — they don’t need him. Their blame lies there. Haggling for a lower price? Clubs do that. “Pay up or shut up” is absurd. Why should they? If we won’t meet the price, then Arsenal won’t sell, and you want to keep your captain right? So what’s the problem?

    The problem is Fabregas wants to go. And he doesn’t just want to go, he wants to go to Barca. How exactly is that their’s fault?

    Whose fault is it that he signed a long term contract despite knowing that it would cost the club he loves so much money? Whose fault is it that that aforementioned love for his former club restricts Arsenal from a bidding war? Whose fault is it that because they can’t start a bidding war, his value/transfer price drops every season he stays? Because only one club is in the running to sign him, and that club therefore dictates the selling price? Not Arsenal’s or Barca’s; it’s his. Fabregas’s

    If people want someone to pin the blame on, blame it on him. It’s unbelievable that people are letting him go scott free in this whole drama.

    Barcelona can wait, can afford to wait, because they don’t need him. So why is this saga ongoing? Because Fabregas wants to leave. He does not want to stay. He wants to go and go to Barca. Whatever wording makes people understand.

    Arsenal here have two choices: tell their captain to stay put and have an unhappy player, or lower the asking price.

    That lowering of the price has nothing to do with Barca, and everything to do with Fabregas’ unwillingness to stay.

    They’re being treated shoddily here, Arsenal, but not by Barca. It’s Fabregas. And I don’t know how many times this needs to be repeated before people get it.

    Another thing that people should note:

    The Spanish press, Mundo Deportivo and Sport, and the Catalan media in general, are absolutely obsessed with Fabregas. Utterly, terribly, and freakishly obsessed.

    And this drags on and on and on. To the chagrin of both cules and Gooners alike.

  20. Judas Pissed
    August 5, 2011

    Yeah – we ‘unearthed’ Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta, Pedro, Fabregas, Reina, Busquets, Valdes, Thiago, Messi, Bojan & Jeffren in the last decade. I hope they do as well as Jermaine Pennant, David Bentley, Steven Sidwell and Justin Hoyte. Oh hang on…

    • jaymin
      August 5, 2011

      you used the word first man, no need for quotation marks on that one!

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 5, 2011

      How many of those joined you when they were older than cesc playing his first game for arsenal? At least 3 and you’ve got some players to addto yourfailure list just as arsenals list should include wilshere and szceszney and Walcott and Ramsey (since you include the players you’ve signed at 17.

      Arsenal have never paid more than 13 million for a player -no50 m + ibra to name just one

    • outerspacedout
      August 6, 2011

      Youth players are players you develop. Taking a good young player and giving them playing time isn’t developing a player- Wilshere got playing time in Bolton but you say Arsenal developed him, not Bolton.

      Xavi, Puyol, Reina, Valdes, Messi, Pedro, Busquets, Arteta, Fabregas, Thiago, Iniesta, Pique- those guys all got their footballing education or at least a good part of it in Barca youth teams. They played at least three or four years with Barca youth teams. Iniesta, Puyol, Pique, Messi, Xavi, Valdes and the other Masia products had been there since they were 11 or 12. Pedro played and trained with for three or four years in Barca youth teams before making the first team squad.

      Wilshere, Gibbs, etc were players Arsenal developed, who played in Arsenal youth teams and learnt much of their skills in Arsenal schools and academies. But much of the players that Arsenal claim as their youth are young players who have been developed in other club’s academies and who then get playing time with the first team.

      Fabregas, Song, Ramsey, van Persie, Walcott etc. Bought from small clubs in Ligue 1 or Europe second divisions or Southampton or Ajax academy or La Masia, given spots in the squad and some time in the starting XI. Players who have already gotten the development needed to be at starting squad level, who are just getting the playing time.

      That’s not creating a player, that’s giving a good player top-level playing time. Song was a first-teamer in his French club side when Arsenal bought him as a teenager, for example. The players get an opportunity to improve by getting good playing time at a top-level Champions League club with great facilities, but those aren’t players you can claim as your youth any more than Chelsea can claim Kakuta, Liverpool can claim Lucas Leiva, Barcelona can claim Yaya Toure, Spurs can claim Modric or Bale, or United can claim Rooney, as a youth product. If we’d signed Jose Angel from Gijon (Roma ended up getting him), he’s broken into their first team and would be at that stage in his development, so even if he’s just 18 he’d always be a Gijon product that further developed at a bigger club. Sure, all those players were bought when they were not at their current level, and some when they were relative unknowns, and they got top-level opportunities they wouldn’t have at a smaller club (or at the youth teams of a bigger club) but that’s not creating a player. And other clubs don’t claim those as youth players just cos you hadn’t heard their names before they signed up to Arsenal.

      I’m not condemning that, or disregarding the fact that Arsenal’s approach does allow young players to reach high levels. Arsenal give chances for quality young players they get from other clubs even, to get top-level game time and trust and quality training and good facilities. But that’s not players you make, or your youth academy- that’s a great scouting network and trust in young players. Many Arsenal fans claim all these guys they sign at 18 or 19 from smaller clubs for the Arsenal first team squad as their youth products. That’s the difference. Arsenal helped the likes of Fabregas and Song grow as players by trusting them and giving them top-level time they wouldn’t have elsewhere, definitely, but the players they created are Wilshere, Bentley, Cole, Gibbs etc. The academy has been picking up lately though, hope Wilshere and Gibbs are the first of many.

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 6, 2011

      Pedro joined FC Barcelona’s youth system at the age of 17, having arrived from local side CD San Isidro.[2]

      Busquets was with Lleida until 2003 and from 2003–2005 was with Unió Jabac

      Both arrived at Barcelona at the age of 17 older than Cesc or Walcott

    • outerspacedout
      August 6, 2011

      Both played four or more years in the youth teams- they developed in Barcelona youth teams and academies. Pedro from joining at 17 until becoming a first-teamer at around 22, similar length of time for Busquets, both spending more than two seasons with Barca youth teams through those divisions.

      Walcott and Fabregas were at a further stage in their careers when Arsenal got them and were part of the Arsenal squad- the starting squad, not reserves, not spending any time in the academy- from the off.

      Did you read my post at all? That’s what I was explaining all along as being the difference. At least bother to read before responding.

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 6, 2011

      I understand what you are saying very well. If Barcelona take players from other teams at 17 Barcelona are responsible for their development and claim special rights over those players.

      Whilst conversely if players leave Barcelona at 16 Barcelona are still responsible for their development and claim special rights over those players.

    • nzm
      August 6, 2011

      cantbelievebarcabbbbb said:
      “Whilst conversely if players leave Barcelona at 16
      “Barcelona are still responsible for their development and claim special rights over those players.”

      If Cesc hadn’t shown immense talent at 16 while at La Masia, would Arsenal have taken him? Just saying.

      Fabregas pretty much went straight into the first team, due to injuries to other players. Apparently, he was already at a high enough standard to play at premier level.

      As outerspacedout commented, none of the Barca players you mention (Busquets, Pedro et al) went straight into the 1st team as soon as they were bought. They were recruited for their future potential. All of them did time in the Barca B team, being “developed” into possible 1st team players.

      So yes, on all counts Barca can claim development rights for these players, including Fabregas.

    • nzm
      August 6, 2011

      not that it matters any! 🙂

    • Brosep
      August 7, 2011

      You just responded to an excellent post. Outerspacedout put forward an honest and reasonable rebuttal to your claim (Barcelona is not any more responsible for its “products” than Arsenal or another team) and he supported his rebuttal with evidence.

      There are thousands of footballing communities that would eagerly welcome an enlightened mind such as yours. We, however, are interested in talking with you, while you only seem interested in talking. Respectfully, if you won’t heed arguments, then don’t pretend to respond to them.

  21. yonono
    August 5, 2011

    I’m with Kari on this, if Cesc wants to come home so badly why hasn’t he submitted his transfer request?

    On the van Persie red card business…the referee gave a card that was within the rules of the game, and further, why would a talented left-footer with boatloads of time and only Valdes to beat fire a right-footed shot into the advertising boards behind the Barcelona goal? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE5ai59cds0)

    As for Barcelona’s Fabregas ‘need,’ Conor Williams (who sometimes contributes to Run of Play) wrote a pretty interesting piece on Catalanisme and (for better or worse) the ideology that runs deep through FCB supporters: http://conorpwilliams.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/cesc-fabregas-fc-barcelona-catalanisme-and-the-beautiful-game/

    Lastly, has Thiago (in his #4 shirt) not shown us how electric he becomes with confidence and regular play?! Where are our CB’s?!

  22. PhepheSa
    August 5, 2011

    My theory is that Fabregas wants to play for Spain so badly and he knows that he needs to be in that Barca midfield to have a chance of starting for La Roja. With the Euro coming next year i feel it’s the main reason driving his desire to leave.

    When he renewed his contract, he didn’t know that the Barca midfield would have such a huge influence in the national team and his position within the national team was atleast secured. Now we have Iniesta, Xavi, Busi and VdB would be a idiot to not play these three everytime because of their understanding.

    I really don’t think he really wants Barca per se, sure he loves the team, but he just desperately wants to play for Spain and the only way to get in that midfield is to prove that he can play with Xaviniesta at the same time and that he can only do when at Barca. Now there’s Thiago which complicates things even more for him.

    Well atleast that’s what I think cos the contract renewal doesn’t make sense to me.

  23. August 5, 2011

    Updates from the Twitterverse:

    Peter Hill-Wood (president Arsenal): “Barcelona’s offer was nowhere near what we are looking for.” [daily star]

    “We have told them what we want and we are sticking to it. We do not think we are being at all unreasonable.”

    “Barcelona are offering extra payments which are dependent on all sorts of fantastical things but we are not interested in that.”

  24. Diego
    August 5, 2011

    Barcelona are allowed to offer a chocolate bar for Cesc and a yearly wage of one piece of gum.

    Arsenal has every right to refuse that offer.


  25. Diego
    August 5, 2011

    By the by if anyone’s wants to know.

    If Messi said He’s unhappy and wants to leave, I’d say “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out”, I want my club to have players who love the club and want to defend its colours.

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 5, 2011

      Can we have him for 20 million euros?

    • Diego
      August 5, 2011

      You can offer 20m, FC Barcelona can accept the offer or refuse it.

    • Nav
      August 5, 2011

      Sure. See clause about Messi wanting to leave.

  26. August 5, 2011

    @ Kari: while part of the problem is cesc, there is more to the story. First of all, barca want cesc. Yes, you lads believe he is not needed, and I agree. But it’s evident that the manager sees him as an important part of the squad. Otherwise, barca would not be making offers for him. Adebayor desperately wants to join the club, but real Madrid are not in negotiations with man city. Why? Because it takes two to tango. The only reason this saga is happening is because both parties, barca and cesc, want each other.

    I also think it’s unrealistic for cesc to hand in a transfer request. He is the captain of the squad, and handing in a transfer request is a slap in the face of all the fans. It’s clear he told arsenal that if the right offer comes, I want to go to barca. Otherwise, arsenal would not be in negotiations to sell their captain.

    The fault that cesc is doing is that he is not getting the hint. He sees that his reputation is being tarnished along with the reputation of the two teams he loves. He needs to let it go for this year. Or just let it go all together.

    About the valuation of the cesc. I don’t believe arsenal are being unrealistic with his price tag. Once again, if you get the news that Xavi is out for the season, then how valuable will cesc become? Cesc’s market value, for a club that wants/needs him is over 40 million. The issue of barca needing him is beyond the valuation at the point. If you don’t need him, then don’t buy him at all. In the world right now, I can’t think of a player that is as good as him in the central midfield position (aside from Xavi). Considering the sum of money that was spent on Sanchez, a player with half a good season, then cesc is worth much more. And had cesc been interested in joining other clubs, then that price would add up even more.

    The issue of him signing a new contract is a huge negative towards how he operates as a professional. Did he not expect to leave arsenal? is he just in love with barca’s success? All these come to mind. Again, huge nagative on his part.

    I did not like the attitude that arsenal have taken during this whole issue. The under dog/third division club kinda mentality. They are a top club for goodness sake. Act as one. And I think sticking to their valuation is their attempt at it. Little too late maybe? None the less, they have every right to. Especially since their valuation is not that much unreasonable. On the contrary actually, it’s really gOod. You can’t expect the market to move according to the valuation that you put.

    Finally, I applaud Kevin on a great read. Anyone trying to put the blame on one side is looking at this in customized glasses. And what Kevin put here is a perfect summation of the situation.

    Ps: for the arsenal fans complaining about what players say in the media: let’s not be hypocritical. Every team has mentioned players before. And there is nothing wrong with it. A questions is given and it should be answered. Simple as that. The only comment I would be pissed about is the wear and tear comment and the alleged (confirmed?) texts.

    • August 5, 2011

      Re: Barca wanting Cesc.

      Yes, you’re right in that it takes two to tango. I’m not saying that Barca doesn’t want him — as I’ve noted, the blame that goes to Barca is their pursuit of Fabregas; Pep, in particular, as you’ve noted, wants Cesc quite badly.

      However, it’s not Pep that’s running the negotiations — it’s RoSELL and his team, and the key word here is want. They want to have him, but they don’t need him; hence the low (by Arsenal’s standards) offer. At this point, he’s a vanity signing — and the pursuit of Fabregas is mostly to appease Pep, IMO. Sure, they’d love to get him for the price they’re offering, and everyone here knows RoSELL would love to one-up Laporta, but they can afford to wait until next season. Why? Because they can’t splash out money for Fabregas as it doesn’t align with their “we’re broke, Laporta screwed us all” narrative they’ve spent the last two years constructing. On top of all of that, we have Thiago.

      Fabregas, at this point, is the one who’s desperate. He’s the one in the putada, or sh*t situation, as he’s the one who wants to go. His hero is the coach, all his friends are all here, and most importantly, we’re winning a shiznit load of titles and plaudits.

    • Ryan
      August 5, 2011

      It probably doesn’t help Cesc’s desperation watching Thiago’s quick rise as a Barcelona and soon-to-be Furia Roja player.

    • August 5, 2011

      This is key, and it doesn’t get mentioned enough. Putting up with Arsenal’s terrible management of injuries is jeopardizing Cesc’s future with the Spanish national team. Seeing Thiago’s rise (among other Spanish midfielders) means that sticking with Arsenal means Cesc might be sacrificing his presumed inheritance of Xavi’s role.

      Breaking into the Barca midfield and leaving Arsenal’s injury problems behind him would solidify his place in the Spanish national team of the future.

  27. August 5, 2011

    Hilarious that after that troll’s idiotic arguments were torpedoed he disappears from the blog. Predictable, predictable.

    I’m just blown away by how EPL fans constantly lap up the drivel the English press dishes out to them without question. And I’m continually amazed at the hopeless bias and blatant hypocrisy of the English press. Even papers like the Guardian that I would ordinarily respect for global and UK news have little to no ethical or objective standards when it comes to their footballing pages. All footballing press has ethical issues, but none of it has the huge reach that English press does.

    Sure, the Catalan press has hyped Cesc to death and stirs up this issue, but you don’t see them making up interviews, and they don’t rip quotes out of context to make another club look bad outside of the Clasico.

    The sad thing is the real culprit here is Cesc. It’s Cesc who started this and it’s Cesc who could end it and save both the clubs and fans he claims to love this endless frustration.

    I’m so freaking sick of this transfer. I wish the club would see the light, and if we don’t get him this summer, which is looking to be the case, we wait till the end of his contract. Like Kevin said, this stupid transfer is distracting us from more pressing needs.

    • Diego
      August 5, 2011

      He is so AWESOME ! :'(

    • Ryan
      August 5, 2011

      Great interview, thanks for posting!

  28. August 5, 2011

    For the record, for those new to this dance, my views on Fabregas are that he left, signed a long-term contract with Arsenal and should honor it. He also made a committment to help that club win silver, and should do that.

    Would I have that view if the midfield of (let’s say that Xavi issue transpires) Iniesta/Thiago wasn’t a viable option? Um …. do I have to answer that one? 😀

    40m is a reasonable price. If we paid cash for Villa, we should pay cash for Fabregas, who is younger and still has many years in front of him. It’s why all of this nonsense is so vexing. Laporta would have worked to get it down to 40, then said “Do it.” RoSELL is a different beast. nzm’s observations up above are very good, and worth remembering. RoSELL is trying to drive a hard bargain, like any good businessman. Laporta was almost like a fan given the purse strings. Very different beast.

    But we have never before been able to accuse Laporta of not making the moves that would help the club. Were some of them a mess? Yep. But he did stuff. RoSELL seems to be paralyzed by every dollar, tnat guy who would indeed walk on a house deal because of a dishwasher or fridge. And I don’t like it.

    Guardiola knows what he wants, and apparently, he wants Fabregas. Now it’s up to his club president to get him. To me, it’s simple: Meet Arsenal’s valuation, or walk away. Hill-Wood’s comments are illustrative.

    Again, it’s easy for me to sit here and type all this because the club is paramount. I have no horses in this race, and could ultimately care less if any player comes or goes, except as it benefits the club. I reckon neutrality is easy when you don’t care. But what is vexing me is how this is all making the club look. So again, either do the deal at a price set by the seller, or walk.

    • Seven
      August 5, 2011

      I’ve been wondering, are all of these incentives and add ons just going to be removed from the future transfer budget? Or is this all going to magically go away with more of Rosell’s fancy accounting?

    • August 5, 2011

      Hill-Wood’s comments are illustrative.

      And reported only by the Daily Star (tabloid) and none of the big boys. #justsaying

      Like I said when replying to Bassam, splashing 40m doesn’t align with what they’ve been crying about. Seven’s comment below is another worth reading — there is a lot to this transfer and all of it should point to us not getting Fabregas, which I hope believe will happen.

      That said, Xavi has said to RAC1, via MD, that the Fabregas drama is in its final stage. Ominously similar to what Palomo was saying on ESPN. Both should be taken with boatloads of salt. Either way, this is done next week, and honestly, I can’t bear another summer of this nonsense, so I’d take one from the team, so to speak, and just buy him.

    • culegirl3
      August 5, 2011

      I say we walk away! We have Thiago..we don’t NEED him. If Cesc knew he wanted to make a comeback someday then he shouldn’t have extended his contract 20 million times over the time span of x amount of years. That’s his fault and now he’s “suffering”? Give me a break! Suck it up little boy and honor your damn contract.

      I’m just a bit perplexed as to how Pep can be so obsessed with Cesc knowing damn well he made his transfer near impossible by signing those contract extensions?!

      Cesc doesn’t have the balls to turn in a transfer request because he wants to save face in front of the gunners. At the end of this insane silly season, fingers won’t be pointed at him because not once did he make a public statement about wanting to leave nor did he hand in a transfer request. So the blame is solely on big bad Barcelona for wanting to steal their brave captain away from poor helpless Arsenal.

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 5, 2011

      That’s honest blogging and great analysis. I think if barca really needed fabregas they’d have no problem playing what he’s worth. It’s because he’s being bought for all the wrong reasons – power, nationalism, humiliation that he’s being bought in the wrong way.

    • nzm
      August 6, 2011

      Kxevin wrote:
      RoSELL is trying to drive a hard bargain, like any good businessman. Laporta was almost like a fan given the purse strings. Very different beast.

      But we have never before been able to accuse Laporta of not making the moves that would help the club. Were some of them a mess? Yep. But he did stuff. RoSELL seems to be paralyzed by every dollar, tnat guy who would indeed walk on a house deal because of a dishwasher or fridge. And I don’t like it.
      I’d analyse that a bit further and surmise that if he’s not careful, Rosell’s going to paint himself into a corner.

      On one hand, he’s playing the “we’re so broke that we don’t have money for colour copies” card, and on the other he has to satisfy a popular coach and appease a Soci fanbase that will see it as a huge failure if he doesn’t land Cesc, as per Pep’s wishes.

      If Pep doesn’t get what he wants, then come January when it’s time to talk about his contract, Pep will walk. He won’t want to, most likely, but being Catalan, he will go – just to prove a point! Pep is not going to be governed by this board and Rosell.

      If the Socis have to choose between Pep and Rosell, the latter is going to lose.

    • August 6, 2011

      That’s a good point, Michele (and Kxevin).

      I guess another reason for this Cesc obsession is that African Cup of Nations in January. Keita will be gone, no? So, yeah, I guess I can see why they want him.

    • nzm
      August 6, 2011

      Yeah Kari, I see a need for him as insurance for when things could go horribly wrong. He’s a stop-gap, and a pretty good one at that – provided he stays fit and healthy, and that’s the issue.

      The point is, when there is a small squad like the La Liga Barca squad, Pep is dependent on all the players being able to play. You also have to rely on players being cross-trained for more than one position on the field; hence the more recent purchases of Adriano, Afellay, Sanchez and Mascherano.

      I liken it to when I ran a large film processing labratory in New Zealand for a large American (film/photography) company starting with the letter K. 🙂

      When I started, we had a team of 43 people – the majority of whom were cross-trained to perform tasks other than their primary jobs for which they were employed. It meant that if there were absenteeisms, the lab could continue to function with minimal disruption.

      Over time, the number-crunchers at K’s Head Office decided that we could do with less staff, and people were let go. Over the 9 years that I was there, we went from 43 to 26 people. It put a huge strain on the staff (and me!) especially during periods when we had to cover for annual vacation times and in those times when people were sick. Don’t get me started on maternity leave, either!

      I can see similarities with the Barca squad, and we certainly experienced it during Puyol’s injury time in the latter half of the season. Thankfully, all other players remained fit, and the likes of Abi and Masche stepped up. It would have been immensely stressful had Puyol, Abi and Alves (all were injured or ill one after the other) been out at the same time – the team would have even more stretched. As it was, the team just managed to hang on through a frightful February and into March.

      Pep has voiced his preference to keep the squad small, and I’m sure that the bean counters at Barca wouldn’t argue with him, although their concern would be from a financial aspect.

      However, if multiple injuries hit the squad this season (and already there are concerns about how many matches the aging Puyol, Xavi – and Iniesta to a degree – are going to be able to play, as well as Villa’s fitness/stamina/offside! issues), it’s going to be a tough road. There are so many games to play this year, and this month is already up to 9 or 10 games.

      This season, it’s going to be super-critical that every game is won – no draws, no losses. Madrid’s motivation is even higher this year, and there’s no way in hell that Mourinho will let Barca humiliate him again without a big, dirty, ugly fight.

      I see a requirement for a healthy and fit player such as Fabregas, who is experienced and capable at playing in La Liga at a high level, and gives the team a few more positional options on the field.

      The B team players are not at that level, no matter how much Pep says that he can rely on them.

      Rosell only want Cesc to save face; thus the hard bargaining strategy. If he gets him for cheap, El Presidente comes out as a glory boy, has more money for colour copies, and can proclaim how wonderful it is that he saved the club so much money.

      I’m not sure if he realises the implications of Cesc not coming. If it peeves Pep, it could escalate into political disruption in the club ranks. But knowing Rosell, he’s probably already working on how to counter-act that issue in his own smarmy way.

  29. Seven
    August 5, 2011

    I’ve heard that part of the deal is the money Barca feels is fair market value for Bellerin and Toral. This 4-6mm is something they’d sue for anyway (see Merida’s case below) and the idea is to work it out as part of this deal instead. The problem, is that if Barca give in on this point they are in a weird way opening the door for more of Arsenal’s pouching and if Arsenal give in they are admitting fault. This just doesn’t seem as simplistic as people make it seem.


    Personally, I think that what’s best for the club is to prioritize protecting La Masia. If that means missing out on Cesc permanently then so be it.

    • August 5, 2011

      But there is no way, short of changing Spanish labor law, to prevent poaching of Masia candidates. And in reality, if the players that Arsenal grabbed had a shot at making the big dance, they wouldn’t have left. It’s why you don’t see the likes of Espinosa or Deulofeu being tempted. Because they’re in and golden.

      I think that the rancor over the poached young’uns is a negotiating tactic that we’re trying in an attempt to get the price down, and shame on RoSELL for doing so.

    • Jnice
      August 5, 2011

      We’ve ale dropped that stuff about Bellerin and Toral. That clearly wasn’t going to fly with Arsenal.

  30. messifan
    August 5, 2011

    This Cesc Saga is so tiresome. I agree with most of you; all parties involved are contributing to this debacle (Can’t wait for the end of August 🙂 Personally, I really don’t care if he joins barca or not. What I don’t understand is why Pep is so obsessed/determined to get him! I just hope the coach’s valuation of Cesc is correct because 40(+) million euros is a lot of money especially at a time when the Spanish economy and the eurozone in general are not doing so well. Clubs, even big ones like Barca, have to make better financial investments.

    Moving on, is anyone worried about our pre-season preparation? I’m a little nervous about the upcoming season based on what I’ve seen so far from the club. I know that we are missing a few key players, but from what I’ve read, I just feel that we are a bit too relaxed. We haven’t had a full first team training, and the last few games didn’t inspire me any confidence. Hopefully, I will be proven wrong and we’ll kick some butt this season. But, the upcoming friendlies are definitely not helping our cause. Ughhh, why do they schedule friendlies right before the start of the season!???

    p.s. This is my first time commenting on this blog! I’ve just discovered this site and it’s been amazing!!! Thanks for the insightful and sometimes funny reports/comments 🙂

    • Diego
      August 5, 2011

      Welcome messifan ! Don’t mind the atmosphere, We’re normally grumpy this time of the year. You’ll like us more during the season. 🙂

    • August 5, 2011

      What are you talking about, Diego?! We’re funny all the time! Read our posts better, foo’!

      Oh, uh, new poster. Whoops. *smooths hair* Welcome, messifan! Feel free to join in the madness whenever you want. (Not recommended) 😀

      Sergi Roberto and Bartra are very likely to be our new Thi4go (saw this, loved it, and am now using it. YESH.)/Fontas pair. If anything, you should be worried about the B-team. We’ll be killing them. 😀

    • Diego
      August 5, 2011

      Did you watch SCRE4M recently or what ?

  31. Diego
    August 5, 2011

    While we are at it, Why did Arsenal reject a 20m offer for a player on his last year of contract and will be leaving for free next Summer ?

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 6, 2011

      1) They probably will sell. 2)

      It would be a big blow to lose both the players around whom their midlfield was built

      3) No team is happy to sell to one of their greatest rivals- who incidentally have more money than God’s richer brother.

  32. August 5, 2011

    Oh, and for the record, I agree with Kxevin here re: General stupidity of it all. It’s sad. And depressing, if you add in the strong likelihood we won’t be getting a CB. Luckily, Bartra is kind of awesome and Gomez is… 18. Yeah. Let’s hope Puyol’s knee holds out, shall we?

  33. BarcaGirl_Indo
    August 5, 2011

    everyone is taking part of this stupidity. full stop.

    for Arsenal fans who think your club is innocent here, no, yours is not.

    as a seller, your club could stop this from being drag on and on and on.
    tell Barça from the first place :
    “we won’t sell him less than X millions. there is absolutely no room for negotiation here. pay that money and we’ll let him go.”

    oh, and tell that too to your ‘captain’.

    who suffers the most from this uncertain situation? It’s Arsenal.
    why you let Barcelona ‘unsettled’ your captain?
    like Bassam said, you’re a top club, so act like one!

    • cantbelievebarcabbbbb
      August 6, 2011

      So what should Arnale do confiscate Cesc’s monile phone so Rosell can’t text him. Prevent Barcelona players putting their club shirt over him? How do you deal with the drip drip drip about Cesc- Guardiola did it the other day? It’s not Adrsenal’s fault that another club doesn’t know how to behave? Arsenal have said they are preapred to sell the player at the right price. Barcelona are behaving like a bunch of cheapskates.

  34. Diego
    August 5, 2011

    I’d love to see our Sqaud facing the B-team.

  35. mom4
    August 5, 2011

    Do you remember those games, and there were many this year, when we said, “if they could just kill the game off”? Oh, ’round about Hlebruary and early March. And we would stumble through the second half of the game with a 1-0 lead with our starters getting more and more tired and our hearts having palpitations every time the ball made it(with fortunate infrequency because, hey, we’re Barca) into our third. We thought that if we could just get another goal we could rest key players and save our energy for the next big thing.

    Oh, how I wish we could just kill off this silly season. We’re stumbling through this silly season with nobody looking(from a management point of view) very good and with our fans(of both teams) getting more and more tired every time the press prints the word Fabregas and Barca in the same sentence(which happens with disturbing frequency because,hey, we’re Barca). Just buy the darn player or not and we can save our energy for the next big thing which happens to be the season

    • Diego
      August 5, 2011

      23,100,000 results in Google if you search “Fabregas Barcelona”

  36. Srini
    August 5, 2011

    To me the equation is so utterly simple that it is stupid why it is not kept so. Cesc Fabregas has one buyer lined up. His valuation is 40 million pounds – just a little cheap relative to the existing market. So Barca want him so badly, they should get him at that. If they can’t, they should address other pressing needs. End of story. That Arsenal is willing to sell him for relatively less than what a true market would demand, suggests that they should make it clear that 40 million is what is to get this done and thats about it. The onus, in my opinion, is on Barca. Take Cesc or leave Cesc at 40 million pounds.

  37. Diego
    August 5, 2011

    The shirt has a price tag that you can’t afford, Leave it and go buy the Pants and the Shoes you need. No matter how good it looks on you, You can’t walk around with no pants and barefoot.

    The store has a higher sale each year on the shirt. In 3 years, It’ll be free.

    If you tell that info to a 5-year old, He’ll give you the answer.

    • mom4
      August 6, 2011

      Diego the Wise 🙂

    • nzm
      August 6, 2011

      Yep – and by then, the shirt will have realised that he is yesterday’s fashion and is now out-of-date. 🙂

  38. htMillBay
    August 5, 2011

    Greetings, first post. Great blog and community here.

    Ahsan says:
    August 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Anyway on the actual substance of the issue, I actually don’t mind this negotiating style….this tactic of waiting and waiting and squeezing and squeezing does have its benefits, just look at the Sanchez transfer which was a great piece of business, given the price and his potential.

    The point is that we can afford to wait and they can’t. Maybe they get fed up and say “we won’t deal him for any price now” but I doubt it. They don’t want an uninterested Fabregas playing for them.

    Put it this way: it’s a game of chicken so we could both end up getting hurt but our car is bigger so it’s more likely they swerve first.


    Ahsan is right, it’s a game of chicken but Arsenal is going to get hurt here and not Barca.
    This is just plain old fashioned business negotiation.

    I think what’s stupid is fans getting emotionally worked up over it. (And of course the press of both countries fanning the fire – that is their business model too.)

    FCB does not need Cesc right now but he is certainly an excellent player and worth Arsenal’s valuation. Arsenal could use the money to improve their club and they should not want to have such a key player, and team captain to boot, less than 100% committed.

    My prediction, the deal will go down to the wire but Arsenal will cave in to FCB’s price. Right now, it is clear that FCB has a better hand.

    There are 4 possibilities: deal falls flat this summer; CF transfers for Arsenal’s price; CF transfers for FCB’s price; CF transfers for somewhere in the middle. I think possibility #3 is what happens. Possibility #4 could happen bec. sometimes even in business negotiations you may not want to be such a hard ass bec. you may be negotiating w/these people again in the future and you want some goodwill remaining. If possibility #1 happens then it w/d be a mistake on Arsenal’s part. I don’t see #2 happening.

    • Brosep
      August 7, 2011

      This is a good post, as was Ahsan’s, and it brings up a point that seems to have been kind of overlooked in the discussion here: Arsenal’s transfer policy.

      Generally, Arsenal refuses to invest significant money in their squad. One of the Gooners’ faithful in this comment section informed us they’ve never paid more than 13m pounds for a player. If Arsenal were a successful team, perhaps this is something about which you could boast. However, year after year, Arsenal not only finishes without trophies, but they consistently lose to the teams that DO significantly invest in their squads (Chelsea, United, and in CL, Barcelona). It is one thing to win the Carling Cup (which they didn’t) by beating the now-relegated titans of Birmingham, and another to simply lose to the Top Teams whenever they roll into town. This summer they have again refused to spend any money on top quality players (other than Gervinho, I guess), and it would be a true surprise to see them overcome the likes of Chelsea with the same squad that pathetically capitulated four titles last spring.

      If they’re not investing in their squad, either they are investing in something else (???) or they don’t have the money. In the latter case – why not sell Cesc? Their lack of depth concerns, especially in defensive midfield and goal. Perhaps they’re not sure between selling Cesc or selling Nasri – Nasri is gone next season if they don’t dump him, but he also fetches the club less of what they might need right these second – cash.

      I have nothing but a respect for Barca’s pragmatism in this transfer. It is a difficult situation for Arsenal, but I do not have the greatest pity – despite being one of the wealthiest clubs in the world they refuse to spend what the winning teams deem necessary to compete. If Arsenal falters again next season without Cesc, it could be argued that it is simply their own frugality biting them in the rear.

      Through this transfer and the others over the past year I have gained tremendous respect for this administration’s aptitude in the market. I reserve my judgment on Rosell as a president (on ethical grounds), but Barcelona is becoming a stronger team on account of his acumen.

  39. Ben
    August 5, 2011

    It blows my mind that people consider 40M a fair price for Fabregas. Based on his talent, sure, it is a good value, but the guy has had so many injuries over the past couple of years. I don’t see how anyone could justify paying that much for a guy with that kind of injury history. If he only plays half the matches this season (as he did last season) then you are essentially rating him at 70-80M.

    • htMillBay
      August 5, 2011

      We’re back to the same discussion of what is a player’s right price. Pep wants Cesc and management s/d give him the benefit of the doubt (as s/d fans given his track record). Mgt. is trying to get a player but not grossly overpay.

      Any player’s price is whatever the 2 clubs agree to. If an Ibra happens then you can say with hindsight that it was the wrong price.

      If Cesc plays 30 or so games then the price is right. If he’s injured too often then it wasn’t. That’s why FCB is correctly insisting on variables while Arsenal is opposing.

      Consider the possibility that Xavi only plays half the matches this season (w/c given his age and recent injury woes I would say is probabilistically the same as Cesc not being to play half the season), then the price paid for Cesc would be priceless.

  40. BarcaGirl_Indo
    August 5, 2011

    look at the market around us.

    no doubt in my mind Arsenal can get 50 – 60 m if they put him in an open market.

    remember there is a certain club who is willing to pay 50m for a 27 years old injury prone Torres. it is of course crazy, but that’s what happen these days.

    • Nav
      August 6, 2011

      Cesc has to be willing to the transfer as well. Arsenal can’t just “put him in”.

  41. just listenin
    August 5, 2011

    Wow, what a firecracker of a post! Like an Alves half volley rocket shot.
    Thanks Kxevin – great points all around.
    Good to get another of these in before the end of the summer – very entertaining as always and seemingly forever.

    This has to end soon, it is all becoming a parody of itself at this point.
    He’s coming, can’t be long now… but it is just plain goofy already.

  42. cantbelievebarcabbbbb
    August 6, 2011

    It’s also worth mentioning that Cesc’s agent, Darren Dein, is the son of the man who brought Wenger to London had a big argument with other members of the board and sold his shares to Usmanov.

  43. Jnice
    August 6, 2011

    Off topic: I wish a journalist would ask Pep and some of the senior players (Xavi, Iniesta) what their impressions of Javi Espinosa are and what they think of his performance in training & in matches this pre-season. I’m sure they’ve been impressed.

  44. SteveHK
    August 6, 2011

    I enjoyed reading the post and the discussion. There have been a lot of well written and thoughtful posts.
    But honestly I was disappointed once again by so many Barcelona fans thinking we don’t need Cesc and/or not understanding why Pep wants him so bad.
    This is how I understand it:
    The strength, skill, and role of Barcelona’s midfield is at the core of Barcelona’s style of play.
    This coming season has the potential to be the most physically and mentally demanding the team has faced. In addition to the sheer number of games, does anyone think that winning La Liga will be any easier than last season?
    Xavi and Iniesta are going to need more rest this season for us to be at our best for all the competitions. But there is no one on the team right now who can come in for them without there being a big drop in the quality of play. (And that includes Thiago in my opinion. I think he is an exciting player with incredible potential, but is he ready THIS YEAR to come in for Xavi or Iniesta in a “must win” game?)
    Cesc has the skill, the top level experience, the leadership ability PLUS the familiarity with the Barcelona style of playing and with the Barcelona players to be able to come in and THIS SEASON, be a third midfielder who can play at or close to the level of Xavi/Iniesta.
    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I REALLY want Barca to win another Champion’s League and La Liga title this year. I really believe that Cesc can help Barca do that this year much more than Thiago can.
    In the US we talk about NBA teams having a “window of opportunity” to win championships, and it’s understood that these windows don’t come around that often or always last as long as you think they will. You have to take advantage of the windows when they come. (Hey I think the Arsenal fans can understand this!)
    My personal view is that Rosell should quit haggling and pay the 40 million. He is getting a very fair price AND Cesc is kicking in 5 million in pay cuts. (Plus I think it would help in keeping Pep as coach for another year or two!)

    • Nav
      August 6, 2011

      I agree wholeheartedly with this post.

    • barca96
      August 6, 2011

      As Kxevin says, “Egg-sactly!”.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Thiago but he doesn’t offer the same quality as Cesc would do. I really don’t understand some fans, not here though, who always make silly comments that we don’t need Cesc because we have Thiago.

      And I like the way Rosell is doing business. What makes you guys think that because of this Cesc deal we can’t sign other players?
      I think Pep, Zubi and Rosell are all aware that this deal might not happen, so I don’t think they would be foolish enough to put halt on other targets, a CB and attacker namely, just because of this Cesc saga.

      C’mon now, this has been going on for 3 summers already. Just because we are bidding for Cesc doesn’t mean that we won’t somebody else for another position. Pep, Zubi and Rosell know that the probability of Cesc coming is low.

      It looks to me more like Jose Angel situation. Pep wants him but don’t really need him, so Rosell plays safe.

    • just listenin
      August 6, 2011

      ^ Bingo! I’ve also been surprised many of these points get lost in the wayward son conversations. He’s led Europe in assists over the last 5 years or so – we need this option for rest and creativity

    • August 6, 2011

      Absolutely. Agreed 100%.

  45. Whatever
    August 6, 2011

    I am 100% sure that we have the money and we could pay whatever Arsenal is asking, but Rosell’s buying tactics differ from those of Laporta. I am sure we will land Fabregas by the end of the transfer window. Rosell is simply trying to lower the price and get as much of the price as possible as variables. In the end we will pay the full price and he’ll come.

    I am more concerned about the Super Copa. The first game is in 8 days, and the core of our team is not fit. Xavi, Messi and Alves have been on vacation so far. I’m not even sure whether they will play in the first game or not. It seems to me that Guardiola isn’t taking that game seriously? Maybe he shouldn’t… it’s a stupid trophy anyway, but nevertheless, it’s a game against our biggest rival and I’d like us to face them with our strongest squad, but I doubt that will happen.

  46. manchair
    August 6, 2011

    Great post. Coming from d perspective of a fan of both clubs I’d say dis- its pedantic to say fans shld stop blv d press about quotes made by players, den go own to quote a few said by other players, from d same press (dat make sense?).
    Think arsenal need to realise dy will ave to lose cesc for less than they want, d sooner they hit dat point d beta for all parties. Howver I also know d highest barca ave bidded is 33, n dat with a 5 mill add on based on rather silly conditions (win cl n play more dan 30 games a season) n its over 3 yrs, so effectively 28mill. If they offer 38mill euro, arsenal wld be crazy not to take it! Besides this I agree with all your points. I do feel cesc as been poor in all of this, but the signing of dat contract yrs back- no one knows what he was promised and I doubt he envisaged the current state of flux arsenal are in right now. If arsenal were winning trophies or at least competing wld he be so hell bent on going home? Yes he signed a contract but he won’t b d first, and we don’t know d conditions under which he signed it. Yes he shld man up n see out d contract, but really wld u?

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