By Tony Attwood
Cesc Fábregas has decided to stay at Arsenal. What’s more he has given his exact reasons.
“My main reason for staying is that I like to be paid,” he said. “I am not mercenary, but if I sign a contract that says I will be paid each month, I like to be paid each month. As we know, Barcelona players were not paid at the end of June, and that is a major concern, not just for me, but for everyone at the club.
“Secondly, I like to work in a stable atmosphere, and certainly that is not the case in Barcelona. Everyone now knows that the club is broke, and is liable to slip into administration shortly. This is not the way to prepare to play football. It is bad enough that Spain’s economy is ten time worse than Britain’s, but Barcelona’s finances are a million times worse than Arsenal. Only a madman would transfer from Arsenal to Barcelona. Or at least a madman or someone who doesn’t mind if he is paid or not.
“A significant problem here is that the club have repeatedly said that they have €50m (£42m) available to spend on buying me from Arsenal – but we have all been asking, if they have this money, why didn’t they use it to pay the players? In fact when we have asked that question the answer came back – we did use it, but we needed another €150m on top of that.”
“And overall I think it is the absolute lying that turns players like me off Barcelona. They had an article on their web site the other day saying, ‘The club has approximately €50m net to spend on new players each season. In the case of this season buying David Villa [€40m] combined with the sales of Yaya Touré and Dmytro Chygrynskiy balance themselves out. This means the club still has €50m to spend.”
“But when they said that, the fact the club had just made a huge loss was hidden, and they were also telling us they had made a profit. How can you have all this money to spend if the club makes a loss year after year?
“It looks as if we will be selling Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael Márquez, and that raises the question – do I want to be working in a selling club? The answer is no. If I stay at Arsenal, I know they will value my contribution. If I go to Barcelona, who knows where they will quickly sell me on to, the moment they need some cash? I don’t want to play for Athletico Madrid.
“I think the whole club changed when Professor José María Gay, at the University of Barcelona made his statement and showed just how the wages at the club had got out of control. What is important is that he made his comments long before it was revealed that Barcelona could not pay its players’ wages, and even then he said there were hints there could be a risk of default during the current close season.
“The club scoffed, said it wasn’t true, and threatened to sue. Then the next thing we find is that the club is in such a mess no one is being paid. Do I want to go and work in that sort of shambles? No!
“That was when I made my mind up, but when the story broke that instead of making a huge profit as the club had said, they had in fact lost €77m last year, and were losing far more this year, I thought, ‘I can’t believe a word they say. They say, ‘come here and you’ll play every week, and we’ll pay you all this money,’ but how can I believe any of it? Everything Barca says is a lie.
“I also had a chat with Thierry Henry and Alex Hleb and they both warned me not to come here. Alex had a terrible time – he hardly got a game, and now has had to go back to his previous club on a fraction of his Arsenal salary. Thierry told me to have a look both at Alex and Mat Flamini. Flamini had one great year at Arsenal, went away, and now is reduced to playing a few minutes at the end of games as a substitute. I don’t want that.
“Barca have a habit of doing this sort of thing. You know Dmytro Chygrynskiy? He came in from Shakhtar Donetsk and then within a year they have to sell him back at half price because they are in such a mess and they dress that up as part of normal trading. It is total panic.
“The problem, as I understand it, is there is no further source of money. That’s why the banks won’t lend anything. We can’t get more people in, we can’t get more for the TV rights, we can’t do any more marketing. The club has nowhere to go but down.
“Barca made an offer for me, and my grandfather asked me to look at it, so I did. But these people are liars and cheats, and the club is on the edge of bankruptcy. Why would any footballer ever want to go there?”
We are most grateful to Mr Fábregas for taking time to put the record straight.
Clarification: Untold always feels that articles should be written in a style and with a level of accuracy that is used by others when handling a specific topic. In this case our research is at exactly the same level as that of virtually every newspaper and blog covering this topic.
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