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Cesc: how the media created and used a non-existent transfer

By Tony Attwood

On Wednesday 19 May the Guardian ran a story by Sid Lowe.  The Guardian, as you might have noted from my past comments, is my UK newspaper of choice.  Far from perfect, but in my personal view, the best there is.

But it is, as I say, far from perfect.

Sid Lowe’s story was that “Barcelona expect to sign Cesc Fábregas from Arsenal before the weekend”.

Now that is not my précis – it is exactly, word for word, what the headline in the story said.  You can check it – it is still on the web site.

I must be honest to say, having been in the journo trade myself for a little while, I am aware that Our Sid wouldn’t have written that headline.  But it was  a headline very similar to that which was used in all sorts of papers.  A sub-editor (what journos call “a sub”) would have written it.  That’s what subs do.

So, to be fair to El Cid, sorry, Sid, here’s his opening, word for individual word – the bit that he himself wrote.

“Barcelona believe they can conclude the signing of Cesc Fábregas before the weekend after agreeing the basis of a contract with the midfielder. Fábregas has informed Arsène Wenger of his desire to leave the Emirates and the Spanish champions are hopeful of swiftly tying up a deal, even though they admit that they face difficult negotiations with Arsenal.”

Although Sid wrote “believe” in the opening line, he did also say definitively that “the Spanish champions are hopeful of swiftly tying up a deal…”

That implies two things…

a) That Barca are in negotiations with Arsenal and can tie up the deal, and

b) a certain degree of inside knowledge on Sid’s part.  A contact in the club.  An interview with the man who handles the transfers.  Something like that.

Here’s a bit more which again suggests activity going on, contact being made etc.

“Barcelona initially envisaged a fee in the region of  35m Euros  (£30m) for the player but now privately accept that it will be difficult to close a deal at that price. With Arsenal demanding a minimum of £40m, Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, has said that he is prepared to pay more to make the deal happen. The Catalan club is also ready to offer players in part-exchange.”

It goes on to talk about how Fábregas “reluctantly agreed” to stay at Arsenal last summer.

So that was last week, and that was Sid Lowe.

At this point, before we go on to reflect that this business of transferring Cesc by last weekend, and how it didn’t happen, we might pause to think: who is Sid Lowe?

According to the Guardian our Sid (that is Sid Lowe, not Syd Barrett – a staggeringly brilliant and original composer who wrote the early great stuff for Pink Floyd, sang, spelt his name differently, tragically suffered from schizophrenia and died a year or three ago) “lives in Madrid and writes a weekly column for guardian.co.uk. He also writes regularly for the Guardian, World Soccer, FourFourTwo, and the Telegraph. He works as a commentator and panelist for Spanish, Asian and US television and has acted as translator for David Beckham, Michael Owen, and Thomas Gravesen.”

OK big time stuff.  Ought to be au fait with the inside sources.  Our main the Barca camp.  Probably gets invited round to supper with El Presidente.  (Which is also why he doesn’t mention all those awful debts that Barca have that we started to find this week.  Over £300m worth secured on bugger all, and with very limited chance of ever finding a way to repay them.  Still owing Arsenal money for Hleb and Henry.  And with the Spanish economy about to fall apart.  But that’s all dry stuff – not the sort of thing the man who translates for David Beckham would want to be involved in.)

There’s a full story of that situation at Bara here - that link should have been in Untold’s last piece about Spain (Barca’s unintended prophet of doom), but I got the page details wrong – my fault.  Sorry.  Worth reading now though.

Still, not Sid’s business. He’s more of your man who tells it like it isn’t.

So, I wonder what Sid made of it when the Guardian, (one of the infinite number of places for whom Sid writes) published this on 25 May.

Here once again is the complete and total headline so that you can’t accuse me of mucking about.

Barcelona confirm they have yet to make an offer for Cesc Fábregas

The source was not our Sid, but in fact Reuters.  Sid doesn’t figure.  In fact he seems to have left the plot rather suddenly.  Here’s the opening of Reuters story…

“Barcelona have not yet made an offer for Cesc Fábregas, according to Joan Oliver, the club’s director general, but he did admit the player has expressed a desire to play for them next season.”

Now two things spring to mind here.   First, how could Barca be hopeful of sorting out the deal by the weekend, as Sid said, when they hadn’t even made a bid?

Second, where’s the apology? Either by Sid, or by the Guardian.

Where’s the bit that says, “Actually guys that Sid Lowe fellow – bit of a wag – always having us on – he sent in this joke copy and stupidly we ran it.  Terribly sorry, our mistake.  Sid’s been boiled in oil, and won’t be here again, and well, you know, cock-ups happen.”

No, nothing like that.  In fact I wouldn’t mind betting my mortgage that any day now Our Sid will be back on the pages of the Guardian with another cock and bull story from inside sources in Barcelona.  General Franco isn’t dead at all, and in fact has been hiding inside a fishing boat hidden in the 3rd row of the upper tier and has been secretly passing messages to an Elvis lookalike who lives in Gibraltar and is a close friend of Lisbet Sullender…

“Ah,” you may well be saying, “ah!”

And I would reply, “Yes indeed!”

But supposing Reuters got it wrong and Sid (who was not, as I have pointed out a member of Pink Floyd, but may on the face of it have the occasional delusional tendency, which most of us get as journalists), may have been right.  Why not?  Sid Lowe, on the ball, Reuters, total screw up.

Well, having dated a Reuters lady for a while, and having watched how Reuters work, and the lengths they go to, to get stories right and to check their sources, I think I’m with Reuters on this one.  Reuters check, and check the checks before they press the button.  They live and breathe on a reputation of only releasing stories that are true. Which is why Reuters stories quote sources.  Of course they do make mistakes, as everyone does, but they are mistakes, not made up stories, and they are fairly rare.

Besides the Reuters story goes like this…

“We have had first contacts with Arsenal in which we made known our intention to talk and that’s the situation,” Oliver was quoted as saying on the La Liga champions’ website. “There is no offer yet. But it’s true the player has expressed his wish to play for Barça, perhaps this coming season.”

And yes, it was on the web site.  I am not that good at the old foreign language stuff, but I called up my language speaking pal and asked him to find the Barcaloony web site for me, and he found it somewhere and said that’s pretty much what it says.

Now I would like to direct your attention to this…

“But it’s true the player has expressed his wish to play for Barça, perhaps this coming season.”

And may I focus on one word?  PERHAPS.

Now this is not the story we have been fed by the saliva dripping morons who run most of the UK press.  They have been telling us that Cesc said he definitively wants to bugger off and play in foreign parts.

But the Barca web site said something rather different.

“Perhaps this coming season.”  Which might mean, maybe August 2010, maybe August 2015, maybe at the start of the next Ice Age which New Scientist tells me is sometime in the next 10,000 years.

Here’s another goodie from the Reuters piece.

“Spanish media have reported that Barcelona want to conclude the purchase of Fábregas before the World Cup, with Arsenal believed to be holding out for close to £50m for their 23-year-old captain.”

“Spanish media.”   “Believed”.   Which is all a bit different from our our media turn the story around.   “English media report that Peter Crouch is really a jellyfish.  Untold Arsenal, a widely read British web site that comments on Arsenal matters reported today that Peter Crouch was really a mindless semi-transparent sea creature with a sting.  ‘His mother was a hedgehog and his father was a sprout,’ said Tony Attwood, Head Honcho at the Untold Pyramid.”

Back in the real world Reuters went on to report a Spanish radio station, quoting a member of Family Cesc, which is a bit like getting Radio Caroline to comment on the finer points of the budget.  Total drivel, but they gave us the source, so we can judge that.

So there you have it.  Or not.

Cesc did not say he wanted to go this year, the “this weekend” story was totally made up by the press, and Mr Hill-Wood was quite right when he said that Arsenal had not received an offer.

In fact, as we guessed from the start – there was no Cesc story, it was invented by the media for the media.  Which just leaves the question, “why?”  Why do the media do this?

The answer is that it fills up the back pages of the papers without having to do any work.  Dear old Sid Lowe can sit in Spain twiddling whatever he twiddles while employing an infinite number of monkeys to sit at computer keyboards, secure in the knowledge that every now and then (in between typing up the works of Shakespeare) they will also come up with another story.

As for why Arsenal, the fact is that if you count the number of stories that there are in the English speaking parts of the internet on various football clubs, Arsenal comes out on top.  For whatever reason, our club gets talked about more than other clubs.  So the monkeys write about us more.

Anyway, it was a transfer made up by the press, for the benefit of selling papers.  As a result of it, Cesc might go in the end, but whatever happens we can be quite sure who it was that did it all.  The media.  Same old, same old.

————————–

Commentary notes: If you want to comment please have a quick read of this, to make sure you comment is published.

1: Please comment on the subject matter of the article, not something else.  The only exception is if something amazing is just happening (Emirates Stadium to be rebuilt on Mars).  Rumours don’t count.

2: If you wish to post an anti-Wenger piece there are special rules.  Please see this article first.

3: If you disagree with someone, do so with courtesy, otherwise your post might be removed.  Announcing that I am on drugs doesn’t help.

4: Don’t post from different email addresses, or your post might well be removed and you will be banned.

———————-

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55 comments to Cesc: how the media created and used a non-existent transfer

  • avatar Paul

    It’s all very well disecting the various quotes and stories like you have but, your picking on the wrong target here.
    Sid Lowe is a very respected and knowlegeable journalist who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Spanish football and, he will be proven right – this is not a made up story(check Fabregas’s father’s comments yesteday).
    He will go (because he want’s to go)to Barcelona sooner or later.

  • avatar Rhys Jaggar

    Well, from your article Tony, if you’re right that Barca still owe money for Hleb and Henry, Arsenal’s negotiating position is clear:

    1. Clear your debts with us before you presume to try and force through another deal.
    2. If you don’t, this goes straight to Michel Platini, whose entire reputation for upholding fair play in European football will be held up to scrutiny if he doesn’t back us.
    3. We will also consider taking you to court to demand interest on the unpaid debts, although we will accept Lionel Messi at a knock-down, fire-sale price if necessary.
    4. We won’t play Messi one time, we’ll just stop you enjoying his skills. Then we’ll sell him to someone else at fire-sale price plus 10% + his wages for one year.

    Not nice, that. But maybe it’s time to start getting tough, eh?

    £300m debts: you could probably clear £150m+ by selling players. Perhaps Arsenal should suggest they do precisely that.

    If those debts are real debts and not just the debtors in ‘working capital’ i.e. normal liabilities in any trading business (no sports shop could run without those). In the latter case, to call them debts assumes that you can’t shift the stock at all and the suppliers demand full payment. If you can’t sell them and you don’t enjoy sale or return terms, you’d be better off going bust!

  • avatar Emeka I.

    Would hate to see him leave but if he does walk eventually,i really hope arsene brings in someone,maybe a silva(val).fingers crossed,guess i cant do any better

  • avatar brentCPH

    First?

    Very nice piece Tony. As a student of political science and journalism I can say with a fair amount of authority that the media make up stories (for a lack of a better line) to get what they want. Tabloids are the main criminals. They make up stories to stir the pot to inevitably create more stories and in football Arsenal are easy targets for some reason. It’s disgusting and I won’t comment on why I actually think the British media have a general distaste, or shall we say, obsession with Arsenal. There are many theories, but I can say for sure that even if the media made the whole thing up Barcelona’s conduct with the media has been abysmal and the Barça players that know Cesc are not helping. Puyol says he’s never seen Cesc so nervous. After what happened to Adebeyor can we blame him for being so nervous? It’s not fair to anyone involved to lie about our captain just to sell papers and as long as AFC don’t fight back it will continue this way (media created transfers). That’s not to say Cesc doesn’t want to leave or Ade wanted to stay but the point remains. I hate to say it, but if Wenger was as ruthless as Sir Alex these things would happen less.

  • avatar Ole Gunner

    I took Sid Lowe up on this issue on Twitter. His defence was that he was merely reporting what Barcelona sources were saying.

    Now, I know there are some people who believe that the job of a reporter is to report what people tell him off-record, but I remain convinced this is not a robust approach to the job.

    If it were, I’d invite Sid Lowe over and inform him of my intention to buy FC Barcelona and turn it into a feeder club for Arsenal.

    I suspect we won’t see a headline of “Arsenal die-hard to buy FC Barcelona” in the papers tomorrow.

    I’d expect that someone like Sid Lowe to not publish a transfer story with such a definite voice without checking the Arsenal side or even asking for some proof.

    It’s obvious that Sid Lowe is just a shill for Barcelona. The question is whether he’s a paid shill.

    The English media are a propaganda wing of FC Barcelona and it’s a disgraceful state of affairs.

    I’ll leave with another anecdote about transfer lies. When the Cesc story broke, every gooner’s favourite tabloid hack, John Cross penned a piece in which he said gooners are naive to believe that journalists publish stories they know to be false. Or publish stories without checking their sources. This was a guy who had once told me when I criticised the shoddy standards of tabloid journalism, that the fact that so many read their rags is a validation of their approach.

    I find that to be an extremely cynical, almost diabolical approach to journalism or life.

    I then sent him a link showing an article published by his newspaper in January exclusively reporting that Liverpool had made a big statement of intent by signing Marouane Chamakh for £25 Million.

    I am gratified that his response was to accuse me of being argumentative.

    That settles it then, Mr Cross. I’m argumentative, but you’re part of an operation that is set up to lie to the public for profit.

    I know what side I prefer to be on.

    Full disclosure: For me this issue goes behind football. I think football journalists & pundits are a bitter disgrace, but that lying tabloids will ultimately be the death of social trust.

  • avatar Wambuzi

    I agree the media is responsible even for putting pressure on the young Cesc, i hope it works out for him at Barca if he does leave if not he would have made the worst decision in his life.

  • avatar Geezer

    It seems every season, most media outlets appear to be encouraging the breakdown of our club. For example the repeated and mistranslated quotes from arshavin, and how all their “expert” opinions made out that Vermaelan would not cut the grade because he was too short! Each year you will find examples, i dont understand why they like to unsettle the cream of the crop for the Premier League, it is not just for Arsenal, you repeatedly hear about gerrard and torres wanting to leave even though they have not said anything to suggest that.

    When has anybody come across an article saying “Drogba is considering his future” or “Wayne Rooney is looking for a new challenge”, “Petr Cech has Grasshopper Zurich in his DNA”

    The problem is, Newspapers should not be relied upon, they wonder why hard copy sales are going down, i believe it is for two reasons (not just the sport section). They are disposable and therefore any story printed one day can be completely forgotten about the next day without any retrospective clarification. This discredits the So-called journalist and the name of the paper, but most read the sport for entertainment value.

    And also it seems if a story has no offical quote at the time, they use quotes from people who are not even relevant to the transfer, and carry it on in a soap opera like manner! Is this a sign of desparation from tabloids, the less people buying, the more sensationalist the Headline trying to get them back. There are exceptions where readership has gone up, the Guardian especially because of its worldwide internet readership has increased tenfold, but papers such as the independent and the guardian have never had more than a 10 percent market share between them.

    Wait for Wengers word and only Wengers word, and ignore those corporate fuck nuts, they dont care about football, they dont care about society, they care about Profit and only profit. (Maybe thats why they hate Arsenal so much!)

  • avatar walter

    If I would get 1 pound for each lie the media publishes I would be rich enough by now to buy all the shares of Arsenal.
    How Lowe can you go…

    And when this sentence would the truth :”Barcelona believe they can conclude the signing of Cesc Fábregas before the weekend AFTER AGREEING THE BASIS OF A CONTRACT with the midfielder”.

    This would mean that Barcelona has already spoken with Cesc, offered him a contract and I could be wrong but isn’t this forbidden???? You can leave the question marks out I think as it is forbidden unless Arsenal has given Cesc permission to talk to Barcelona. As far as we know Arsenal has always told that Cesc is under contract and not for sale so any approach by another club is illegal.

    Another thing that annoys me in this whole saga is that Barcelona is trying the “whiter than white” approach on this.

    They are trying to keep the price low and point out that Cesc was robbed from their hands by Arsenal. And they present this as some kind of reason so Arsenal should not ask that much money. They make it sound as if Arsenal are some kind of child slave organisation that robbs kids from their homes. Fabregas came to us when he was 16 years old.

    But let us take a look at Barcelona themselves and lets take Messi. Messi was around the age of 13-14 when he came over from Argentina to Spain. So what if his former club Newell’s Old Boys (funny name for a football club in fact) ask Barcelona to let Messi come back home? Will Barcelona drop the price because of the fact they took him at 13-14 years old? I think we all know the answer: no.

  • avatar Geezer

    P.S When was the last time you saw any positive press about Arsenal in a tabloid? Either I’m going senile, or …..!

  • avatar Gooneraside

    Nice article, Tony.

    I do feel slightly embarrassed for those fans who need someone to point out these facts to them (and they must believe it all since it is written).

    Incidentally, today’s joke in the Barca driven Sport reckons that Arsenal value Cesc at E90m. If Hleb is included in the deal, then his value becomes E89,999,999. Ha! Ha! I thought – until I realised that adding Hleb to the equation should surely increase the sum.

    I suppose that’s because I believe that we want Cesc and don’t need Hleb.

  • avatar walter

    My mother always used to say that the only good thing about a newspaper was that you can use it for putting in the peels of the potatoes.

    My mother was a wise woman….

  • avatar Swazigooner

    Well i knew from the start that this cesc thing was all rubbish….But i would like wenger to clear the air. Cesc hasn’t said anything yet, so for me it has always been and remain pure speculation until AW or Cesc come out on tv.

  • avatar walter

    It could be a coincidence but I think I have noticed that at the start of the week they come up with something new and than they run this story for the rest of the week in different variations.
    Repeating it with just a slightly different angle, change few words,…
    And then the other take it over, change it a little bit themselves and then the “original” reruns their own story and includes what the others have come up with and so the story goes on the whole week.

    Maybe we could try to predict which angle they will take on next week. Maybe Cescs mother this time? Or a sister? Or the local butcher in their home town who had received a phone call to prepare an order for the family and who was said: ‘Just put it ready, Cesc IS ON HIS WAY”.

  • avatar Arsefactor

    I know there is a big thing being made of the fact that Barca haven’t made an offer but personally I reckon that is simply due to the fact they know 30 million isn’t going to be accepted and are trying to raise funds.
    The fact that there has been some confirmed contact says to me that there will be an offer sooner or later.
    To have it all tied up by the weekend though is obviously ridiculous.

  • avatar Gf60

    Why worry? If you read it in Arsenal.com (Transfer rumours excepted), see the player saying it or the manager admitting it, then it’s almost certainly true. (Untold Arsenal also a good source)

    If you see/read it elsewhere, don’t believe it.But why on earth worry?

    Either you’re healthy or you’re sick. If you’re healthy then you have nothing to worry about.

    If you’re sick, one of two things will happen. You’ll get better so there’s nothing to worry about.

    Or you’ll die. If you die, one of two things will happen.

    You’ll go to heaven or you’ll go to hell.

    If you go to heaven, there’s nothing to worry about. If you go to hell, think of all the friends you’ll meet up with that will protect you from Barca presidents, hop-head journalists and the doom and gloomers.

  • avatar AaronGSi

    Excellent piece and it perfectly highlights how we should read most of the media with a good pinch of salt. Journalists seem to be nothing more than salesmen nowadays, competing for column inches and advertising revenues by trying to get their stories to the top of the pile. It was interesting to read that Sid Lowe writes for several publications – does this mean that he is essentially freelance and so has a vested interest in writing sensationalist stuff so that he can sell it and make money? (is this true of most journalists today?)
    However, my own view is that the story about Cesc wanting to leave this season is essentially true, and that someone acting on behalf of the player (be it agent, or close associate/friend) has briefed one or two journalists to start making noises so that it undermines Arsenals position of holding him to his contract. But what this also means is that every man and his dog has now jumped in trying to get a piece of the action and sell their stories and this has resulted in the circus of media hype and frenzy we have had to put up with. His fathers recent comments – direct quotes from several papers and web sites and as they have not been refuted yet, I’m having to assume they are somewhat accurate – have now added weight to the Cesc going saga by saying that Arsenal should respect the wishes of the player etc, so these are worrying. Cesc’s silence speaks a thousand words also in my view. I know he’s done it hundreds of times in the past, but if he wanted to stay at Arsenal, I believe he would have come out by now and kicked all this into touch. The fact that he hasn’t, may tell us that the fire is definitely burning behind all the smoke, whatever we think of the media and their part in this.
    Here’s hoping that Tony’s article is 100% on the money though, and that there is no story and even my own view on things is wrong.

  • avatar EAC3

    As always reason personified…my only concern which continues to niggle is why hasnt Cesc or Arsene made a comment saying something like ” the Arsenal fans know that I have always made it clear that it is my dream to play for my home town club ONE DAY IN THE FUTURE…but not next season” …end of quote and end of rumours for this season at least. Maybe Arsenal dont wish to give the rumours credibility but come on chaps you are spoiling mine and a lot of other fans summer break!

  • avatar Gf60

    @Walter
    You forgot the estate agent who’s just concluded the house deal with Cesc :o)

  • avatar Padraic Connell

    URGENT NEWS!!!!!!
    Tony, and all the guys, i just thought youd like to know that the Emirates Stadium has just been rebuilt on MARS!!!!!
    MARSenal FC are currently in negotiations with Akinfeev, Van der Weil, Mertesaker, Cahill, Juan, Hazard, Silva, Arteta, Gourcuff, Ballotelli and Luis Suarez. They hope to have all 11 transfers completed before yesterday.

  • avatar walter

    I left that one for you GF60. :-)

    Padraic, you just made my day. LOL. But I’m really dissapointed that they did not buy Messi…

  • great article. Cesc isn’t for Barca

  • avatar slyvian

    you will always get extremes on here. There are those that want Wenger out, as I have done for some years, and….

    Editor: I have cut the rest of this email since it pays no regard whatsoever to our commentary notes, which were incidentally reprinted within the actual article this writer seeks to comment on.

    Here’s a reprint of the rules, just for the record

    Commentary notes: If you want to comment please have a quick read of this, to make sure you comment is published.

    1: Please comment on the subject matter of the article, not something else. The only exception is if something amazing is just happening (Emirates Stadium to be rebuilt on Mars). Rumours don’t count.

    2: If you wish to post an anti-Wenger piece there are special rules. Please see this article first.

    3: If you disagree with someone, do so with courtesy, otherwise your post might be removed. Announcing that I am on drugs doesn’t help.

    4: Don’t post from different email addresses, or your post might well be removed and you will be banned.

  • avatar TheSKAGooner

    I worked for a university-related fan site here in the US awhile back, doing reporting on football (American) recruiting. Being a reporter is not my regular job, but having been a member of that website for a very long time, I decided to take on the task of providing coverage for the upcoming signing class of high school & junior college players who were about to sign letters of intent to play for my uni.

    I had two EXCELLENT sources for most of my stories. When players came to visit the school I did phone interviews with them and published those stories on the site. I got pretty good inside info on what players the football team were really tracking and how progress was going. So, in a short while I was able to build up a pretty good reputation for perhaps not always being first with the breaking news, but getting that news CORRECT. My reporting generated a lot of new readers for the site and paying membership increased several fold.

    Unfortunately, I was presented with one story by one trusted source that turned out to be completely false. I did my best to verify it, but the boss (the site owner) wanted the story up as it was breaking news and he wanted to kick a rival site in the shins by beating them to publishing. The source I had was actually inside the football program and I had personally guaranteed him that I would not reveal him as a source, so as to protect his job at the university (and keep the flow of info open for my reporting as well). But he had got some bad info from one of the coaches (long story, which I will not go into here), one thing led to another and our website went with a story I was not entirely sure was accurate.

    Well, sure enough, the dam broke and my reporting was inaccurate. We got blasted by members of the other site and even our own members were beyond disgruntled at what happened. When I had a conference call with the guy who runs the site and my source we went over the details of things, but in listening to each of them I realized that neither was going to take responsibility for what happened and neither planned to make any kind of statement retracting the story. So, I did what I thought was right – I wrote my own statement for the site and took full responsibility for my reporting. At the end of the day the story was wrong, and as the writer of that story, responsibility lay with me alone for producing the story.

    I said plainly to our members and readers this: “I was wrong. I had certain information that I was unable to completely verify and I should not have brought this story to the site until I was 100% certain. The responsibility to the paying readers of this site rests solely on my shoulders and I apologize for letting you down with my efforts. I will make every attempt to do better on future articles for this website and to justify the monthly fees you pay to read those articles.”

    Funny thing – taking responsibility publicly for the story generated A LOT more buzz about our website and my reporting – in a positive fashion – than negativity over the story I got wrong.

    Ultimately, I think what we’re all disappointed in regarding Sid Lowe (and John Cross) is not so much that he got one wrong – it happens – but that neither he nor his paper takes ANY responsibility for publishing something that is incorrect. Should Sid or the paper come out and publicly recognize what happened, own up to it and promise to do better, I think we’d all feel at least some way restored to trusting what they write. Alas, especially regarding the Cesc story, I think both the writers and papers would spend most of their time making public apologies that soon they’d have no time to actually write anything other than retractions and apologies.

  • avatar goonergerry

    This story is not press make believe- it would have been dismissed out of hand if it was by Cesc, his agent and the Board. Instead we have heard-his father wants the club to let him go, we don”t want to sell him from PHW and nothing from Cesc and importantly his agent.
    Sadly,I dont believe that any of this story is without foundation- and it might be in everyones interests that we don’t know the truth. I have found that it always pays to analyse carefully what people do rather than what they say and you might get closer to the truth- and it does not look good to me to see our captain signing Barcelona shirts on kids.

  • avatar simon bailey

    why should arsenal, arsene or even cesc come out and deny or confirm any of the speculation in the press. if they were to confirm or deny every single story that is printed / published it would be a full time job.

    to me it’s black and white. nothing changes until it has been confirmed by those in the know. as far as i am concerned the only change to our squad so far is the arrival of chamakh.

    i really don’t understand the prurience shown by half the world regarding potential transfers. if they happen, they happen. why do we need to know about it until it has happened?

  • avatar Dragunov

    It would be interesting to know where the source of stories about the emotional one on ones wenger is supposed to be having with cesc.

    arsene doesnt really strike me as the emotional type. more likely wenger probably highlighted to cesc if you want to go i wont hold you back, but dont think the board is gonna let you walk for free. if barca come with a serious offer we’ll have look, but i wouldnt get my hopes to high. instead get back to your training you gonna have a busy summer so you need to keep that little bit mental strength.

  • avatar paul

    if he goes this needs to be justified by the extreme amount of money we get as cesc has always been part of AW building plans and everyone has their price. We do run the risk of being a selling club which means we will never compete with the likes of barca each time one of our players eyes are turned. The club will let down season ticket holders aswell if they sell him on due to the promises and belief we have been sold over the past 5 years. By not reinvesting the club in recent times have grown to accept that a top four finish is all that is needed to keep things healthy. To win the cl or premiership needs further investment and the club havent matched the expectancy of supporters or indeed the likes of cesc in this respect on the basis that supporters will forever hold on to the season ticket regardless.
    cesc will leave because we havent matched his personal ambition. Its as simple as that and we wont as we sell players to tick over and dont buy quality. As a supporter you have to accept that in my view.

  • avatar Ficky

    One of my national newspaper had printed a story that Atletico Madrid already signed Frans Merida. Then, I was looking all arsenal blogs and arsenal.com to see if this news were true. But no one ever said about this transfer. Great, now even my local paper know how to made a fake news.

  • I think they might be right on this one. I haven’t run the story yet because I was waiting for AFC to confirm, but it is coming from numerous sources, so I think it could be the truth.

  • avatar Arsefactor

    Just saw a new Cesc interview on SSN.
    Although he doesn’t explicitly say he wants to move it does appear that he has had talks with Wenger about it.
    He is very respectful but I do think there is little doubt he wants to move.

  • avatar cape gooner

    The sums of the transfer market are fairly simple. Take Ronaldo as an example. Real Mad decided he was worth 120m to them over 4 years – 80m transfer fee and 200k per week wages (50 week year).

    Assume Barcelona value Cesc at 80m over 4 years. If they pay Arsenal 60m, they have only 100k a week left for wags – less than he is getting at the moment. However, if Cesc was to hear that Barc wanted to pay him 200k per week, he might find that exciting (his father would certainly find that exciting) and he might be tempted to tell AW that he wants to move to Barc. However, Barc cannot afford to pay Arsenal more than 40m! So, they start stories about how it would be fair for Arsenal to get too much money for a Barc product – Sam Wallace in the Independent. They say that Cesc wants to leave – this has some truth in it – he would love to play and live in Barcelona, and earn 200k per week.

    This is all obvious stuff, and as ManU let Ronaldo go for 80m, so we will let Cesc go for a similar figure. However, then “personal terms” might become a big problem.

    Sid Lowe writes well. He has a PhD on the origins of the Spanish Civil War and is not a dunce. However, he does require access to information, so when highly placed people tell him things that they want printed, he needs to print it, albeit with the caveat “from a source high in the Barcelona hierarchy”.

  • avatar Ian

    I have been on holiday in Madrid for the last week. On Wednesday I flicked the tv on and they were going through the Spanish team with their names and clubs next to them.

    I was astounded to see the following in the list:-
    Cesc Fabregas (Barca).

    It seems this type of rubbish isn’t limited to the newspapers!

  • avatar Ole Gunner

    Communication from Arsenal on Cesc as published on Arsenal Vision, the blog:

    Many thanks for your email.

    The Club, of course, understands the frustration felt by supporters at the current transfer speculation surrounding the future of Cesc Fabregas.

    It is not our policy to comment on unfounded media speculation. We have received no official approach from any club for the signature of Cesc and with this in mind, it would be remiss of us to engage further on reports linking our captain with a move away from the Club.

    However, as I am sure that you know, Cesc has a long term contract here and he is very much part of our future plans. Our focus is on keeping our bright and talented young squad of players together in order to make strides forward next season.

    Thanks for your continued support.

    Kind regards
    Communications Department
    Arsenal Football Club

  • avatar Arsesession

    Great article (again) Tony.
    The entire media is entrenched in the ratings war. Media management are under pressure from their boards (and shareholders) to increase circulation leveraging ad revenue. Content is marginalized to fit this agenda.

    Who in society is accountable for any decision? media ? politicians? corporations? individuals?

    Our club is fortunate to have a manager who comprehends the big picture. Remaining silent, not commenting on media gossip, is gamesmanship on our part.

    I feel sorry for Cesc. He maybe mature on the pitch, but to allow himself to be a pawn to the media, his father, and suitor club. Cesc, later in his life, will see that Arsene and Arsenal took the high ground. CHARACTER IS EVERYTHING.

  • avatar DC

    @ Arsefactor
    Just saw the same press conference too.
    Cesc said that he had the greatest conversation with Arsene that he’s ever had where the Lord Wenger concluded by saying that he’d take care of everything that transpires and that Cesc should focus on his World Cup.
    When the scummy hack from Sky Sports asked Cesc if he’d still be at Arsenal next season and he didn’t guarantee that he’d be staying, nor that he’d be leaving, then it’s still being portrayed that he wants to leave. Also note that Torres also said in the same press conference that he doesn’t guarantee that he’ll still be at Liverpool next season either, which contradicts what his agent has already said, yet that’s not being reported so avidly. I guess they just wouldn’t sell so many papers or get so many viewers watching!
    I don’t blame the Cesc, after all the bull that’s been invented and perpetuated over the past week or two by Barcelona (i’ve lost all respect for that club now), whatever he says now will offend one of the clubs that he loves and will affect his performance in the World Cup (should he play in their already packed midfield!).
    What’s now clear is that Cesc wants the media to leave him alone and if they want to talk to someone, they should talk to Lord Wenger and Arsenal before they make up more crap to sell papers.
    All the cards are on our table and whether Cesc will stay or go this Summer (and i don’t actually think that he’ll be leaving) will be up to Arsenal and on their terms, rather than the “done deal” being reported by those so-called “Spanish football experts”.
    By the way, it actually now seems that Arsene and Cesc only spoke about this farce for the first time after it had all began in Spain rather than the rubbish we’d initially been fed about how he flew to London and had a conversation (where Arsene was apparently furious and livid!) requesting the transfer.
    Strength and Honour Guys!

  • avatar Adam

    Seems to me that someone is trying to unsettle the spanish squad.

  • avatar DC

    @ Adam,
    And the Arsenal squad too!

  • avatar Matthew B

    What do fans expect Cesc to say?

    Of course he wants to play for his boyhood club at some point in his career, so he’s hardly going to publicly snub them.

    He’s had another disappointing and tough season, whatever you’re views on the club and the players, we’d probably all agree he’s been let down by the effort and overall quality of a few of the squad players.

    He probably wants more money, he probably wants to see Arsene strengthen the team (don’t we all?)

    There is no story here. The press are pretty much all hacks scrabbling around recycling second hand quotes to back up tepid little stories. Best to just ignore this and don’t feed the monster with more print wasted on a pointless story (I’ll take my own advice shortly)

    The facts we do know: Fabregas is an Arsenal player on a looooooong term contract.

    Barcelona are a bit strapped for cash and they have made no formal offer for our player.

    Cesc loves Arsenal, Arsenal loves Cesc (direct from the player’s conference earlier today)

    Everything else is just flimflam.

    I saw some prat named Myles Palmer offering his insight into the situation yesterday. He claimed Arsene had lost the plot and Cesc had no respect for him and his plans for the club. Cesc today is quoted saying he has immense respect for Arsene and Arsenal.

    Probably best to keep one’s opinions to oneself when they are utter bollocks.

  • avatar Abhishek Kumar

    Cesc says
    “I had the greatest talk of my life.It’s not up to me any more. It’s just now about Arsenal and whoever it has to be and that’s it. I don’t want to say anything else.”

    Now will the papers now say that he has left everything to Arsenal and not to Barceloa. I know even this statement will be twisted to say that Barcelona will now talk directly to Arsenal.

  • avatar Arsefactor

    Am I the only one who is depressed by this interview?
    I had hoped he would rubbish or at least distance himself from any move by now.
    The fact is that he confirmed he has talked to Wenger and that
    he mentioned he might be playing for someone else (“whoever that’ll be” yeah right!).

    Look, I hate the media spin doctor like everyone else but the evidence is starting to mount up that Cesc has indeed asked for a move.
    If he has then that massively weakens our position and it will be next to impossible to keep him without shooting ourselves in the foot.
    At least his speech about loving Arsenal and Wenger should help us raise the transfer price.
    You might ask well why didn’t he come out and say that he’s asked for a move and my answer is that he does respect Arsenal and wouldn’t want to weaken them any further in the transfer dealings.

    I reckon there are 4 things that have come together and turned his head this season:

    1. He got injured and spent time recovering back in barcelona. I’m sure everyone there was having a wee word in his ear.

    2. We didn’t win any trophies.

    3. We played Barcelona which gave them a chance to have another wee word in his ear.

    4. The spanish players preparing for the world cup giving him yet more ‘advice’.

    Frankly I will be amazed if he is still at Arsenal next season and I reckon the only way it will happen is if Barcelona refuse to offer more than the 30 million quoted.
    If they offer 40 million then I expect we will take it (though I personally believe he is worth more like 50-60).

  • avatar sad

    I think he will be sold if Wenger finds a player he feels can replace him good enough. IF he finds someone that he thinks can give us so much quality we can actually win something next year. IF not i think he will stay for one more year. If we do not win anything next year, i can see Arsene and Cesc leaving together.

  • avatar Good to be a GOONAH!!

    The ‘he will go sooner or later’ to Barce comment is the new line we’re getting in the press now. The line that suggests we will agree a deal for Cesc to stay (only) one more year so we will now expect 12 more months of this ‘fun’.

    When actually Arsenal FC hold ALL the cards here. And will only sell when it suits the best interests of Arsenal FC. Like we did with Vieira. Like we did with Henry. But not until it suits the best interests of Arsenal FC.

    Cesc is an intelligent boy. He loves Arsenal FC. The press are very far wide of the mark here. Please see Pires comments. I think they most accurately reflect the situation here.

  • avatar Finsbury

    Here’s copy and paste of Pires’ text by OneOfUs on ACLF on May 26, 2010 at 7:21 am:

    I’ll try my best here: Speaking to Ona FM – the same Catalan Radio Station that Yuste used to spark this latest flurry of Cesc stories – Pires reckoned Arsenal will refuse to let Cesc go this summer

    “I’d put money on Cesc to continue wearing the Arsenal jersey next season”

    He went on to defend AW, and the setup at Arsenal…

    “We talk about Cesc in such high terms because AW has put his confidence in him, and I don’t see him leaving”

    He also said that he doesn’t see Cesc agitating further for a move because he’s a well brought-up kid and will appreciate everything AW’s done for him and the team.

    If Pires retires this summer then he has to come back to Arsenal in some capacity.

    -

  • Well, friends and foes alike, the whole point of my original article was that the stuff what appears in the media is not true. So there is no reason particularly to believe the latest statement.

    My article tried to say, “If I have to believe anyone I will believe Reuters”, and then up pops another article, and we are off on the same merry-go-round.

    I tell you what though – to anyone of the very negative people who comment here, being a positive Gooner is a lot more fun.

  • He not leaving 5 year contract remember…

    wenger is shrewd when he needs to be

    Title Warning next campaign…. ARSENAL FC

    Hurrah’s.

  • avatar Good to be a GOONAH!!

    Ole Gunner. You are absolutely spot on

    John Cross is simply the most evil of the journos who cover our club. That he appears on Arsenal TV makes me ill (and I have formally complained).

    He sits in our state of the art press box at the magnificent Emirates and then peddles ‘inside’ knowledge that merely reflects the common media perception of the club (we dont like it up us… that we are the poster club for debt (3 years ago), no spirit…etc etc).

    And he peddles this by suggesting sympathy for the club/players when the reality could not be further from the truth.

    He also puts an emotive/provocative spin in his delivery of ‘news’ too. We were all told that the Barce/Arsenal/Cesc thing was going to get messy. Happily he now says that it looks increasingly possible that Cesc will stay.

    As the wind blows… so goes John Cross.

  • avatar ugandan goon

    i just want to say i disagree with sylvain and whatever he said, long live lord weng and tony attwood. ps you always get extremists on here…..

  • avatar Fem Dee

    Could it be that Wenger raised the exit stakes when he improved Cesc’s salary recently and backdated it and got Cesc to pen more years in his contract?
    Could it be that Cesc chose a bad time for Barcelona to make his desire to return known – after all the years of long distance flirting?
    It seems to me that Barcelona, now faced with the facts of what is required to get Cesc back, just realized it would cost too much in transfer fee and Cesc’s salary. Few clubs rate any mid-fielder and pay any mid-fielder of Cesc’s age as high as he already makes in Arsenal.
    For the role Cesc can play in Barcelona, I don’t think they rate him as high as they will realistically have to offer to Arsenal to see the deal through. Mind you also, Barcelona has to worry about what comparable players that will be competing with Cesc currently earn in comparison to what Cesc is already earning – as it is inconceivable that Cesc will seek a salary cut either to save the deal or just to play for Barca.
    In his conversation with Wenger, the old man may have convinced him that he will negotiate in good faith with Barcelona but will not agree to a fire sale merely to satisfy his desire. He may also have pointed out to him that the deal may fail in the end on account of Barca balking on what Arsenal fairly and realistically must seek to obtain as transfer fee. He may have convinced him that salary-wise and footballing wise he commands more in Arsenal than he will command in Barca.
    So, Cesc is preparing himself and the media for a failed deal and a no backlash return to Arsenal – provided Wenger shows good faith in negotiating if or when Barca shows up at the door.
    On the other hand, Barca may rate Cesc as highly as we do at Arsenal and may be able to raise the money to fairly meet Arsenal’s expectations. What Wenger owes Cesc and their father-son relationship is NOT to be intransigent.
    To me, its a win-win for Arsenal: he goes at a fair price or he doesn’t at all. If he goes at a fair price, I would be surprised if Wenger doesn’t have 2-4candidates to vie for as his replacement.

  • avatar DC

    Spot on Fem Dee! Now let’s all leave it and wait to see what a proper media outlet (and that only seems to be Reuters and excludes the BBC) will have to say in the weeks to come.

  • avatar Finsbury

    If John Terry, ‘Captain, Leader & Legend’, can flirt with $iteh in order to get a pay rise, is there a world of difference with Fabregas’ situation?
    Where Chav$ki in danger of collapse when our man JT decided to try and get some extra, bizarre, conditions written into his contract?

    My non-stop moaning about broken legs after the game in Birmingham was rooted in concern for the morale of the AFC squad, including Fabregas.

    Maybe next season the new kit could include kevlar thigh and shin guards?

    But I never imagined that AFC would consider such a botched haggle by Barcelona.
    Whatever the pros and cons of the AFC board, they’ve proven themselves to be capable of ‘driving a hard bargain’ in recent negotiations.

  • avatar Good to be a GOONAH!!

    Fem Dee. Brilliant analysis.

  • avatar RedGooner

    I think the problem with this transfer and the media is as follows.
    1 The obvious link to barcelona and the fact that yes someday and youngman would like to return home and play for his local team especially one as good as barcelona if he was from Villareal he might not be in such a rush.

    2 The media are constantly reminding him off how succesful Barca are right now and how little chance we have of medals while finacialy constrained.

    3 They play on the type and amount of players we are signing that will make that difference between winning and loosing we know there wont be stars arriving we know we will continualy be patching up rather than strebgthening when it comes to squad to dept.

    I love fabregas but I could have invented the story and in my heart still knew it had a good chance of comming true we arent doing enough to keep him his goals are to win things and we are a longway from convincing him.
    If we had a won a trophy or two he would feel we were closer and stay.

  • avatar Gooner Gal

    Cesc should take a step back a see how cheaply this situation has been handled.

    Barca saying he belongs to them is completely untrue. Why did they not run after Merida when they heard he was available – he too has their ‘DNA’ or would they rather not take the credit on that one.

    I think Barca are threatened by the respect that Arsenal has all around the world and our growing number of fans. This is why they try to destablise us because they never want to go into a CL final again against a fully fit first team 11 on equal terms because we might just upstage and over take them with our style of play.

    Tapping up players is a tactical move to destablise the team. Along with Read Madrid, we are clearly a worry to them.

    If Pep doesn’t deliver against Mourinho in the next couple of years, he will be replaced and many players might be up for sale – not Messi, obviously, when the new manager comes in.

    Finsbury, I too am really concerned about the tactics which are being allowed by cheap teams. I does the EPL no favours. The FA not speaking up, just encourages the teams of thugs and rubbish managers. Cesc has been on the end of too many bad tackles whilst players like Gerrard are wrapped in cotton wool.

    The BBC have been serious a let down with their reporting on the Cesc saga. Whats perplexing is that there is no reason for them to carry the story – its not like they can make money of it. I have mooted the idea of writing a complaint actually.

    This is a good article.