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Premier League Betting and Odds

It was Mr Wenger who bankrupted Barca – and he can now destroy them with Cesc

By Tony Attwood

More than 17,000 people voted in a poll about the midfield of Bar Bar Barce this season.

It appears (I have to say this since my Spanish is next to non-existent) that El Mundo gave its readers 12 alternative midfield line ups and people had to vote on the ones they liked best.

The players who made up the different approaches were

  • Fábregas,
  • Sergio Busquets,
  • Xavi,
  • Andrés Iniesta,
  • Thiago Alcántara
  • Javier Mascherano.

68% went for Busquets-Xavi-Iniesta and 8% want Mascherano, Xavi and Iniesta.

In fact only 18% of the votes included Fábregas in any form at all with half of them going for Busquets-Xavi-Fábregas.

So this suggests that the fans in Barcelona don’t particularly care for our Cesc in the way that the press here have suggested they do.  And it raises further the question, what is going on.

The obvious implication of press coverage in the UK is that Barce and its fans are desperate for Cesc, but if the fans’ view is reflected by the club then this one has to wonder.   So here’s some scenarios…

1: The club want Cesc although the fans don’t. But that seems silly, since we can all see that they have got amazing options in midfield.

2: The club want Cesc as a back up, a squad player. But then do you really spend £23m (their current offer) on a squad player?  Especially when the club is so bust that it bans colour photocopying and gets rid of its bodyguards.

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3: The club don’t want Cesc at all, but are doing it because Arsenal keep buying young Barce footballers.  (I think the latest was Jon Miquel Toral Harper, and before that Ignasi Miquel – but if I have got that wrong please do correct me).

4: The club don’t want Cesc at all, but are doing it all for show – not specifically against Arsenal but to keep up the vision that Barca can disrupt anyone anytime, and that if they click their fingers players come running.  It might also be a way to deflect from their financial disaster, from which there  is no way out.  Having successfully got the press to avoid the utter embarrassment of not being able to pay players a year ago, they are doing this as a PR job.   But the money will run out soon, they have no strategy to change their finances, and everything is downhill on the money front.

5: Cesc wants to go, and doesn’t realise he will be doing a Flamini – moving from a club where he is guaranteed a game when fit, to one where he just plays the odd few minutes at the end of each match.  Seems unlikely.

6: Arsenal don’t want Cesc and are trying to get much more money for the player than he is worth.  We know he has a string of injuries, and that although when fit he is very good, maybe the situation is he just ain’t going to get fit.   So to get £25m for a player who isn’t going to hack it would be good business.  Mr Wenger has done this before, starting with Anelka and moving on through to players like Adebayor.

7:  It is Henry II.  Mr Wenger sold Henry to Barce when Barce didn’t really need him, and they ended up playing him on the wing.   He only played 80 games for Barce, despite going there for €24 million and being paid €8 million a season and then leaving for next to nothing to go the the USA.   In other words Henry cost Barca half a million Euros a game, and was a central cause of their bankruptcy.

And there we have it.  Mr Wenger has been so annoyed with the way other clubs treat Arsenal he has gone on his own mission to destroy them.  The debts that piled up as a result of Henry’s transfer can be multiplied again by selling an unwanted Cesc to Barcelona.

Of course you may not like option 7, but if not you have to opt for something in 1 to 6 and none of them really have the ring of truth to me.  But, since Mr Wenger is not going to confess, we can all have an opinion.

Tonight Mr F does not play, and according to Mr Wenger there’s quite a few injuries around.  So this is what we have left…

One of the Polish pair

Sagna/Jenkinson,  Vermaelen, Djourou, Gibbs/Traore


Rosicki, Ramsey (Lansbury as sub)

Gervinho, Chamakh, Arshavin (with Vela as sub)

Untold Arsenal

Arsenal History: the greatest errors revealed

Making the Arsenal: the birth and death of Fulham Arsenal FC

75 comments to It was Mr Wenger who bankrupted Barca – and he can now destroy them with Cesc

  • lanre

    Wouldn’t mind adding our own best striker in th world in Bendtner, with d aluminium man Almunia as a must buy for the Barce as part of the deal. This would further crash their pockets. Anyways, I don’t think Barca really need our captain half as much as we do. I believe its just a show off thing on their part. Good thing we are standing our ground on the price. BUT won’t this whole saga disrupt our August scary preparations, as all other buyings depend on this saga.

  • Alex S

    Interesting article. I just awoke from a dream whereby a Barcelona fan was putting his hand through my car window trying to pick-pocket me… I tried to punch him but I couldn’t, so just had to drive off, but he came back again and again. I guess this Cesc situation is affecting me more than I realise. Whatever the reason, if Cesc does go to Barca it’s going to make me sick seeing him in those colours and I, like every other gooner I know, have no respect left to show that club. It’s so ridiculous but I would rather see Mourinho’s club beat them with Adebayor scoring the winner (OK, maybe not that last part…). Congratulations on your fine website.

  • critic

    25 millions?? Please tony, that’s ridiculous. Cesc is worth 60m.
    If cesc is not committed to club then arsene should openly say “cesc for sale @ 70m”. It will definitely stop barca’s pursuit of cesc.

    Situation is not improving in the current environment as well. Arsenal should be in the driving position wrt cesc saga.

  • the font

    fabregas is world class if we sold him to city we would get 60 mill after settling he will be a first regular in any team in the world dont kid yourself

  • Jon Toral Harper and Hector Bellerin from Barca, this summer, i believe.

  • Charlie

    Don’t worry Alex S, you won’t see Cesc in Barcelona colours unless you watch them in some simple cup game, certainly not in the Champions League. He’ll be a bench-warmer and will come on only when Xavi or Iniesta need a rest. Eventually he’ll get fed up when he realises that his dream of playing for Barcelona has ruined his career and as a virtual unknown he’ll go and play for a team like Salamanca. Remind you of anyone ? Hleb, Adebayour, Toure, Petit, Overmars, Anelka (initially), Flamini and even the two greats, Henry and Vieira all plumetted into relative oblivion after leaving. One final thought, what are the chances of getting regular football as an injury prone back-up ? Fabregas to Barcelona has disaster written all over it.

  • Gooneraside

    8 (my own vote)
    Barca fans don’t show disrespect to their club by voting against existing players but hopefully long for the best mid-fielder in the world.
    Some Arsenal fans could learn from them (if this is in fact the case).

  • bc

    Cesc is not worth anymore than 40 and nasri no more than 20. i just want the pair of them out. id swap nasri for richards and milner. whilst insisting that affelay makes up the difference on cesc say 30 plus affelay. then i would spend that 30m on samba mertesacker parker and barton. finally with the money from the sale of clichy jet bendtner eboue and almunia i would buy lukaku and campbell. for me that is all doable business and would give us a far stronger squad.

  • Danny

    Can’t see that being anywhere near correct. Wenger would need Jedi mind tricks, (wave of the hand) you do want to buy cesc, but if this were the case with another wave of his hand he could unload bendtner and the rest of rubbish, not to mention he could have stopped the rot last season when as predictably as night following day the march meltdown arrived!

  • Charlesi

    I annoys me to hear that our improving the squad depends on the fab/nasri transfer saga. Whatever happened to the monies available for transfer that wenger never used? And how does that affect wenger not doing something about our defence? We have seen from preseason that our problens are not offensive but defensive. We need 2 solid CBs if we are to make anything of the new season. Sorry Djorou and squllaci should join the reserves. They are not first team materials. Fab/nasri can go for all I care we will do very well without them but onky if we do something about the defence.

  • With Cesc and Nasri I am increasingly reminded of Flamini – many saying he was gold dust and we should do anything to keep him – he leaves and never got anywhere near the level he had with us in that final season. Maybe Mr Wenger believes that either or both these players have only got one season left in them.

    Or perhaps it is a great ploy to bankrupt other clubs who are so stupid that they don’t see what’s going on.

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony you have really, really undervalued the Euros that Mr Wenger has extracted from FC Barcelona. From Overmars + make weight to Henry and Hleb the total sales values were over €100 millions. I believe Mr Wenger is hoping to make this €150 millions.

  • haily

    I take option 3 and barca is right to get him back just to kick wengers ass I LOVE IT

  • Jonny

    Tony – interesting article but your analysis of option 5 rings untrue. He does want to go. Desperately. It’s sad but true and tangibly obvious.

  • chris

    I don’t think for one minute Wenger is punishing Barca. It is Barca punishing Arsenal. Outraged at us (legally) signing their young teenage stars. Barca know they can keep the disruptive uncertainty going near to the end of the transfer window.

    Then they can :

    > Agree the right money too late for us to reinvest OR

    > Not agree the right money, not sign Cesc and blame Arsenal

    I reckon that is why we now agree to let Nasri go – so we do have money to reinvest. Barca have us over a barrel.

  • Marc

    If Nasri goes to Man City he will have 1 season as first choice followed by a season as a bit part player as they will have bought the latest / next wonder player. He will then end up at a smaller club as a good player he never realised his potential. If he were to stay at Arsenal he would become truly world class. The frustration of all of this is that it seems to be a constant thing and we never seem to be able to build on a settled squad.

    I don’t know the actually ins and outs of what’s happening with Cesc but Arsenal’s valuation (circa £35 – £40 million) is not unreasonable. Barca are doing the player no favours with thier constant claims when they do little to back them up. I almost feel sorry for him. It’s like a pretty girl giving you the come on, leading you to her bed room and then asking you to move her bed for her. The problem is the uncertainty it causes around the club and affects our own transfer plans.

    An area where we seem to have lost the ability to get deals done without them being all over the media and dragging on for weeks or months. Not the Arsenal way of doing things.

  • Gooneraside


    Maybe the opposite is true – Arsene refuses to sell before he has a viable option?

  • jeremy

    Tony & Walter, Many thanks for this blog, it is fresh air in the polluted blogsphere.

    it is a real worry that Cesc could do a Hleb or Flamini at Barcelona and my reason is simples, Every player needs games to improve otherwise they get rusty, it is an open secret that Cesc could easily find himself as 3rd choice given the step us by their young prodigy Thiago, if that happens then Cesc will only deteriorate and eventually end up like Hleb. Sad actually when you imagine what could have become of Flamini or hleb had they stayed..


    yeah!!!! your article is true because it seems Barca fan doesent care whether they buy Fabrigas or noy.

  • Allan

    I think Cesc will probably only be a bit part player this season but will be a replacement for the aging Xavi next season, as a Barca boy born and bred I think he would be happy to accept that.
    It was always going to be a risk having so many foreign players as most would have grown up supporting european teams, Hleb dreamed of Barca, Flamini dreamed of Italy and its always been obvious Cesc would want to go back to Barca if he became good enough. This is all too predictable and we should (i think wenger sees this now) have more British players who are more likely to be inclined to stay at the club. I maintain the biggest mistake Wenger has made was letting go of all the dedicated players like Vierra and Pires was a huge mistake as they could have helped to instil some dedication for the club as people like Scholes and Giggs have done at the scum.

  • Matt

    Interesting article as always. Thanks Tony. Yet another option is that Fabregas is perceived by Barcarole as a dressing room addition. He is loved by the players. He is a missing piece in their dream team. They were together as kids and winning things and playing around with Fab is a good moral booster for the team that has won almost everything. To Barca Fab is a christmas puppy for the kids. How much are they willing to pay for is the question. The Barca board is realistic about the price, the players want him but don’t care whether they buy, steal of just have him run to them. Fab’s case is not football business it is case of a present for the lads.

  • ndamgoba


  • Shard

    I agree with Jonny.. Cesc wants to go and is pushing his move through. I see no other explanation for Arsenal not being more firm during this whole thing. I wouldn’t sell him for less than 40m though. Even that is a steal for Barca. I hope we get Mata and sell Nasri. Beyond that, if Cesc goes, we must reinvest that money and buy a striker and a defender. That would leave me satisfied with the transfer business. Still, we’ll see what happens. The signs today, with Cesc and Nasri being left out of the team, don’t look good. I’m still excited about the new season though. It’s about Arsenal, not Cesc.

  • ndamgoba victor


  • BnT

    Great blog tony, real great.

  • FunGunner

    I’d say 4 and 5, with a touch of 3. Cesc definitely wants to go, Barca don’t really need him but quite like the fact that the drawn-out negotiations are screwing up our preparation for the season. The arrogance around that club is truly of gargantuan proportions. I suspect they love the idea that they can take key players for us – and put them on their bench.

  • The Blaze

    Didn’t we also sell Petit to them?

  • @shard,
    if wesley goes to city for $35m, you are correct in valuing cesc at $40m. playmakers are few and far between. cesc, wesley, ozil, mata, alcantara, jack and xavi are the finest of the breed and are the bow to every team’s violin. nasri’s assist level doesn’t even get him in the second tier with adams, silva, modric and an overworked essien.

    if i were cesc, i would wait until xavi runs out of steam in two years, then write my ticket at barca provided alcantara or some other young buck doesn’t get there first. cesc has got to know he would be first on the team sheet at arsenal for another seven years. he could become the scholes of arsenal and i mean that in a good way. but if he wants to roll the dice and do a flamini, i say let him. lose nasri, throw a bucket of cash at mata and pay cesc to sit and think.

    we can afford to; barca can’t. ain’t life a bitch?

  • Have we even received all the money from the hleb and henry transfers yet?

  • Domhuaille

    Everyone here is overlooking one important factor about Cesc. He is a Catalan, born and bred in Catalyuna and a native speaker. Why is this important? Because their history and culture are almost diametrically opposed to the majority and dominant Castillan traditions, particularly since the civil war ended.
    Therefore it is not simply Cesc & Barcelona, it is Cesc and his Catalan roots. This is what Barcelona DNA really means,since many of the Barca players are Catalans as well. Therefore, like a marooned ex-pat who longs for the green grass of home, Cesc, while loving the Arsenal, is drawn inevitably back to his spiritual home and family.
    The cretins at Barca know this and are playing on his sentiments and loyalties because they think they can get a cheap deal while obtaining a squad player who can replace any of their 3 midfielders one day.
    Arsenal are in the driver’s seat only in the sense that they can name the price but Barca’s temper tantrums and incessant, brazen tippy-tapping up of our captain is totally ignored by EUFA or FIFA, as well as the FA so business as usual for the Catalans. If I remember correctly Rosell was elected ona promise of bringing Cesc back?

  • menace

    For what it’s worth – Arsenal do not need to sell anyone to create funds to buy. So the assumption that Nasri is being sold for funds to purchase Sheikh Rattle n’ Roll is wrong.

    There are players that Wenger is keen on to enhance his team. He has advised the club and they will negotiate and complete the transaction. Wenger does not accept inflated egos nor inflated prices. Wenger is a very astute businessman and an unusual coach. His efforts have taken Arsenal to a position that billionairs spend fortunes to attain.

    Man City and Chelsea have not attained the sub structure of Arsenal and are liable to fold within the next few years. Arsenal are on a very sound and stable footing and have not risked the club for success.

  • bob

    Couldn’t agree more with you on our need for a quality defender and striker. Where’s the dosh? – in sales of Nasri, Bendtner, Almunia and the OTHER money that is [or should be] already in hand from you name it (Adebayor, etc., which doesn’t ever come up in discussion) As for Cesc, I agree he wants out and, on balance, bringing in those who want to be here versus the steady entropy on psyche, spirit and training time by having these stay can’t help but undermine our chemistry as time rushes in and the terrible trio of scheduling opens its jaws. As for Cesc, I’d now get rid of him for 35M because time, objectively speaking is against us. To that extent Barca will have “won.” But, at this point (and I never thought I’d say it), keeping him is doing us more harm than losing him. And he does seem injury-prone and more frequently. And he’s been and remains a target for EPL agro-brutes which only adds to the health issues, which is not his fault. However, I would not let him go UNLESS Barca puts up cash right up front and has cleared all its past outstanding debt to us. (Do you does anyone really know?) Let the father-son bond be dissolved and let’s splash all of the above funds on the striker/defender combination that we both agree are actually necessary – and now, with the 3 matches rushing in on us. Would love to hear your thoughts….

  • Thanks to everyone for an interesting on-going discussion. Just a couple of bits to add…

    I do understand about the Catalan spirit and self-belief and identity, (I think DNA is a silly expression for it) but the fact is that in the national team Cesc is a late-on sub, and with a very similar line up in the Barca side there is every chance he will be the same. He must know that there is at least a risk that he will just be a sub, and get fewer games.

    I’d also add that Barca have not upped their offer since all this started, which surely is rather odd if they really want him, knowing that Arsenal want to hold on to him too.

    On a different tack, I guess Ryo could be in the squad since the game is outside the UK.

    And we’ve had the usual number of emails from people wanting to use an article like this to shout a load of “Arsene out” stuff. Guys, if you read the site rules, you would know that if you don’t stick to the subject of the original post, you don’t get published. Sending in endless texts saying “why am I in moderation?” doesn’t get you anywhere either.

  • Rog B

    @Tony,good article,with all those options you gave I can see this discussion running all weekend,nice one. Ignasi was let go by Barca at academy level and went to another spanish team, can’t remember who,was given first team opportunites,shined and then Barca came back in for him realising they had let a talent go. At the same time Arsenal came in for him and he chose us over them eventhough Barca was his boyhood club That might help give backing to options 1, 3 and 4. I think options 1-7 are all very relevent and possible. Great stuff

  • bob

    p.s. Alcantara may be the X-factor here and the fans and Barca may well know it. Why would Barca pay 40M for Cesc on the bench when in two years they may well have “the next Cesc” on the pitch. If OUR scouts agree, then we need to sell Cesc say to Madrid who will give us a king’s ransom for their opportunity to stick it to Barca. This is really cold-hearted on my part, but the Arsene-Cesc emotional bond (the difficulty on both sides to finally leave home, so to speak) has been undermining us severely as we go into this next season of the Rednose 20 and I, for one, want us to be a ruthless competitor to prevent Lord Football’s ascension to the throne.

  • Marc

    This is not about Cesc wanting to leave. This is about him having 4 years (Please correct me if I’m wrong) left on his contract and being one of the best players in the world. Arsenal are willing to sell at a certain price that is not out of place when you look at some of the money piad elsewhere. Andy Carroll for £35 million anyone?

    As for the stories of Cesc going on strike I don’t believe them. If they are true then on principle Arsenal should tell Barca to fuck off and keep Cesc for another year. If he refuses to play don’t pay his wages adn let him train alone. Arsenal are bigger than any player or group of players.

    It’s time we acted like we know this.

  • sad

    Well if we do sell him i hop we tip them over the edge and they go bankrupt. that his wage is so high the club will die slowly.
    The irony, cesc coming home to ruin his own clu.

  • sad

    oh and if City does indeed buy Sneijder. Where does Nasri fit in?

  • Marc

    He doesn’t. On a serious note how big is Man City’s squad. Where do they fall on the 25 man rule?

  • bob

    nice one. i’ve evolved or devolved to the point where we should stick it to Barca by selling Cesc to Madrid for galactico money and then make a serious run at Alcantara or whoever we NEED to splash on – preferably a striker/defender duo. I feel that, to be objective, Cesc has been undermining us with his stand and that, if business is business, we should sell him to Barca’s mortal enemy and thank them for the choke-jobs on the pitch at Camp Nous last season and all their slow-torture tapping of us from this season. Can’t believe I’m at this point now, but it’s time that we act in a massive way that helps us and to me, let’s explore this deal and reap the windfall benefits as soon as possible.

  • bob

    p.s. and, btw, there’s nothing “unsustainable” about the Cesc to Madrid scenario. Just thought I’d float that trial balloon.

  • chris

    Actually we bought Ignasi Miquel from UE Cornellà. Barca released him in 2004, he went to UE Cornellà stayed there for 4 years and in 2008 both Arsenal and Barcelona were in for him but he chose Arsenal over Barcelona. He said it in an iterview too( i can’t find the link to that interview right now.)

  • Prabal Rakshit

    Cesc’s valuation of 40m is a shade generous by Arsenal because both both the parties Arsenal and Barca know that Cesc does not have any destination other than Nou Camp. Arsene and Cesc prize each other’s relationships very highly and putting Cesc up for a higher bid from Real M, Man City etc. would make sense from an outsider’s point of view, but I don’t think it will ever happen. I remember seeing a Cesc interview sometime back where he mentioned that he owes to no one in his life except his mother, father and Arsene wenger. He is ever grateful to Arsene for letting him lead a midfield at the age of 16. That could be a reason why he has not put a transfer request yet and the Barca propaganda machine has been milking this to the fullest. It sounds very easy for Arsene to ask Barca to get lost because Cesc has a contact till 2014, but I think there is more than what meets the eye.

    Having said that I do not agree with the assertion that Cesc will be a bit player in Barca’s hierarchy. This could be true for the first season which might be used for him to get used to the team, but Guardiola and his assistants know very well, that Cesc is one of the very few players who can really improve his already awesome midfield. Cesc has the ability to score goals as well as provide assists from various different positions. He is better than what Xavi was at his age. Xavi has 4-5 years of quality football left in him (barring injuries). This would mean a 27-28 year old Fabregas being able to take reins of the Barca midfield, once Xavi is gone. If Barca get hold of Fab now they can ease him to Xavi’s role. That is a reason why Barca is not willing to wait till 2014, where they can have Cesc for free.

    Cesc is vastly experienced for his age (played >200 matches for arsenal). His passing and assists have split open almost all English teams, most of which have much tighter defences than their La Liga counterparts. With his hamstring willing (of course), he can play havoc in La Liga. No less than Johan Cruyff feels the same way.

    Having said that, I still hope Arsene would be able to show him reasons to stay. It would be a great coup if he does. But the lack of silverware would be gnawing hard at whatever decision Cesc takes.

  • bob

    You’re reasoning is sound, but I still want to push back to keep the wheels turning. There’s the Alcantara factor in which he may be the buzz goes “the next Cesc.” And he’s there. And Barca is short of funds already, on its backer, the Spanish government is sadly in dire financial straits. So, I don’t Barca being hell-bent to have to close this deal on our terms. Secondly, the Cesc-Arsene, two-fathers-one son drama is now not only a tired soap opera – I didn’t feel this way last season, but now do – but is undermining Arsenal itself. I know that Cesc to Madrid won’t happen, but, objectively speaking, if we were to get a galactico payback for the transaction and stick it to Barca for last season’s nastiness on the pitch and this season’s too-frequent player-tapping (such as their photo-op crap when we gave them our training facilities prior to the CL Championship) would be emotionally satisfying (however primitive, yes) for more than one Arsenal fan. I think it’s time we showed some ruthlessness on our own behalf.

  • Johnny Deigh

    I’d say that Pep definitely wants Cesc, though he may not need him urgently. Sandro is in probably it for posturing and maybe a sweetener for himself.

    As to Flamini, he was a useful player, a good defensive player, but he was in no way a superstar. Cesc is in a whole other league.

    With Barça’s midfield as it is, he probably wouldn’t be playing 90 minutes week in and week out, but he would still likely be playing 25 minutes one match 65-90 minutes the next.

  • Murad


    I honestly believe they put themselves into a situation where they showed an earlier interest – and then realized they couldn’t afford it, Fab may have honestly got interested but the media hype around has put them into a situation from which they cannot back down. It may be an ego issue from being a champion club (got to admire the achievement over the past few years) but its become a point of no return.

    Maybe a string of ‘stupid’ bids and they might put the blame on Arsenal in the end game.

    So the questions becomes: “has the massive media hype started to hurt barca?, is that why they are trying to hush things up?, why would they try to make a deal behind closed doors after the fuss over the past two years?”

  • bob

    very sorry: meant to write above: “and its backer, the Spanish government” and also, “so I don’t think Barca…”

  • bob

    Along the lines of your 4th scenario:
    Isn’t Barca’s financing in no small part dependent on the backing or subsidy or tax breaks from the Spanish government? And, if so, with Spain and Italy now (alas) on the financial ropes, would that not objectively scupper any serious Barca bid for Cesc? And if so that they would be covering up their de facto mortal wounds by continuing this Cesc Farce, no? And, if so, wouldn’t Arsene as Economist not want to maximize Barca’s vulnerability by wresting a massive deal – perhaps with even a threat of selling Cesc to Madrid? In Arsene’s shoes, right now I would settle for 30M up front, repaying any arrears from the past, plus Alcantara (“the next Cesc”) as the make weight. And what’s value added: that this soap opera comes to an immediate end and stops undermining our essential need which is to adequately prepare for a harrowing start of the season.

  • Raymond

    Please Tony or anybody who knows should tell me the answer to this very simple question.
    If Cesc Fabregas submits a transfer request, Will Arsenal be forced to sell him to Barcelona or put him for sale to the highest bidder? Thanks.

  • Marc

    Murad – In what way are Barca trying to hush things up? Jesus -All they have to do is put in a bid and await the outcome – Yes they sign the player – No they either turn their attention elsewhere or come up with a higher bid. It’s pretty simple. The way they have conducted themselves as a club is nothing short of disgusting. What makes it worse is that as a football team they are often beautiful to watch and many premiership clubs should aspire to even try to play football let alone football of that standard. A reason why the English national team will remain so poor for the unforeseeable future.

    I don’t know what Barca are up to. Do they really want the player? Are they trying to get revenge? Are they run by a group of feckless halfwits? The fact is they are doing Arsenal and Cesc damage in the process of what ever they are up to.

  • Ugandan Goon

    The one important factor missing from this whole sorry saga are the thoughts of the man at the centre of it all, yes i mean cesc. The blogs and press have pilloried the poor sod without the slightest evidence that he wants this or that, he like all of us are awaiting settlement of the issue at a higher level than he is privy to.
    We have let ourselves down by reacting to the constant baiting by media and coming out with the sort of “support” that belongs in Tottenham half of north London, shame on all of us.
    Sermon over, just like to say that barca may be champions, but one accolade no one seems to attach to readily to them, that in my humble opinion, describes them best is “cheating divers”.

  • Murad


    Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta:
    “We won’t comment on the negotiations for Fabregas. We will have time for that.

    “We must be respectful of the club Cesc belongs to. You just have to let things happen without being optimistic or pessimistic.” (skysports)

    agreed the attitude has generally been disgusting, but recently their public comments seem to have dried up, and I feel they might not be optimistic on getting Cesc.

    I am not getting optimistic that Cesc will stay at Arsenal this season, Barca never really had to convince him, they just launched a media and PR war to try to get the player on the cheap, Arsenal didn’t give into the pressure and they will start to pull back.

  • bob

    Ugandan Goon,
    Say what? Don’t “shame on everyone”, over
    their supposed cruelty to Cesc and their gullibility to the media. Hello, if Cesc clearly wants to stay, then he only has to rein in his agent, Dein the Lesser, and say “stop, game over”.
    If Cesc wants to stay, there’s no circus. People don’t hear or see that from him and they’re very upset. What can you possibly be talking about? Go beat on the press, not the supporters. There’s enough distress on this whole fiasco than to have you pile on and stick the clear in. Your “logic” is beyond comprehension.

  • bob

    p.s. sorry: “stick the cleat in” is what I mean, and worse.

  • Ugandan Goon

    Hi bob,
    shhh… silence is golden, a maxim cesc obviously understands better than most.
    And speaking of logic, isn’t everyone entitled to a defence and judgement held until the defendant is heard especialy when lets say his accusers have been wrong before almost once a month over three years?

  • Ugandan Goon

    The isatiable media will not leave this story alone because it alllows them to stick the cleat into arsenal by claiming fabregas “wants” to go to a championship winning side= arsenal are too shit for fabregas, fabregas needs a club that matches his ambition= arsenal don’t want to spend because they are happy with fourth place. trying to find logical consistency from what is reported about most clubs is pure folly and our captain and one of our best players deserves a lot more respect from us and we must start by respecting ourselves rather than squealing like stuck pigs every time the so often mischief making hostile press stick it to us.

  • Shard

    @Ugandan Goon

    Admirable thoughts, and you know what.. despite what I think about Cesc’s role in this ‘saga’, I’m willing to second you on that. Let’s just wait and see what happens. It’s frustrating and we’re probably all on edge now with the new season about to start, but let’s just take it as it comes. Newcastle away in one week. I can’t wait for it. I want some competitive action now. Enough with the chest beating and the moaning.

  • Ugandan Goon

    Thank you, Shard.
    All this talk is just that talk, no one here has so much as smelled a fabregas fart much less talked to him to gauge what sort of respect he has for the club, so what are we doing castigating the player, our captain ffs?
    It has been easy to point at barcelona and call them classless bastards, but to be simplistic where as arsenal fans do we stand if not jostling them for top spot in that particular category?

  • jbh

    Re Cesc AW is playing a clever game. Lets look at the facts. Barca hate Arsenal, they are annoyed that they lost Cesc in the first place and now have lost Toral and Bellini. Arsenal refused to play ball with Cesc last summer and to top it off Arsenal are a perennial opponent in the CL (and beat them this past season). Its not as much hate as say with RM, but they still hate Arsenal. Anyway the good news is that AW is using that hate to Arsenal’s advantage. Second key fact is that Cesc wants to go.
    AW made it clear that he will fight to keep Cesc, but he is up against Barca and Cesc (and a lot of stupid Arsenal fans it seems). Rather than push for an early resolution AW is delaying a potential deal for as long as possible (in response to the question AW said “the deadline is 31 Aug”). The change this year is that he is making all the moves that indicate he is pandering to the demands of Barca when in fact he is not. So he tells Cesc to not go on the Asia tour or to Cologne/Benfica indicating willingness to do the deal and most importantly indicating to Cesc that he is serious about listening to Barca’s offer. Barca (and this is where the hate comes in) mistakenly think that Arsenal are serious about selling Cesc and stick to their low ball offer, and make noises about being patient until 31 Aug (figuring that AW will relent late in the window). This also causes the most disruption to Arsenal as they lose their captain too late to do anything meaningful in the tsf window. But the longer it goes on the more it is obvious to Cesc that he is not that highly valued by Barca, while this is not a key point in Cesc’s mind – Arsenal will use it. Arsenal are using AW and PHW comments in the media cleverly against Barca as well. PHW a couple of weeks ago said “I suppose if we get a very high offer we will listen to it”. Arsenal have not put a figure on Cesc’s head and the media is only guessing what they will accept. We’ve seen Euro 35m, 40m and 45m and £35, £40m and £45m mentioned in the media (and they are all guesses). So Arsenal are in a strong position to reject whatever Barca offer up to the final deadline date. Making cosy comments in the media about Cesc being “unsettled” and “suppose we listen to an offer”, and not playing Cesc are for Barca’s benefit and encourage them to bid, but bid low. The more Barca put stupid comments out about being short of funds, limits, and being patient the more likely they will fail. If they were smart they would ensure they complete a deal early rather than late. But with their hatred for Arsenal and irrational desire to get a “cheap” deal, getting one over Arsenal is part of their plan.
    Re the key question of keeping Cesc happy with Arsenal. AW is giving Cesc every opportunity by giving him an extended summer break, leaving him out of the tours, bringing him to fitness slowly (he needs some rehabilitation in any event), and missing some pre season games (which he is not needed for). When the time comes late in the window (maybe even on the 31st) Arsene can quite clearly say he has done all he can to give Barca the opportunity to buy him. So if they stick with low bids which Arsenal are unhappy with then Arsenal have a meaningful strategy to keep him and keep him happy. He looked very sharp and happy playing in the practice matches last Thursday at the open day – so there was no reason to not have him in Portugal unless he was sending a message to Barca and to Cesc.
    So my thinking is that Cesc stays but Nasri is sold.

  • jbh

    Also the so called best players in the world (Messi/Xavi) have said (repeatedly) that Cesc will fit right in so he must therefore also be one of the best players in the world – and must accordingly go for a world class fee. Only logical – right?

  • Nabil Danial

    You know what Tony, you’re wrong! We never poach Miquel from them, its them who throw him away to UE Cornella. We bought him from Cornella, not from the BarShit!

  • bob

    Hi Ugandan Goon,
    your “silence = respect” is just the other side of the same bad coin as media disinformation. both take the oxygen from the room… with consequences worse than folly if you might ever try to think it through.

  • goonergerry

    Its an interesting thought Tony-but I don’t attribute Barcelona’s perennial desire to unsettle and buy our best players as being some fiendishly cunning plan of Arsene Wenger’s to bankrupt them. Players agents and the players themselves are hardly passive in this process. Fabregas is only one small part of a very unsatisfactory situation for Arsenal at the moment. We can’t get rid of 3 or 4 players who the club want to sell because we are paying them too much. Our 2 best midfield players are clearly wanting to leave and we seem unable to sign the defenders the club has been needing for the past 3 years.
    The root cause of this is very likely to be in the wage structure-and it has to change if the club is to move forwards. Why are all frustrations about this situation being dumped on Arsene Wenger’s desk? What is Gazidis’ role? He looks to me to be out of his depth in top level football. Fabregas is a good player-but any player is replaceable-unless of course you can’t pay enough to replace them.

  • Alex

    HAHA I like option 7, serves those catalan b*st*rds right!!

  • Ugandan Goon

    @hi bob,
    if the media had taken cescs silence to mean that he respected both clubs and their managers then i’d happily live in that vacuum.
    The point i was trying to make was apart from wenger’s comment I haven’t heard anything else to substantiate the rumours that the player could be on strike, that he is holding the club to ransom etc etc and by the way wenger only confirmed that a catalan loves barcelona and crucially arsenal.
    As for for sucking the energy out the room, i plead the defence that my comment was posted close to kick off, most people would be watching the match rather than furiously blogging hence the drop off.
    P.s i do love your energy and take your points on board but i will so often stick the cleat in, as you say. I get this shit all day at work from everyone, I can just about muster another “it is not a fact, it is only a supposition”- but on a serious note there is a serious need for a revision ofthe debate considering our favourite “ordinary” fans are going to start the season by booing our captain, they’ve done it before and i wouldn’t put past them to do it again.

  • Davinci

    Just a thought. Spare some time and look around. Listen to the news. Is the world economy doing good? No. Is the US dollar doing any better? No! How about the Euro? Neither! Naturally when the the major currencies are not doing great, a wise investor would hold on to what s/he has. This is possibly the worst time for a company to go into debt – coz it just might be much harder to dig yourself out.

    Back to football, the natural big spender – Chelsea – has not been very active despite its aging squad. And Liverpool – let’s just say that after the silly purchase of Andy Caroll, there is no way they will ever splash that kind of money again. Manchester City are fuelled by oil money, but given what is happening to the Middle East now, it is only a matter of time. Even in Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona have not splashed that much money. The only team that has spent – and spent really big – is Man U.

    When the ‘buy buy more players’ brigade shouts at Wenger, sometimes I wonder if people are reading the news. I may not be surprised if Wenger does not buy players. I may not be surprised also, if Man-U goes into serious debt in the coming years. I may also not be surprised if Man City is sold to another investor at a throw-away price – or worse still, forced to sell players at a low price, just to offload the wage bill. I may also not be surprised if Chelsea adapt the policy of bringing young players through the ranks instead of buying finished products (they are already doing this I presume).

    Those are my thoughts . . . . . .

  • Doublegooner

    Goody Goody…

    Arsene is trying to ruin Barca….

    He’s multi talented as he’s already ruined Arsenal.

    Once he’s sold them Cesc, fortunately he’ll be gone in the summer so at least he wont have to fight off Jack wanting out in 12/18 months.

  • Doublegooner


    Have you prayed to your deluded leader Arsene this morning yet ?

    Or do you wait for his profit, sorry Prophet Tony to tell you when ?

  • bob

    Ugandan Goon,
    I do admire your insisting in daily life that something is speculation when the many wind-up toys spout back what their winders intend. It’s brave, and fair play on that score, mate! I agree that booing Cesc if he’s still captain or even still on side would be close to our collectively hitting bottom. (And the Sun and AAA will no doubt be there at the Ems to lead and then “objectively” document the booing that they’ve done their unfair share to whip into a frenzy). At that point, not booing Cesc would be a silence worth keeping, and I’d do the same. And we would, for the good of the side, need to pull together behind him that way — if it comes to that.

    But silence is an action. It speaks. Its meanings can be a show of unity, as you intend it to be, or a craven blind faith in the tooth fairy or something worse. I also hope that if it ends up that Cesc is still with us, that he would understand that his silence this summer has put Arsenal fans through grief, and that some booing (and hopefully not massive booing) would surely be understandable. But also, at that point, to realize that the best way to then silence the boos would be to fully re-commit on the pitch to help put Arsenal back in the win column. But also to realize that many of the boos are not merely disrespect, but because a lot of non-AAA fans have also been advocating, heart and soul and quite ethically, for changes that have not yet been forthcoming. And some of that advocacy for changes go back to last January’s transfer window, and they were right then.

    As one writer here said a few days ago, being a real Arsenal fan is not for the faint of heart. It’s now becoming tragic (in a human and sports sense, though by no means anywhere near the level of the real-world’s drought and starvation – for some needed perspective), especially as the two-fathers-one son scenario seems to have undermined our pre-season, especially as it (seems to) be consuming the full-focus training time and stability that ideally we’d want to face down this very tough (if not diabolically-designed) schedule that now bares its teeth and fangs. Perhaps this week – as Arsene has hinted – will in fact see the very big things that he mentioned in this past Friday’s press conference. If not, I fear that that the fathers-and-son scenario may well have caused the good ship Arsenal to have run aground before the season to be is three weeks old. And – for many with no power, but who have advocated with insight and love for our side – that might be a good time for booing, imho. Why? Because promises were made to such supporters for this transfer window that do need to be redeemed. Courage.

  • bob

    I think you’re at minimum foolish to blindly (if not cruelly) rubbish Davinci’s concerns about the need to stay afloat as a team (let alone as people) in a worsening economy. If you don’t care a fig about this, I have to wonder about your IP address.
    I think you’re at minimum naive to think that fans – who as people are surely suffering from the worsening economy – will sacrifice (or can justify the sacrifice of) their money on a side that resembles our second half at Benefica. Hopefully that display was only a prelude (perhaps to evaluate how our boys respond to serious veteran pressure) to a forthcoming week that begins to right the ship, as Arsene seems to have promised this last Friday.

  • Charlie

    Who cares what happens to Barcelona when our own team is facing a season out of the Champions League if they don’t dramatically improve on their current form. A season will probably turn into 2, 3, 4 unless something is done. I have kept coming back to this site to avoid all the negativity on others but after the way this summer has gone i find myself agreeing with them. CL qualification was acceptable in the financial circumstances but Europa League is a fall too far. My support for the club will never wane. My support for the manager is very much starting to disappear.

  • Ugandan Goon

    You seem to suggest that there are circumstances where a 24 year old man should be booed, a shy, reticent talented lad should be subjected to public haranguing because of the actions of others. we have been treated to opinions from all quarters, while he has chosen to keep mum.
    I, like many arsenal fans would have wished for a statement in the most strident tone telling barcelona to cock off, from the club or the player but that’s not what grown ups do, well not well brought up grown ups anyway. it might be a matter of opinion but i think there is only one way to handle the media and certain sections of the “supporters” and that is to keep mum and let them cover themselves in their own soil if pleases them (in the Münchhausen by proxy sense), personal dignity is something that the press have led us to believe is a public commodity- hacking dead children’s phones is just one such example.
    Shouldn’t we wait till the player is sold before we start bleating? what possible positive action is going to result from speculating on transactions we are not privy to.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    To coin a phrase, the best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour. Cesc is a very private person anyway so about the only things we know about him are based on his actions. He left Barcelona as a teenager because he wanted to play first team football. No-one forced him into moving (unlike Miquel), he made the move on his terms. I would conclude that he is smart enough to weigh up the pros and cons of a move. When it is right for him to go to Barcelona, on his terms, he will ask to leave. He will go to Barca as the saviour of the club and a Catalan hero, not some bench warming bit part player in a popularity contest.

  • bob

    Ugandan Goon,
    If you read what I wrote, I’m saying not to boo Cesc and that it is understandable and inevitable that some will boo him (as you know); but, that if he stays, the way for him to silence those boo-birds would be to fully commit to being the great player he is and to the success of the side. You, amigo, have read what serves you into my analysis, ok – but I’m not your straw man if you try and read more carefully.

  • Limestonegunner

    I think it is a good insight to question whether Barca are really committed to acquiring Cesc. They aren’t putting much money forward and have used what they have both of the last two summers for higher priority players, letting Cesc languish in the middle. Perhaps they feel he deserves to suffer a bit for his teenage treason in signing with Arsenal, which seems to have led other Barca academy players to leave as well.

    However, your explanation is really quite farfetched. The idea that Wenger is plotting financial ruin of Barca (or any club for that matter) is pretty ludicrous since they do a great job of overspending on their own and Arsenal have enough to worry about without waging some strange financial war. The sad but more realistic possibility is that Barca are petty and vengeful enough to trouble, disrupt, and unsettle a team that has sold them players that have cost them more than their value, taken several young academy players, and played them toughest in the CL the last couple of years. The point is that they have seized the initiative despite our long-term contract with the player, unsettled Cesc, and delayed our preparations in many ways–Wenger is certainly not in control of this situation the way you fantasize. If he is, it is a high price to pay to cause Barca harm since it does more harm to us on the pitch and it isn’t clear the money will help us that much. So there isn’t any good reason to draw out this drama for Arsenal.