Let’s (not) talk about Cesc; the end of season supporters’ meeting

Let’s (not) talk about Cesc Ivan:

Arsenal supporters end of season event

Last night, as a member of Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn  I went along to the Emirates for the annual end of season Q&A with Ivan Gazidis and a trio of Arsenal legends. Having enjoyed a glass of wine courtesy of the club and watched five minutes of video highlights of the season Nigel (the guy that is incoherent at pitch side on match days) introduced the panel.

Ivan got warm applause but Pat Rice got a standing ovation. He looked well by the way, and was soon joined by Perry Groves and Graham Rix (supplier of that cross in that final). The FA Cup and women’s FA Cup were both on show and lots of people queued to get their own ‘selfie’ with the silverware.

The panel were asked for their highlights of season. Pat said it was beating tottnum twice (cue cries of ‘three times’ Pat!) but it shows what matters to him. After that it was winning a trophy and the emergence of Aaron Ramsey.

Pat is clearly very proud of Aaron and remembered talking to him in the days following that tackle. He said ‘that you can say it will be alright but it’s only words’.

Perry echoed Pat’s sentiments and thought Santi’s goal was the most important single goal in the season – because without that we might not have clawed our way back into the final. He also mentioned Kos and the fact that winning the FA cup shuts everyone up.

They were asked about where we need to strengthen and Pat said we need a second keeper, and a forward (strong applause) and a right back (if Bacary goes…but he has Pat, he has). But he added that he know Arsène well and Arsène  will look for quality. There is no use just buying for the sake of buying. Rixie wants us to sign a star – like Suarez. Or indeed Suarez. Yes buy Suarez! Perry told us to send Yaya Toure a World Cup ‘good luck’ card, as it might tip the balance and persuade him to sign for us!

Ivan talked about the developments we are making off the pitch. The club are investing in youth development with money being spent at London Colney and at the under 16s centre at Hale End. He wants to reach a state where half the first team are drawn from within; Perry said if get 2-3 that would be a brilliant achievement. Everyone agreed we have the nucleus of a very good side and the team spirit is the best it’s been for a long time.

Then it was over to the floor.

There was an interesting question about plastic pitches and a very important statement about homophobia and the fact that Arsenal are leading the field in stamping it out. But the question on everyone’s lips was obvious:

Is Cesc coming home, because even if we don’t need him do we really want to see him in a blue shirt (dark or light blue)?

Ivan dealt with this quite well. He told us he can’t discuss individual targets – we have lots and we are making good progress with them. He defended our transfer policy and our team of negotiators. We have bags of experience and while he accepts that the media say lots of stuff most (if not all) of it is rubbish. The Ozil deal took months; it wasn’t last minute at all. This echoes what Tony has said on here before, vapour trails, misinformation and not letting our rivals know what we are up to. Pat agreed.

Gazidis (and Perry) said we need to look at the Cesc thing from a footballing perspective. Does he improve the team? If we spend £30m on midfield when Arsène  has a ‘tight budget’ (Gazidis’ words) then is that the best way to use the money? Rix didn’t think it would undermine the team because you always want competition and he’s a great player. He added that after that cup victory in 1979 we sold Brady and then Stapleton and you need to improve not go backwards.

But do we need Fabregas? If I trusted my gut I would say the message here was he’s not coming home. Let’s hope Guardiola rescues him instead.  [Since the meeting it appears from the media that Arsenal have said no to Barcelona.]

Ivan was asked (by Geoff from AST I think) if he thought  FFP would work. Ivan thought it was already making a difference but we’d have to see. It’s not about chucking teams out of the CL in his opinion; it’s about bringing ‘the arms race under control’. Rixie believes fines will have no effect; unless and until UEFA start docking points clubs will flout the rules.

Finally I asked Ivan whether there were plans to put up a statue of Tony and he said there were but the sculptor was struggling to create an image that did justice to his quick dancing feet. The statue of Walter is under discussion but they are worried it might start swearing too much…

But seriously folks, there was a good attendance last night, and if you want to get involved with one of the supporters clubs such as AISA, Red Action or AST then you could be there this time next season.

It’s now 50 (or 49 depending on when Tony puts this up) days till we play NY Red Bulls so not long till we see the team on the pitch again. Hurrah!


The latest stories are listed on the right of this page
For today’s Arsenal anniversaries just click here
The books


42 Replies to “Let’s (not) talk about Cesc; the end of season supporters’ meeting”

  1. Passing on Cesc is a mistake for a number of reasons:

    1) Its going to give Chelsea exactly what they need. They don’t have a player who can carve open defences, they have runners with the ball.
    2) Santi Cazorla is 30 years old and Cesc is almost 3 years his junior. It would be investment in the future and ensure a world class midfield for the next 5-6 years
    3) Our midfielders are fragile. I don’t trust Wilshere’s ability to stay fit for the whole season – nor Cazorla. Same for Ozil for that matter.
    4) It just rankles! Chelsea and Mourinho would be getting one over on us. We have already made a huge mistake by handing Man Utd RVP.

    It is going to hurt seeing Fabregas in a Chelsea shirt and being gloated at by Chelsea fans.

  2. A very interesting report, many thanks for sharing the evening with us.

    The decision to replace Bacary probably concludes the discussion on an earlier thread on UA. My view is that Jenkinson is now good enough to play regularly, but that Bellerin, while a very fine prospect, is not quite ready to step up.

    From the report there seems to have been no mention of an incoming DM or box to box player. The latter would be my preference, mainly because I would like someone who could rest Ramsey from time to time or who could when necessary adapt to the DM role.

  3. @jayramfootball
    Your response is exactly what prompted Perry Gtoves to say last night that supporters are too emotional to come to sensible decisions and that we should leave the people who run the Club so well to call the shots.
    In Cescs case it’s certainly not worth £30m to ‘cure’ the perceived weaknesses. That can be cured much more cheaply and by someone younger than Cesc. That ship has sailed.

  4. Please let the board not gloat over this we cannot afford to see Cesc in another club. Let’s do the needful he can play in a lot of positions

  5. I also hate the idea of Fabregas with another Premiership team,especially Chelsea. However, buying him simply to prevent him playing elsewhere, which seems exactly like Chelsea’s established practice, is not sufficient justification. The judgement must be based on the best interests of the Arsenal team. I am happy to leave that judgement to Arsene and his staff.

  6. Ok I already got the gist of this from somewhere else, but typically, the focus was more negative. Guess which one of the three groups he belongs to?

    Well, I know we’re not supposed to talk about Cesc, but we’re damn well going to 🙂

    I actually agree with jayram in the sense that I think we should sign Fabregas. Why? He’s a world class player. He can fit in instead of Arteta in the starting lineup, or we can change the formation. With him in the team along with Ramsey and Ozil, we will increase our offensive output by signing even a decent striker more than we will by signing a mythical ‘world class’ striker. We have the money, despite there always being a limited budget. And also, after two years we would have Arteta, Diaby (1 year), Rosicky, Flamini and Cazorla out of contract. Some of them might extend, but surely we’ll need another quality player. Cesc is also homegrown.

    But here’s the thing. Firstly, I’m not sure I believe the media. I don’t know whether Fabregas will even move, or is looking for a new deal at Barcelona. I don’t know that Arsenal have refused him. It’s also possible that he refused the terms we offered. Or that such discussions haven’t even taken place yet. Or maybe Arsenal and Cesc are distracting Mourinho from other targets.

    But if he doesn’t come, and does move to Chelsea, there must be a very good reason for it. I don’t believe it’s to do with not being able to fit him in. Or maybe it is. I certainly would take him but Wenger would know better about his plans, about his targets, and about Cesc himself. Plus, there’s the Dein factor. Maybe that explains Arsenal’s reluctance to bring him back (if it’s there)

    Either way, I think Fabregas’ PR machinery will try to put the blame on Arsenal’s door and some will shout loud about it as that is their default position. As long as Arsenal does what it needs to, I am not that bothered by where Fabregas plays. He’s already screwed us over once. It might even be fitting if he does it again. Chelsea..Yuck!

  7. Guess we just have to trust the man on Cesc and wait until sept to get a true perspective.
    These things are about timing, and perhaps the availability of Cesc is not well timed for his return for Arsenal.
    Of course it could go wrong…we could be hit by injuries over the summer, not make any major signings and the club will have egg on its face over Cesc, but the club now operate on a different level. They deserve our trust.

  8. Cesc made his decision, nothing has been said about Flamini. Echo’s stirring with news of Sami Khedira by the media.

    Does anyone have anything on our forgotten soldier Diaby?

  9. @Dan Diaby is off to Man City where he will play a full season and score 400 goals…

    seriously I think we should believe the Cesc stuff, if AW wanted him back I’m sure he’d be back. The report I heard today was on the BBC and they are usually cautious before following twitter rumours. He’s history, we move on

  10. Never mind Cesc, I just hope reports of that new fitness guru Forsyth are true. Anything that can improve our injury situation….assuming of course he can with our friendly refs…will be of vital importance, this guy could turn out in time to be a key signing

  11. Only Arsene and his professional team of planners and tacticians will know whether Cesc will add anything to our midfield. If they decide that he won’t then we must accept their decision.
    We should never spend many millions on buying a player purely to stop him joining a rival. That is financial suicide.
    As Dan says, what is more important is the progress of Diaby who could be a key player in next term’s campaign.
    I look forward to seeing him pre-season, after the Brazil games have ended.

  12. I believe that Barcelona will hold on to Fabregas.
    The buy back close is a disincentive for them to sell him.
    Why sell him to give 50% of anything above 30 million to us?
    He is a world class player, and Barcelona will hold on to him.

  13. I think that AW is looking for Diaby to properly emerge this new season, without injuries. He probably has been working a lot on his strength. What a boost to the team that would be.

    On Cesc, i feel he let us down, so i am happy with what AW decides on that matter.

  14. firstly i like to thank you guys for keeping us abreast with our beloved arsenal,secondly i dont think we need fab we already have too many in midfield…campbel,ryo,aaron,jw10,ox,walcot,santi,rosisky,ozil,diaby,eisfeld n the others in under 21

  15. Blacksheep,
    big thanks for this report.
    About the one we don’t speak about but do. I’ve never hidden my love for Cesc and if it would be up to me he would be back in a split second. But that is the heart speaking. And I confess it would be heartbreaking to see him in another shirt in the PL. But keeping the cards close to the chest is the Arsenal way of dealing such things so I don’t believe a word until it is on arsenal.com or on another official club website. (except MU – remember Ramsey 🙂 )

  16. Thanks for the update BS63 , seems it was a quieter affair then previous meets .
    Just when I thought that the Cesc factor was done and dusted ,it seems that it is going to be the broad (yard?) stick that the AAAA types and media will use to undermine the club this close season.
    Damned if you do , damned if you don’t.
    For me , Cesc belongs to Arsenal’s past and we ought to move on .

  17. Excellent write up Black sheep.

    I agree with Shard regarding Fabregas.

    I would add that David Ornstein from BBC pparently broke the news of the opt out. He has always been reliable in the past. My only hope is in Piques comment to del bosque, unless that was a joke. Pique said 33 million Euros. Roughly 26 million pounds. Isn’t that the buy back amount? Anyways…if he is not coming to Arsenal hopefully he stays at barca.

  18. Whilst we are on transfers.. How about Cavani to Arsenal!

    Stupid fantasy football he he.. Thank goodness for the world cup. Actual football. Croatia upset Brazil in the opening match? Eduardo the hero? Any chance? Any? I miss Eduardo. Damn the bastard who injured him and damn the system that condones it.

  19. Brickfields
    Yes, move on, but there’s no way I would wish him to be in a position where he is alone in a shower room with John Terry.

  20. Maybe if Cesc did want to return, the time was last summer, before we bought Ozil, before Ramsey rose to beyond excellence, before Ox started putting in some very promising performances.
    I once thought the world of Cesc, but now, can take or leave. We have some bad recent memories of losing our favourite sons, of not always replacing them properly, of not always getting in the players and quality we perhaps should have done, but the lean years are behind us, we now operate on a different level, if Cesc does not come, it is because either we dont need him or he is nt part of the plan…or Wenger, Pep, Van Gaal, Jose Enrique and Pelligrini know something we do not.
    That said, if he did come back, I would welcome him, if he does not, I will have long forgotten him and will concentrate on what we now have, or will soon have

  21. It is probably fair to say that Cesc has not improved at Barca, the way he would have done if he’d stayed with us. He is still a class act. I was gutted when he eventually left after all the shithouse behaviour from Rosell and certain players of theirs. Yes, maybe there is something about his injury record that we know too well, because I would have had him back like a shot. You can never have too many good players and he was (is?) a fans’ favourite. God forbid we suffer another injury destroyed season again, but the midfield work-load is enormous. The current group don’t have a good fitness record and others maybe not be in the first flush of youth. I have to trust what is happening, but Cesc has broken my heart again.

  22. but maybe the arrival of Shad Forsyth, should it happen will help our existing team in injury treatment and prevention…in as much as this can be helped with refs that consistantly allow rotational fouling of our players of course.
    If we cut time out through injuries to the levels of rivals, that would be as important as any signing/s I can think of, but of course it will not happen overnight

  23. Yes, Mandy that is a good point about Forsyth. We can try to limit the injury nightmare after the fact – my worry, as is yours I think, is the PGMOL music-hall of failed turns.

  24. It already worries me how the media/pundits are already trying to justify Jack being kicked all over the park by laying the blame at his own door.

    yep, it’s all Jacks own fault for not getting out of the way. 😡

  25. But they are right Jambug, as sure as it was JFKs fault for getting in the way of those bullets

  26. He’s gone folks….FC Barcelona have paid a fee of around €20M for Ivan Rakitic, who is a direct replacement for Cesc Fabregas. Player will earn €8m per year.

  27. Gutted that we’ve passed on the chance to sign him. Even putting sentiment to the side, he’s one of the best midfielders in the world, he would improve any team and so far I’ve not seen anything that says Ozil is anywhere near as good, and if he’s the reason we haven’t signed Cesc then i want to see a massive improvement on his performances next season.

    The only way I’d be able to understand us not signing him is if we sorted out all the priorities & signed 2 GK’s, CB, and then top a quality RB, DM, LW, CF for the first 11, but we wont…

    If Chelsea get this deal & Costa wrapped up, then i can’t see them not winning the league next year.

  28. Mandy
    Is it actually confirmed that Forsyth will be with us soon? I saw something on NewsNow a couple of days ago, but nothing since. It would certainly be a big capture if we got him though. You do know that Theo’s lovely wife is now a qualified sports physio!

  29. From what I have read, nothing confirmed Old Groover, and nothing certain either, he works for the Germans, is apparently highly rated so could be much in demand, but maybe out Germanic contingent can help sway him…hope so.
    Did not know about Mrs Walcott! but with Theo’s unfortunate record, perhaps a bit too busy at home to help out the squad

  30. If Forsyth does join us his 2 first lessons will surely be:

    a) Look behind you.

    b) JUMP !!

  31. Not talking about Cesc, I found this bit of ingenious (in favor of re-signing Cesc) reasoning which focuses on exactly when the buy back clause on Cesc can be invoked: This would be(not sure) when another team actually announces the actual 30M signing or when it sends the paperwork to Barca; at which point Barca is contractually obligated to inform us. At which point Arsene/AFC then swoop in with the buy-back; which – now listen up – is then actually REDUCED by the purported outstanding 12M (7M + 5M) that Barca STILL OWES us from our initial sales take. This, in turn, would lower the outlay for Cesc to 18M (NOT the 30+M that’s bandied about). The writer lays out this scenario as his wish for what AW/IG/AFC have possibly (not unthinkably) cooked up in their (apparent) indifference to Cesc. Could it be? Well, here’s his scenario: http://justarsenal.com/why-arsenal-could-still-buy-back-cesc-fabregas/33109

  32. bob

    That is a possibility. I don’t believe Cesc has much real world affinity to Arsenal, (ie won’t impact his business decisions) and Darren Dein will probably not be so kind, but it is possible that Arsenal and Fabregas are stringing others along.

    I believe that the media is wrong about Arsenal passing up the buy back option because I doubt that a bid has been made, which would be the decision point I would guess. If people are right that Cesc loves us, he could delay his decision, if not completely refuse to go anywhere else, which is what he did TO us. I doubt he wants to play with Mourinho anyway.

    Wenger knew last season that Fabregas might leave Barcelona. He said something like ‘at the moment Cesc has decided to stay at Barcelona for one more season’. SO, who knows. This story is far from done. I would be a lot more hopeful if I believed Cesc truly truly loved Arsenal. Unfortunately, I don’t, and am almost expecting to see him go elsewhere that’ll pay more.

    He could also be staying at Barca and simply using Chelsea to extract more from them. Because why would Barcelona want to sell him now that Xavi is retiring, INiesta is past 30, and they sold Thiago to accommodate Cesc?

    But I disagree with the outlay being reduced because Barca owe us money. Our budgets include what we are owed, as assets. It only makes a difference to the cash flow situation (and we are cash rich), not the cost.

  33. You know I found the AAA to be a little over hyped on this site. But today I found proof.

    There is a site (not naming it, cause it does not even deserve that) which ran a story of “How we don’t need Cesc” a few days back, when the rumors were going around that Cesc was coming to Arsenal. Now that the rumors are going around that Cesc is going to Chelsea, they have published an article on “How we can survive the loss of Cesc”. These are true anti arsenal sentiments. Every think that will happen is bad according to these folks.

    Well luckily I have this site =).

  34. One thing : how can Arsenal opt out when Barcelona has no official bid on the table for Fabregas? As far as I know the transfer period is not yet open so a bid can not be made up to now. Not an official bid anyway.

  35. Walter

    Are you sure that is correct? I don’t think that’s right. A bid can be made, accepted and the contract signed. The player’s registration however will not be transferred over until the transfer window opens.

  36. No – I believe Arsenal receive 50% of the transfer fee ABOVE a certain threshold. There have been different views about what this threshold is, but the most common figure is £30m. So if Cesc was sold for £35m, we would get £2.5m.

  37. Very strong rumour from a very reliable outlet in Barcelona that a bid of 33 million Euros (just under £27 million) was

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *