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Fabregas stays - for now - as Arsenal hold firm

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Matt Slater | 17:41 UK time, Friday, 6 August 2010

Man honours recently signed and very lucrative employment contract - it's hardly man bites dog in the turn-up-for-the-books stakes, is it?

But news that Cesc Fabregas has decided to stay at Arsenal for a wee bit longer is significant, and not just because it is going to leave a large hole in the sports pages of many English (and Catalan) newspapers.

One in the eye for player power? English piracy? Premier League 1-0 La Liga?

Yeah, maybe. But it's also a story about money. Or more precisely, one company not having quite enough money to persuade another company that it can buy something better than it already owns.

Forget all the chat from Barca players and directors about letting Fabregas go home so he can play with his mates (this is professional football, not a Sunday pub league) and ignore "crisis talks" reports from unnamed "sources", the only thing that matters is Barcelona cannot afford Arsenal's valuation of their most important playing asset.

I discussed the background to this saga in a blog a couple of months ago, so I won't repeat myself in great detail here. The main point is Barca aren't as minted as they pretend to be, while Arsenal are cash rich (relatively speaking) and player poor (again, relatively speaking).

There really is no desire on the part of the Londoners to cash in on a player they picked up from Barca's football factory for peanuts, even if they have already enjoyed seven years of excellent service.

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Fabregas cheered during Arsenal open training at Emirates Stadium

Not that "cashing in" was on offer, not when we are talking about a 23-year-old maestro, with a World Cup winners' medal and considerable Champions League experience, who also happens to be club captain at the Emirates.

No, Barca's best offer (a reported £34m) was a "mate's rate" for taking an unsettled player off Arsenal's hands - and the La Liga giants still owe the Gunners money for Thierry Henry and Alexander Hleb.

But just how unsettled is Fabregas anyway? After all, he signed a six-year contract last year and is one of the most popular players in the league.

And if he is unsettled, who is to blame for that?

I suppose you could argue that five trophy-less seasons were starting to grate (and last season's Champions League chastening at Barca's hands cannot have helped) but he has won things at Arsenal before and they are not without prospects this season.

But the starting point for this story came, as it so often does with these summer blockbusters, with this year's election for a new Barca president.

There is plenty to admire in the supporter-ownership model of Barca, Real Madrid and a few of the other Spanish clubs but there is a downside to all that democracy - the need for candidates to make big promises during election campaigns. This nearly always boils down to one thing: signings.

Repatriating Fabregas, the gem who got away, was perhaps the one thing all the candidates seeking to replace Joan Laporta as top man agreed on. Anybody following what became a pretty tasty contest from afar would have been forgiven for thinking the Spain midfielder would be delivered to the winner almost as soon as the votes were counted.

As it turned out, the big victor in Barcelona was former Laporta-lieutenant-turned-arch-critic Sandro Rosell, and the significance of his triumph would soon become clear.

Barca, it seems, were not the debt-free, fantasy-football generator they had led the world to believe. They were, in fact, like almost every other team in Europe: living on the margin of their means and feeling the same chill wind as the rest.

Within weeks, Rosell, who for months had been criticising the Laporta regime for spending too much on players and not enough on infrastructure, announced Barca needed a £130m loan to meet its immediate outgoings.

All further talk of buying Fabregas should have ceased at this point. Having already picked up Spanish superstar David Villa for £33m, Barca should have withdrawn from the market well pleased with their summer trading.

I think this is what Rosell and manager Pep Guardiola would have been happy to do but others connected to the club in one form or another could not resist continuing with their "let Cesc go" campaign.

Thankfully for Arsenal, there was one other very significant player in this piece, someone who would not be emotionally blackmailed into making a bad decision: Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners manager has served his club well, just as he did when he resisted the approaches of Juventus for Patrick Vieira and Barca's (it's a well-worn path) for Henry. In both cases, he got at least another year out of these two players before getting a fair price for them just as their form started to dip.

OK, he hasn't got every single transfer decision right (what manager has?) but Le Boss does know how to survive a summer storm.

His working relationship with Fabregas has been one of the key partnerships at the club for years and I always got the impression the player would do everything he could to press for a move home, as long as it did not mean disappointing Wenger.

And that is ultimately the step Fabregas was unwilling to take. Not this season, anyway.

We probably will never know what the two men spoke about before Thursday's pre-season event for fans at the Emirates but I have a feeling in went something along the lines of "give us another chance, Cesc, surely we deserve that?"

And Fabregas, being a decent chap (and very well paid and well liked and under contract), could only say, "OK, gaffer, let's give it try."

So let's hear no more talk of "homesick Fab eyeing Emirates exit". Not until 1 September, when the transfer window shuts, anyway.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at http://twitter.com/bbc_matt

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "the La Liga giants still owe the Gunners money for Thierry Henry and Alexander Hleb."

    Can someone explain how transfers work? Wouldn't clubs put in clauses for installments when the transfer fee isn't paid in full? What is the repayment schedule? Can you call in debts early?

  • Comment number 2.

    theyve acted appalingly, barca have. not only were we going to be reluctant to sell our prized asset right now we certainly wouldnt with barca trying to bully us into it with cringe-worthy statements and poor bids.

    dont think the media helped. arsenal have always said that unless we get an "outofthisworld" bid or fabregas didnt hand in a request to leave we would say no. but every day for 2 months it was always about what barca wanted. fabregas is a professional and loves both clubs so although he might feel dissapointed not to be joining barcaelona just yet he needn't be. he'll be in a barca shirt before the end of his career. just not yet.

    every man and his dog kept on saying he wanted to leave. but it was clear that although he wants to play for barcelona one day he was torn in the decision making.

  • Comment number 3.

    hopefully for now, this media hogwash is behind everybody. unfortunately, there still will be things to write about till the transfer window closes. seems the focus has now shifted to chelsea, A. cole and real madrid ( another spanish team).

  • Comment number 4.

    1

    I would guess that the instalment payment dates are set by contract. Usually if the player is sold on Arsenal would have received all that was due to them. But as Barca did not sell Henry, this did not happen. If I were Arsenal I would be livid as the instalments due could be considred as a secured loan (if Barca defaulted Arsenal could take Henry back). Now effectively the instalments due are an unsecured loan. Arsenal should desist from doing any business at all with Barca until the debts are settled.

  • Comment number 5.

    Barcelona lost quite a lot of respect from neutrals by the way they courted Fabregas. If this is not tapping up a player then surely what is? All thier players and everyone associated with Barcelona said things about how Fabregas should be playing for them, including Pepe Reina(God knows what his agenda was) of all people, you just couldn't make sense of it.

    After Arsenal, the only other club I enjoy watching (and 'support' to a certain extent) is Barcelona, despite them having stripped us of quality players over the years(Petit, Overmars, Henry, Hleb), and even when they outclassed us in the champions league I had nothing but admiration for them. But after this incident I would mind watching Mourinho and his men peg them down a bit just to silence them. They clearly think they are now bigger than the game, and totally lack class now in my opinion.

  • Comment number 6.

    Decent blog Matt as always. I have a couple of questions.

    1. Do you think there is a new 'power gap' emerging between 'big and rich' and 'big and skint' clubs? What I mean is, Arsenal have clearly demonstrated that they don't need the money as much as other big clubs such as Barcelona do as they operating well within their means. This has given them the strength to say: 'No, you may be better than us, but we can afford to reject your offer regardless of how big it is.' I think the well-documented problems at Man Utd might have been a telling factor in their decision to sell Ronaldo to Real, especially when you consider that SAF bought Luis Valencia as a replacement.

    2. What do you think of Arsenal's chances this season in the league?

  • Comment number 7.

    That shoulda been I wont mind Mourinho beating them to the title.

  • Comment number 8.

    This is spot on in my opinion. I think that Barcelona's best offer didn't even come close to an objectively fair price for Fabregas and so Arsenal refused to sell him, simple as that. Barcelona also don't have the money to put in a better offer for the player (or indeed to pay their player's wages if some reports are to be believed) and so had to resort to the tactic of trying to publicly unsettle Fabregas which was never going to work with Arsene Wenger on the other side of it. Wenger responded to the situation very well and to be honest, the deal never looked likely. All in all, another one of those summer transfer sagas which come to nothing.

    That said, I think Fabregas will leave at some point unless Arsenal start winning trophies. All Barcelona need to do is offer the right price and the club will have to listen.

  • Comment number 9.

    Barca stars could talk as much as they wanted to but evidently they never took into account that they were dealing with footballs most stubborn manager (Mourinho is arrogant, stubborn and petulant but nothing compared to Wenger!). Had we any other manager they would have given into the boards decision to take the money, thankfully Wenger just like Fergie, is bigger than the board and has their own way no matter what.

  • Comment number 10.

    Another good article Matt.

    I've always been fascinated by how Barcelona finance themselves, a prime example being they have only in recent years accepted a "sponsor" on their shirts - unicef - and that was to support the charity.

    Its an interesting comparison that for AFC the sponsorship deals have a huge impact on their ability to finance themselves the way they do.

    I think the Fabregas saga will play out similar to Ronaldo at United. I think we have him for one more year and assuming he puts in another consistent string of performances at the very top of anyone and everyones view (as he has done for several years now) they'll get him for around the £60mn mark. It makes sense for Arsenal for two reasons: i)additional income and
    ii)the likes of Ramsey and Wilshire to learn from the master (though at his age its like the protégé teaching the protégé)for one more year

    Wenger can invest the money (along with the new kit deal to come in 2011) in for example, 3 £25mn players. In that scenario our one truly world class player will be gone but we'll have 15 or so absolutely top draw pro's to carry the AFC flag.

    Lastly, I think Fabregas was absolutely sincere in pointing out Barcelona is his home, its where his mates are (he played as a kid with Messi for example) and you can at the simplist level understand he wants to go home after 7 years.

    In Wenger we Trust.....

  • Comment number 11.

    Fabregas sounds less than enthusiastic to me - it's almost 'Arsenal won't sell, so I'm stuck here, and had better do my best anyway'. I think this may be a Ronaldo-type situation - Fabregas stays for one year then joins Barcelona.

  • Comment number 12.

    Matt, I feel disappointed by your blog. You seem to buy into Rosell's smear campaign against his predecessor Laporta. A few friends of mine are Barcelona socios and from what I hear from them, the results issued by Rosell left out key profits that had been generated by Laporta's board. The €11m profit is real, but it's just not convenient for Rosell. On the money to buy Cesc: Rosell always said that if Arsenal demands in excess of €50m, the transfer won't happen. It wouldn't be a justifiable expenditure when Barca already has Xavi and Iniesta. Besides, they still need to strengthen other areas of the squad such as defensive midfield.
    Anywho, I'm happy Arsenal has kept Fabregas. People have been going on about how he should be allowed to leave and who could replace him. But honestly, you can't replace someone with 72 assists and 39 goals in 4 seasons, not this summer at least.

  • Comment number 13.

    Excellent blog, and if in the future we can have more information regarding the EXCACT terms of player transfer deals it will help.

    When a player is sold for X amount, that's like you and I buying a car/house - most likely we're paying for it in installments.

    Few clubs nowadays can afford to pay for players outright, and there are also performance criteria the transferred player has to meet in order for the original selling club to reap the full transfer fee.

    So when Henry was sold for 16 million I wonder how much of that fee is upfront and how much was dependent upon performance, and more importantly now that Henry has left on a free to New York, how much does Barca still owe Arsenal?

    So to all football fans, when your club sells a player, don't assume you can immediately spend that sum on a new player.

    I would really like to know how much of the money Arsenal "raised" from selling players were actually upfront? That might help explain (while it's not the only reason) why we sold players for millions but only spend pennies on new ones...?

  • Comment number 14.

    Fabregas had a poor World Cup - his impact from the bench was nothing like as effective it was in the European Championships.

    I think he's got a lot to prove this season to justify his reputation. Like not getting injured so much, lasting the pace of the whole season and leading Arsenal to some sort of honours.

    If he does that then *maybe* he'll get his big money move to Barcelona, but he's most definitely got work to do.

  • Comment number 15.

    If someone wants to buy your house and you don't want to sell it, then the house won't be sold. Especially when all they offer you is a bit of spare change they found down the back of their sofa. For what Barcelona offered I calculate they could have had one of Cesc's legs. Until we reach figures around 65 million then this transfer is just a non-starter and the same will the case next Summer too. Some may argue Ronaldo was overpriced and distorted the market, but if you wanna buy players you've gotta enter that market and pay the going rate. Especially when figures such as 25 million are bandied around for indiviudals like James Milner. Pay up, or shut up Barca. Remember that for next year please.

  • Comment number 16.

    All said and done, you gotta admire the decency and loyalty with which Wenger and Fabregas behave. It was obvious to me that Fabregas wasn't going to go, not against his mentor's wishes. This year just might be the most vital for our club and it would b fitting if Fab lifts a cup or two before he choses to go home. I'm one of those who doesn't care about winning, but about the way you conduct yourself as a person on and off the field.

    I'm also upset about Barca and my admiration has gone down a few notches after this saga. Seemed like a coordinated effort by the club and all players to unsettle Fab emotionally.

    Here's to a great, consistent, injury-free season ahead!

  • Comment number 17.

    Sure Fabregas had 'a poor World Cup'...I mean completely changing the dynamic of the final, by enabling Iniesta to play further forward, almost scoring the winner, and finally setting up Iniesta's winning goal.Nothing there really....

    Some stuff that gets posted on this Board...honestly! Oh if England had a midfield player with half his spark, dynamism and will to win.

  • Comment number 18.

    Another 3rd place finish and no silverware and he'll be singing a different tune next summer. I can still see a deal for next year agreed upon as was the case with Ronaldo.

  • Comment number 19.

    I surmise from the outside that Fabregas is a chap who would be appalled to go im a bad way. A gracious sort. With loyalties. Buddies. Respect. Grateful.

    I thought he was put through the mill by the Press from both sides. The worst. As Thierry et al were 2004 greats. Had fulfilled their hopes at Highbury. Fabregas' dilemma was: will my time COME here? A hard call for him. Much harder to walk like that.....

    I just hope AW plays fair: if he plays power games it's pathetic. He should be happy too. Grateful. Respectful of Fabregas' class. Respectful of the reality of a loss of desire to be there, if it came. I forced myself for a year to stay somewhere I'd lost the spark for: it half killed me. Folks looked for ways to ease me out, stole my sales leads, the works. A couple of bullies saw the opp., pulled the trigger. It ages you, makes you sad, makes trust difficult. Poor directors ultimately.....

  • Comment number 20.

    radclifferoad, he gave the ball away frequently and looked a yard short of pace. If he was a £35m+ man, he would have started games.

    He is still in the "potential" bracket. he's a very good good young player, but not yet a great one - he needs to "train on" in horse racing parlance.

    talking of English midfielders: when he has 3 premier league titles, several FA cups, plays in at least the semi's of the Champions League for 5 years in succession, scores 25+ goals per season and plays at a consistently high level for 50+ games per season, then he can be mentioned in the same breath as Frank Lampard.

    Who I was not surprised to see was selected by Ruud Gullit in his best ever European eleven alongside Cruyff, Maradona, Messi etc. and was described as one of the best goalscoring midfielders in European history.

  • Comment number 21.

    Right said #5. I do think Barca will be knocked down by Jose's Real this season. He can do it with Inter, Chelsea in the past, no doubt he can do more with Real.
    Barca's players are too arrogant. They think they are bigger than anyone at this moment.

  • Comment number 22.

    radclifferoad, he gave the ball away frequently and looked a yard short of pace. If he was a £35m+ man, he would have started games.

    He is still in the "potential" bracket. he's a very good good young player, but not yet a great one - he needs to "train on" in horse racing parlance.

    talking of English midfielders: when he has 3 premier league titles, several FA cups, plays in at least the semi's of the Champions League for 5 years in succession, scores 25+ goals per season and plays at a consistently high level for 50+ games per season, then he can be mentioned in the same breath as Frank Lampard.

    Who I was not surprised to see was selected by Ruud Gullit in his best ever European eleven alongside Cruyff, Maradona, Messi etc. and was described as one of the best goalscoring midfielders in European history.

    ------------

    Lampard wasn't in last years CL semi. The fact that Lampard has achieved that and he's what 30? Fabregas is 23! That's 7 years junior and can easily emulate that + he is still just a sub for Spain!! Consider that and it is actually pretty scary

  • Comment number 23.

    Arsenal will now suffer the disasterous start to a season caused by not letting an unhappy player go, as seen by Lescott/Everton and Berbatov/Spurs

  • Comment number 24.

    #20

    Spain looked so much more threatening with Fabregas on the field in the World Cup. It was by bringing him on and abandoning the deep-lying midfield trio (of Xavi, Xabi Alonso & Busquets) that they were able to score against Holland.

    Indeed - had Fabregas not been recovering from a broken leg, had he started every game in the World Cup - Spain would certainly not have been the lowest-scoring World Cup winners in history. He provides a cutting edge in the final third that Spain missed (despite winning the tournament).

    As for comparing Lampard's honours with Cesc's... you're conveniently ignoring international honours. I'm also amused that you're so taken in by an ex-Chelsea manager's obvious pandering to English fans with the selection of Frank '0 international honours, 0 European honours' Lampard in an all-time XI.

  • Comment number 25.

    The only really worrying thing in the 'Cesc to Barca' saga was that Barcelona pay significantly higher wages to their players than Arsenal do theirs and this was likely to be the factor that convinced Fabregas to go.
    If Arsenal want to be considered a club that truly wants to win trophies, and not exist near the top but with positive cash-flow they have to keep 'their best asset'.
    We all applaud Wengers policy of not signing over-paid superstars but you have to pay for quality

  • Comment number 26.

    25. Fabregas will definitely be the highest paid player at Arsenal, followed close by Van Persie, 80/90k a week most likely. If he wanted money he would have asked to go to citeh and get whatever ridiculous salary he asked for like 160k!

  • Comment number 27.

    I am pleased to see this transfer saga come to an end. Arguably, some damage has been done to Cesc's credibility but please remember that he's 24 years old! By most standards (insurer's, car rental agencies, etc.) he's not even a man. Yes he's an adult but is still 'wet behind the ears'. Please do not berate him any further and allow him to shine as we (all Arsenal fans) know he will. So what he wanted to go home? Most of us in his shoes would have done the same! Let's show some empathy and welcome him back with open arms and help him to ease that homesickness. He is the most talented player I have seen in an Arsenal shirt and I don't want him to ever go. However, he is from Barcelona and just I want to return to my homeland one day I empathize with him wanting to return to his roots.

    Much love to Cesc and the all the players who don Arsenal shirts. I pray that this season will end the drought and we (all Arsenal fans) can celebrate, with Cesc!

  • Comment number 28.

    Maybe all we Arsenal fans should start a campaing in the Catalan press demanding that Barca pay us the money they owe us!

  • Comment number 29.

    Please quit the pleading for 'quality' players! Obviously, listening has become a weakness for most fans. In 2004 some hard decisions were needed as Arsenal had spent a considerable amount of money to build a new stadium. At the time of the stadium launch it was communicated that Arsenal needed to adopt a strict wage structure and to minimize their expenses. As an economist Arsene Wenger ascribes to a strict discipline of spending what you earn! No more than what you earn. I realize that the money is coming in but a sizeable portion of the money coming in is used to settle the outstanding debt. For example that's why Thierry Henry was sold! Same reason for selling Adebayor. So that the funds to pay the 23 Million Pound Mortgage on the stadium could be met! Yes the financial outlook is better now but the wage structure must still be respected. I can say with absolute assurance that as long as Arsene Wenger is in charge at Arsenal and inflation does not triple - you will not see a 25 Million Pound purchase!

    Please be happy with what we have - the pipeline between first team and reserves is starting to pay dividends - Wilshere, Frimpong, Nordveit, Emmanuel-Thomas, Cruise, Eastmond, Barazite, Lansbury, Watt, Randall, Afobe, Freeman and Coquelin. All have shown the talent that Arsene Wenger promised he would produce way back in 2004 by developing youth.

    In Arsene I trust...

  • Comment number 30.

    Thank God Cesc is staying.This saga should be laid to rest.He loves Arsene and the fans and we all love him.Arrogance was Barca's greatest undoing.Cesc definitely will leave as soon as he lands the title for us and it must be on le Prof's approval.Arsenal is in a better financial position than the catalan club,so we don't need the cash for now.But they still have Xavi and Iniesta,so why must Cesc leave now,he has little playing time in South Africa no thanks to the barca duo. In Arsene we trust.

  • Comment number 31.

    when he has 3 premier league titles, several FA cups, plays in at least the semi's of the Champions League for 5 years in succession, scores 25+ goals per season and plays at a consistently high level for 50+ games per season, then he can be mentioned in the same breath as Frank Lampard.
    -------------------

    Good example of selective facts. Cesc has played a CL final, won the world and European cup. Fat Frank has showed continuously at international level that he isn't world class.

    Where was Lampard while Cesc was setting up the winning goal in the WC final at the age of 23???

  • Comment number 32.

    I wonder why such highly paid professionals like Fabregas, keep acting childishly.He is under contract and should honour it no matter what.Not that he has been sidelined or maltreated.The team has been built around him and he is the cynosure of all eyes.He should have realised his responsibilities long back and nipped all transfer rumours in the bud.
    Or,he should not have entered into long term contract.
    Either he is immature emotionally or does not love Arsenal deep down.
    In that case Arsenal should start looking for a pivotal player in near future.
    It is disappointing to sit down and watch your team play w/your best player has his heart set elsewhere.

  • Comment number 33.

    what cesc said sounds like im staying for one more year then im leaving

  • Comment number 34.

    Arsenal's wage bill is the second or third highest, I think. While transfer spending has been minimum, they're NOT being stingy with the players already at the club. That's something to keep in mind when people ask for more money.

  • Comment number 35.

    Was the price offered from barcelona ridiculous as has been intimated in this blog?
    It all depends on what measure you use. As Barcelona have just signed David Villa probably the most prolific striker in the world winner of world and european trophies in international competition and golden boot winner in both, for around the same as they were offering for Fabregas you could say they were offering a fair price.

    onesuk
    How can you make such ridiculous statements.
    Fabregas is world class at 23 years old. Were he not spanish, or perhaps argentinian he would be an automatic starter in any other national team.
    Spain play possession football first and foremost and Fabregas is a pure attacking midfielder in the mould of a Zidane, Ronaldo, Boban or Bergkamp. He is looking to create a chance or a goal everytime he gets the ball, therefore he makes forward passes, riskier passes in dangerous areas so yes he gives the ball away more. That is the trade off and why the spanish coach uses him selectively.

    After claiming that Fabregas had a poor world cup you then go on to say he is inferior to Lampard who of course had such an amazing world cup.
    I bet John O'Shea has won a few premier league titles is he a better player than Fabregas?

  • Comment number 36.

    Rant over, back to the transfer saga.

    Fabregas comes accross as a class individual to me. Happy with his bit part roles for Spain. Tremendous commitment and character on the field as demonstrated against Barca in the champions league. I believe he is genuinely torn between the two clubs. There are clear non financial reasons for going to Barca but also reasons to stay at Arsenal. Aresenal gave him senior football, captains armband, trophies as a teenager Fabregas' investment in the Arsenal cause would of created an attachment. Mutual respect between Fab and Wenger.

    I don't commitment and focus will be an issue whichever club he is playing for he will make the most of it.
    Having won an international level I think he wants to win at club level though and Arsenal seem to be slowly slipping away from that.
    Ironically though I think it might have been the performances in champ league up to 2nd leg against Barca that may have convinced Fab that it might be worth sticking around a bit longer.

    Should Arsenal win the FA Cup or Champ League or even take the premiership right to the wire I think he may even stick around a further couple of seasons. If not the Gunner will be a gonner.

  • Comment number 37.

    To all who say Arsenal should have let Cesc go, I say thank God you are running a major business. And if you are running a major business, I say thank God I have invested in it. Fotball players are being paid 100,000 pounds per week. That tells me that Premier leaque football is a business and each team has to be run like a business. I would fire any manager of mine who sold a cash cow below market value because the cow was orginally bought from another farm and the cow wants to return to play with the other cows on that farm. You think the millionaires and Billionaires on Arsenal's board would allow that to happen?

  • Comment number 38.

    "someone who would not be emotionally blackmailed into making a bad decision". I think Fabregas is the one who was emotionally blackmailed by Arsene to stay.

    And it's hilarious how you say "how unsettled is he anyway?" and then "and if he is, who's fault is that?". He he, missing the point much?

    "he has won things at Arsenal before and they are not without prospects this season" What? No, seriously, what?

  • Comment number 39.

    pretty good blog but a fairly glaring error in my eyes-one that many people seem to make. Keeping vieira and henry for that extra season was a big mistake and one that cost arsenal a large amount of money. Vieira was unsettled and suffered from average form before leaving for a third of what we would have got the previous year. Henry was useless in his last year (comparatively), cost a massive amount in wages and also left for a third we would have got the previous year.

    Either we should learn and sell a player when he wants to go or wenger needs to learn how to motivate those that want out

  • Comment number 40.

    so fabregas is staying big whoop but i bet you all this is not the last of it it will probably rear it's head at the end of the season

  • Comment number 41.

    "Keeping vieira and henry for that extra season was a big mistake and one that cost arsenal a large amount of money"

    Now surely if wasting money results in going whole season unbeaten or reaching the champions lge final then I would rather Wenger does that every year! Vieira left after leading Arsenal to a feat that might not be repeated again anytime soon. Henry took Arsenal to the champions league final with a team that had very average players. Letting players go at the drop of a pin unsettles, and even kills squads. Just look at what happened at Ajax, albeit they didn't have much control over the circumstances they found themselves under. Having been a powerhouse in Europe for so long, everyone just upped and left and overnight Ajax were reduced to a very average side which they have been ever since.

    By the time Fbaregas leaves, even if its next season, there will be a few deputies able to step up(Nasri, Wilshere, Diaby, Ramsey,just to name a few). Wenger has been very shrewd,and he has proven everyone wrong time and again since Anelka by being able to find a better replacement each time a big player goes. Losing Fabregas at this point would have taken us backwards as that would have meant promoting some youngster who is not yet ready and risk destroying their confidence by over-burdening them or if they do get exposed. The future is bright at Arsenal, just look at our youth team performances, give these lads one or two more seasons and we will be dominating at all fronts. The key is not to lose key players with no able replacements in the wings. Even though I now hate Barcelona, they have a similar youth system which is churning out stars every day.

  • Comment number 42.

    Dont be fooled if Barca had the money Fabregas would be gone.

    Remember barca are financially stuffed, they are at the peak of their earning abilities and still making massive losses. The only reason they continue is because the banks and more importantly government would never let and institution like Barca go to the wall, they know this and will rightly or wrongly continue trying to spend.

    This club couldnt pay wages of their own staff and players, and at the same time were negotiating a 30mil+ deal for david villa. No club in this country would be allowed to get away with that sort of behaviour.

    Its the arrogance of Spanish football, Madrid are just as guilty.

    Their behaviour not only financially but at courting Fabregas in the way they did was quite disgraceful. Knowing they could not pull enough money together to prise Fabregas away they resorted to trying to unsettle the player so much he handed in a transfer request and force Arsenal to sell at a much lower price.

    The only reason it probably didnt happen is because of Wenger, I dont think Fabregas would of been thinking about the club or the fans but only the man who gave him the opportunity. Make no mistake though when Barca do find the money to turn the boards heads he will move, there is no doubt about it, this will probably be the last season he will play for Arsenal.

    He is the glue of the team at the moment and I cant see who will replace him, there is some potential but none will touch fabregas' ability, and I doubt very much wenger will use the money to sign some big player.

  • Comment number 43.

    The problem with Barcelona is that they believe they are better than anybody else, not only in soccer but in everything. The arch-rivals, Madrid, are not better in that respect. As a Spaniard it shames me to have these two clubs represent Spain. It is true that Barcelona has had a great school and have produced very good players but in the last couple of years it has gone to their head. Blame Laporta for that, a two cent politician that is full of himself.

  • Comment number 44.

    GunnarShumba

    Ajax never recovered from thos glory years for one simple reason....Money. They could not compete with the massive money continental clubs could offer. Even now despite having incredibly low overheads compared to english clubs they are still struggling financially and rely on selling players just to keep themselves in business.

    Its a completely different scenario to Arsenal, who according to the board do have money and probably could spend on one player what Ajax could only dream of paying for half its squad. You cant say whether a selling or keeping a player will benefit or not without hindsight. There is no way anyone on here can tell its mearly speculation.

    You say the future is bright at Arsenal but that is what most Arsenal fans have been saying for some time now, its always next year or the year after we keep hearing but they have had some time to develop a squad since the invicibles. Wengers plan was supposed to come to fruition by now but he seems to have cast a spell over most fans where they cannot see his philosophy of buying young unknowns and turning them into a team of world class players has failed.

    After 6 years or so of supposed building (which is half a football players career) there is still a very young team at Arsenal, but any player with a value or experience seems to be moved on and replaced by an unknown/unproven player.

    The mix of developing some key players and buying in other key players is what has generally proven to be succesful. There is only one team who has been able to ''develop'' a world class team, Ajax but remember that was a very different time when Ajax had a complete monopoly of global scouting and football schools, now every big club is at it so the diamonds are so much more spread out

  • Comment number 45.

    18. At 7:39pm on 06 Aug 2010, thouston wrote:

    Another 3rd place finish and no silverware and he'll be singing a different tune next summer. I can still see a deal for next year agreed upon as was the case with Ronaldo.


    He's got a World Cup Winners medal. What other "silverware" does he need?

  • Comment number 46.

    20. At 7:56pm on 06 Aug 2010, onenessuk wrote:

    talking of English midfielders: when he has 3 premier league titles, several FA cups, plays in at least the semi's of the Champions League for 5 years in succession, scores 25+ goals per season and plays at a consistently high level for 50+ games per season, then he can be mentioned in the same breath as Frank Lampard.


    I think having a World Cup Winners medal trumps all that.

  • Comment number 47.

    23. At 8:12pm on 06 Aug 2010, Webb of Deceit wrote:

    Arsenal will now suffer the disasterous start to a season caused by not letting an unhappy player go, as seen by Lescott/Everton and Berbatov/Spurs


    You can but dream.

  • Comment number 48.

    if barca win everything again this year, what can cesc add to them? if i were him i would stay at arsenal and become the ultimate legend. he may have played as a child in barca, but matured to be the man he is thanks to arsenal.

    he wouldn't be half the player he is today if he was still at barca. messi says that he would never leave barca because he owes them too much, and i think cesc should feel the same about arsenal.

  • Comment number 49.

    20. At 7:56pm on 06 Aug
    2010, onenessuk wrote:
    radclifferoad, he gave the ball
    away frequently and looked a
    yard short of pace. If he was a
    £35m+ man, he would have
    started games.
    He is still in the "potential"
    bracket. he's a very good
    good young player, but not
    yet a great one - he needs to
    "train on" in horse racing
    parlance.
    talking of English midfielders:
    when he has 3 premier league
    titles, several FA cups, plays in
    at least the semi's of the
    Champions League for 5 years
    in succession, scores 25+ goals
    per season and plays at a
    consistently high level for 50+
    games per season, then he
    can be mentioned in the same
    breath as Frank Lampard.
    Who I was not surprised to
    see was selected by Ruud
    Gullit in his best ever
    European eleven alongside
    Cruyff, Maradona, Messi etc.
    and was described as one of
    the best goalscoring
    midfielders in European
    history.

    ***
    the usual small minded ignorance from an english football fan. Our player has won the fa cup, score 20 penalties and deflections so he is world class. Frank lampard ? Give me a break cesc has more talent in his left toe than him

  • Comment number 50.

    Football_Monk
    ------------------

    Another foreign fan who mocks the english whislt being obsessed by their game and clubs!

    We are so small minded we have created the most attractive league in the world and have some of the best players playing here including your beloved cesc.

    And please tell me how your opinion can be so valid against people who have lived and been very succesful in the game, to think an armchair fan has so much more knoweldge than all the pros/coaches etc.

    Perhaps you could engage your brain to actually contribute something worthwhile rather than spout nonsense.
    ---------------------------------
    Cesc the best.........

    He doesnt care about becoming a legend for a club that will be mearly a stepping stone in his career, especially when the next step is to a club that can genuinely win things every season. If Fabregas Loved arsenal he would of put down any talk of moving to barcelona not waited a week before the season start and the realisation that Barca cant afford the fee to prise him away. Fagregas still has over 10 years at the top of the game and the large majority of that will not be spent at Arsenal
    ---------------------------------

    Magi-thatcher.

    He may have a cup winners medal but I bet deep down he feels his contribution in winning that medal was pretty insignificant and his only way of improving that is by moving to the club that seems to make up half the spanish team. If Fabregas was any sort of footballer he would not want to sit back on a WC medal that he didnt contribute much towards, you clearly have no experience or grasp of the hunger of a pro sportsperson. This is his first major medal, and at a young age if you thing he will sit back on that now and think Ive done it what more could I want you are incredibly naive.


  • Comment number 51.

    Not only do you not tell us anything new, or indeed insightful, in this piece but it is appallingly written. Very poor...

  • Comment number 52.

    db10gooner

    And I suppose you could do so much better. Please enlighten us with your version of events, perhaps with a Shakespearean slant!

  • Comment number 53.

    Being a Bolton fan I've seen a fair few Premier League greats turn up at the Reebok ranging from the likes of Shearer, Henry and our beloved Okocha, but watching Fabregas run ragged around our team with his outstanding technical ability was one of the best performances I've ever seen from any player in person. Then again a lot of you probably think I've got a flawed opinion because I've spent the last couple of Allardyce years and whole Megson era complaining of neck strain (we did actually play half-decent football for about 1 and a half mins per match). Thank god Owen Coyle saved me from physiotherapy!

    Anyways I digress, going back to Fabregas and him moving back to Barcelona - if it was about money then Manchester City would've probably given him a £300+k/week contract, but as many of the previous posts have mentioned, he's a Catalonian through and through, has supported Barcelona all his life and has stated on many occasions - way before this whole transfer saga took place that he would like to return to Barca at some stage in his career.

    To all the Arsenal fans who slate him for wanting to go to Barca, put yourselves in this position.You have seen an opportunity to take a potentially life-changing job in Spain at 16. You decide to take that job and become better at your occupation and become renowned for being one of the best at what you do after a few years. However, you become slightly frustrated at your employers not being able to take the company that you have grown to love further and further, even though you have tried to help your company go as far as it possibly can at the moment. You then hear that a job opportunity arises back here in England that could further enhance your career, even though you are pretty settled in Spain. Would you stay in Spain or go back to England?

    Of course you'd go back to England - so don't be so damn delusional and try to understand it from Cesc's point of view. From a Premier League point of view he's a great asset, but having seen a certain Mr. Wilshere pretty much become our best player in the second half of last season, you've got an adequate replacement as you will no doubt find out this season - he even has the ability to provide that killer pass and shock horror - shoot from long-range, so you lot at the Emirates might actually create an atmosphere worthy of the stadium itself, rather than spend the whole match saying "shoot" and groan repeatedly for the match. Then again when you lot pay £800 or whatever it is these days over there for a season ticket, I'm sorry to say this but its pretty likely to price the passionate fans out, who are replaced by the "prawn sandwich" and Canary Wharf lot.

    RE 12 - "Besides, they still need to strengthen other areas of the squad such as defensive midfield."
    Busquets and Keita not good enough? Then again I guess Marquez and Y. Toure have left so fair point - Gavin McCann sounds like the perfect replacement.

    14 and 20 - "Fabregas had a poor World Cup - his impact from the bench was nothing like as effective it was in the European Championships.
    Talking of English midfielders: when he has 3 premier league titles, several FA cups, plays in at least the semi's of the Champions League for 5 years in succession, scores 25+ goals per season and plays at a consistently high level for 50+ games per season, then he can be mentioned in the same breath as Frank Lampard."

    1st of all...you can't have it both ways by comparing both those players and conveniently forgetting to mention that Lampard's WC performance was woeful - Fabregas was injured before the WC, as you mentioned in one of your posts, but to say his tournament was poor considering his impact in the Final, not to mention his influence in the QF vs Paraguay. He was one of the very few Premier League players to actually come out with any credit for his WC performances in general. Of course Lampard's achievements are great, but let's compare their abilities as players ie. imagine that Lampard plays for Bolton one week, and Fabregas plays for Bolton in another week, and both players somehow play to the very best of their abilities. Would you still claim that Lampard is better than Fabregas, and if so why?

    35+36 "I believe he is genuinely torn between the two clubs. There are clear non financial reasons for going to Barca but also reasons to stay at Arsenal. Aresenal gave him senior football, captains armband, trophies as a teenager Fabregas' investment in the Arsenal cause would of created an attachment."

    Couldn't put it better myself - if it was about the money he'd go to Eastlands, Stamford Bridge, Bernabeu or the Home Depot Centre - simple as that



  • Comment number 54.

    Let's look at things objectively shall we?

    1) Barca cannot afford Cesc. Simple As That! This is a club, due to whatever revenue losses that have occured, are not the major power house they think they should be. £30 mill for Fabregas??? Ok, yes Arsenal had to pay a tribunal to get him, and Barca still see Cesc as their player...but, if that's the case, why didn't Arsenal ask for Andy Cole back from Man Utd (while he was good!) for nothing?????? Because there's a thing such as contracts...as worthless as players think they are! Fabregas in anyone's market (thank you Man City!!) is worth at least £50mill.

    2)Barcelona...YOU ALREADY OWE ARSENAL £15MIL!!!!!!!!! That's just from the installments from the Hleb and Henry Deals. If you can't even pay your current playing squad, what right do you have to buy anyone? Pay your bills first...then pay the fair price.

    3) The Barca captain/team-mates/vice-captain/tea-lady have all gone very public in saying how Cesc belongs at Barca (but who pays his wages as you read this?) How is this any different from meeting a players agent and saying x, y and z? Is this not the most public attempt to unsettle a player ever? If so why don't UEFA lift a finger?

    4) On a personal note, if I had the luck and fortune to be Arsene Wenger, my reply to Barcelona would be simple "Do you need Fabregas that much? Really?? Ok, £50 million pounds PLUS Messi!!!" Then watch Barca think twice!!! After all 3/5 of Spains world cup winning midfield already make the Barca (who only play a 3 man midfield anyway...go figure!!!) 1st XI!!! So why the obsession with Cesc?

    I think a lot of neutral fans who respected Barcelona as a team, may have very quickly changed their minds over this summer...I know I have!

  • Comment number 55.

    I would like to point out to Mr Fabregas that whilst his heart may be at Barcelona if he has a shred of a competitive edge and wishes to play regualr football he would be well suited to stay where he is wanted and more importantly PLAYED ON A REGULAR BASIS!!!

    That's look at it realistically he does not play in the Spain midfield which correct me if I am wrong people is made up of Xavi, Inesta and Sergio all of whom make up the Barcelona midfield, therefore he is clearly going to become a sub at barca!!!! Not ideal for someone of his age. He should leave when he is like 30!!

    I would also like to remind him if it doesn't work out at Barca where can he go from there? He seems too much of an honourable guy to play for another premier league side or spanish side so that leaves Italy... Too slow for his style of football look at Henry!!!

    Finally he needs to look at what has happened to other high profile departures from Arsenal, Vieira, Petit, Ljungberg, Henry, Hleb, Flamini these players have never really hit the heights they did with Arsenal, I apreciate many won titles but not as an integral part of the team. To some extent you can include Anelka and Cashley Cole in this list, although both flourishing at Chelsea now it has taken time for them to reach this stage in their career.

    So in conculsion.... CESC NEVER LEAVE... over the moon you are staying GET IN MY SON!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Closer to $100m is what AFC want for Cesc. That is the kind of money Barca is not in a position or the mood to shell out at this point of their fiscal 'constraints'.

    Hence the extraneous well-aimed and hopefully effective ploys of the Barca brigade in the Spanish national team concertedly rooting for their 'mate' to join them in his 'rightful' place. Even the staged rigmarole of forcing the Barca shirt on an ostensibly uncooperative Cesc during WC win celebrations was a calculated stunt/gambit aimed at brainwashing Arsenal of any realism and pursuit of their club objective.

    Arsene Wenger is a professional who is unequivocally committed to the gunners cause, like some long standing devotee of a religious cult who remains steadfast, unimpressed, unconverted and solid like an unfeeling rock. Chicanery and subterfuge will never do where hard bargaining is the only currency. Meanwhile Cesc continues to be footballing manna for the happy gunners.

  • Comment number 57.

    onessuk...

    Compare Frank Lampard in 2003 to Cesc Fabregas today (they'd be the same age) and your lauding of fat franky looks pretty lame...especially with a European championship winners medal and World Cup Winners medal...together with FA Cup winners medal, Champions league final and successive semi and quarter final stages. What had lampard won at that age? Also Cesc has never finished outside the top four for his whole career to date. Lampards finishing in the league over a similar period?? Last year they churned in similar goal stats in the league despite Cesc missing almost a third of his league games with injury...

    Lampard........pl 35 gls 22 assists 17....= 1.114 goals/assists per game

    Fabregas.......pl 26 gls 15 assists 14....= 1.115 goals/assists per game


    And Lampards was done playing in a team which won the double...So cant quite square off, given Cesc's much better performance internationally and coupled to the fact that he is 7 years Lampards junior, hence less experience etc., where the hell you get your logic from??

  • Comment number 58.

    Fabregas concerns is not because of money or even he is a Catalonian and he is homesick and wanting to play for a prestigious club. His main concerns is Arsenal's ability to win the Champions League medal and to challenge the honours of Chelsea and MU. In fact in the last few years Arsenal has not been winning any medals at all. Arsene does not believe in "Galacticos" or prized footballers from prestigious clubs in Europe, he prefers development and less renowned quality players where players do not dent the club's budget and moreover offer attitudinal problems. But Arsene and Arsenal have to understand that players want consistency in the squad. The Club cannot just be good in the first half season only and then because of injuries you do not have players at all in the second half (after the Christmas break). There must be sufficient quality players all round in order to challenge the Honours. At the moment, Arsenal has got to beef up the defense. We have bought midfielders and strikers but I have yet to see any defense players of quality. Thus far, only Vermalen only manage to shine, after the Adams and the Winterburn era. Arsene has got to strategise now in order to lose more quality players like Anelka, Cole, Henry and Viera. These players have been shirt changing clubs since they left and only Cole perhaps have been with Chelsea for a longer time. But the only measure of success these players have are that they have won medals with their clubs, prestigious ones too like the Champions League.
    I am an Arsenal fan, and for the past few seasons, I really hate to see Arsenal dropping points after Christmas.

  • Comment number 59.

    This Fabregas affair would not be tolerated by Barcelona if it was Arsenal doing the chasing. I think higher authorities , like FIFA, could not care less about Arsenal. I am sure thay would get involved if Barcelona was
    the injured party.Double standards.

    Let him go home to his mother and she can change his diapers. Arsenal needs a squad 100% loyal and dedicated.
    World Cup star ? Not in my book. He made one pass--Iniesta made him look good.

    He has a contract but that means nothing to a 23-year old. What a bad start in life.


  • Comment number 60.

    Even if he stays for just this season(most likely), I can promise you something, barca will have to pay top money to get this lad. We'll show them we can't be bullied.They didn't like it when Gen. Franco did it to them in favour of real madrid.

  • Comment number 61.

    @ parras..

    I didn't see FIFA doing anything when arsenal poached merida from barcelona...

    You could say arsenal didn't have to do any chasing then since they just exploited the system and paid compensation and they have done it twice to barcelona...

    So now since barca can't exploit the system they're doing everything else they can to get fabregas

  • Comment number 62.

    Good decision by Fabregas. Fact is that Barcelona do not need him right now. He would go from captain and major player in the PL to bench warmer at
    Barca. Iniesta and Xavi are years ahead of Fabregas, and the only changes he would get would be a start here and there when one of them is injured, or last 15 minutes on a day the pair is having a bad day.
    Barca need Fabregas to retire Xavi, but that is in 2 ot 3 years, not now. The only reason they have been after him is because of stupid election promises, and a demostration of footballing muscle - we can take Arsenal's arguably best player in the last 5-6 years, and one of the best in the PL, and put him on our bench.

  • Comment number 63.

    4. At 6:49pm on 06 Aug 2010, excellentcatblogger wrote:
    1

    I would guess that the instalment payment dates are set by contract. Usually if the player is sold on Arsenal would have received all that was due to them. But as Barca did not sell Henry, this did not happen. If I were Arsenal I would be livid as the instalments due could be considred as a secured loan (if Barca defaulted Arsenal could take Henry back). Now effectively the instalments due are an unsecured loan. Arsenal should desist from doing any business at all with Barca until the debts are settled.

    ----------

    Excellent, n future please refrain from guessing when you have no idea of facts.

    1. Clubs do NOT buy or on players, thus they can not be held as security against any loan.

    2. Clubs agree a compensation fee for termination of a players existing contract this money can be paid in full, in instalments or in futures as agreed between the two clubs.

    3. If a club does not pay up on time it is a contractual payment dispute hich ould have to be sorted out in the courts in case of disagreement.

  • Comment number 64.

    Was the price offered from barcelona ridiculous as has been intimated in this blog?
    It all depends on what measure you use. As Barcelona have just signed David Villa probably the most prolific striker in the world winner of world and european trophies in international competition and golden boot winner in both, for around the same as they were offering for Fabregas you could say they were offering a fair price.

    -----

    Thats a pretty naive measure you chose. Villa was sold primarily due to Valencia's financial problems, a factor that Arsenal dont have to worry about. From Manuel Llorente President of Vallencia: "We think it is a good sale and necessary for the economic situation of the club"

  • Comment number 65.

    Smacks of Ronaldo. Barca will have the money next season for sure. Surely ir's every fans dream to play for their boyhood club so Fabregas' desire is understanable. Contracts are just a way of facillitating ransfer fees and clubs are even less inclined to honour them than players.

    Can't see Arsenal challrnging for honours. They are a considerable team when Fabregas is playing but without him lack bite. On top of that Almunia will never be good enough to win the EPL and central defence is a problem. Carling cup at best.

    Perhaps it would be best for all concerned that they fail to make the top 4 and graciously allow Fabregas to leave as Liverpool would have done for Torres.

  • Comment number 66.

    3 things i would like to mention.

    Firstly and most importantly. Does anyone think that Fabregas would even make Barcas starting 11 ?

    Secondly. If they supposedly loved him then why did they let him leave for peanuts in the first place ? and why not pay a reasonable price for a player they have not really seen develop ? ( they paid 99M euro for Ibrahimovic)

    Thirdly. IMO Barca are on the way down. The special one has got Madrid and the title is going back to Madrid this year. I think Barcas dominance of the past 2 - 3 is over.

  • Comment number 67.

    Arsene realises that he has a one man team. Look at their results without Fabregas (terrible) vs when he plays (pretty good). Then take a look at the teams who mark Fabregas out of the game (Man Utd use Fletcher to push Fabregas back and Blackburn intimidate him) and the results they get.

    If Arsenal got £100m for Fabregas it would be too little - not because that is what the market rate is, but because he is worth everything to Arsenal.

    To those making the comparison with Ronaldo - to a degree I agree - he will probably eventually go as he will become less effective as his motivation dips. However Man Utd were never a one man team. They won trophies before and won trophies after Ronaldo. Arsenal would not make the top 4 without Fabregas, Wenger knows it and needs to find a solution in the next 12 months - I see more starts for Aaron Ramsey to see if he will step up.

  • Comment number 68.

    I think that Barca have come out the winner in this transfer saga. The deal must be that Fabregas will stay at least one more season at the Emirates - just out of respect for Wenger. Barace don't need him for the next two years so that will sit well with them. When the time comes, they (Barca) will determine what he goes for, not Arsenal, as it will be difficult for Wenger to put more hurdles on the way. If he does that, he will have betrayed Fabregas trust and respect. Fabregas will go for whatever Barca offer.
    This is the clever part. Barca are confident that Arsenal will not win any silverware this season with the players that they have. They (Barca) will not need to work on Fabregas if that happens, Arsenal will do that bit for them. A 25 year old Fabregas will want out. He will feel that he has paid his due to Arsenal, and Wenger.

  • Comment number 69.

    Call me pessimistic but Fabregas staying this season will only be a 'stay of execution' similar to Henry refusing to leave the season just after the Champions League Final defeat only to dissapear relatively cheaply the next season after a thouroughly disinterested campaign.

    What's more scary is Wenger's in his last season of his contract and I can see him going next Summer giving Fabregas the perfect excuse to jump ship too and the club could even use it as an excuse to raise funds for any new manager to build a team that wouldn't be Wenger orientated.

    Factor in that Barca don't even really need Cesc at the moment with Iniesta and Xavi entrenched in their midfield and it suits them he runs down a bit more of his contract and plays more games so will be cheaper and even better next season.

    For Arsenal fans who have had to put up with past Captains Viera and Henry constantly having their head turned by Barca it's even more galling Cesc has obviously one eye firmly in Catalonia.

    The Gunners haven't had a Captain with his heart 100% in Arsenal since Tony Adams.
    Van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen seem to be the voice of the team anyway.

  • Comment number 70.

    Good for Arsenal and Arsene that a club was able to hold on to a player and not bow to the relentless pressure for Fabregas to move.It must have so insulting for Arsenal to have to see the incident with the Barcelona shirt.I'm glad that a player is honouring a long term contract.in my opinion if you have a contract at a club for 5 years you should stick to it and respect the club.I think really this issue should not arise again for at least a 2-3 years.

  • Comment number 71.

    Good for Arsenal and Arsene that a club was able to hold on to a player and not bow to the relentless pressure for Fabregas to move.It must have so insulting for Arsenal to have to see the incident with the Barcelona shirt.I'm glad that a player is honouring a long term contract.in my opinion if you have a contract at a club for 5 years you should stick to it and respect the club.I think really this issue should not arise again for at least a 2-3 years.
    __________________________________

    No. Bad decision to hold on to Fabregas for what will be a fruitless season and pass the chance to cash in 30 million pounds. Come next season and Fabregas will walk away for much less..

  • Comment number 72.

    Good for Arsenal and Arsene that a club was able to hold on to a player and not bow to the relentless pressure for Fabregas to move.It must have so insulting for Arsenal to have to see the incident with the Barcelona shirt.I'm glad that a player is honouring a long term contract.in my opinion if you have a contract at a club for 5 years you should stick to it and respect the club.I think really this issue should not arise again for at least a 2-3 years.
    __________________________________

    No. Bad decision to hold on to Fabregas for what will be a fruitless season and pass the chance to cash in 30 million pounds. Come next season and Fabregas will walk away for much less..



    --------------------

    Why would he have a fruitless season? Fabregas is a professional unlike Ronaldo, Barry, Lescott and will still play at his best i.e "I am 100% committed to Arsenal", the others played bad on purpose because they couldn't get their moves sorted, evidently he has to stay so why would he jeopardize alienating any parties with bad performances?

    And why would Arsenal sell him for less than £30m? The balls still in Arsenals court and unless Barca win a lot this season (treble again) and do make the necessary funds they will have to sacrifice close to £45m

  • Comment number 73.

    I would let Cesc go for 50 million pounds or any hefty price, if Barcelona can afford him. The way I see the situation today, this guy is staying without 100% loyalty. He alone does not make Arsenal, and the captainship should also be withdrawn from him.

  • Comment number 74.

    Why would he have a fruitless season? Fabregas is a professional unlike Ronaldo, Barry, Lescott and will still play at his best i.e "I am 100% committed to Arsenal", the others played bad on purpose because they couldn't get their moves sorted, evidently he has to stay so why would he jeopardize alienating any parties with bad performances?

    And why would Arsenal sell him for less than £30m? The balls still in Arsenals court and unless Barca win a lot this season (treble again) and do make the necessary funds they will have to sacrifice close to £45m

    ____________________________________________

    The only person who can keep Fabregas at Arsenal is Fabregas himself. I suspect that a deal has been done so that he stays this season out and he has agreed to it. Come next season he will leave for Barcelona, for whatever Barca are willing to bear - it could be 20 million, or less. Arsenal will not be in a position to put more hurdles in his way, after getting an agreement from him to stay on one more season. A fruitless season, meaning that Arsenal will not win silverware, even with Fabregas.
    Fabregas is not a 50 million pound player, not yet. He will not have first team action at Barcelona, and no sub costs 50 million.
    Also, remember that Fabregas has his heart and loyalty set to Barca. He makes no secret about that. The mummerings from the Barca boys are a testament to what he tells them in private. He is even a member of the club. Arsenal was transit, a stepping stone for his career, and he thinks that it is time to move on. He will always have a place for Arsenal in his heart, just like Henry and Viera, but he has other things to do before he retires.
    Problem with Arsenal is that they lack ambition and they don't hide that. If all the players that have left genuinely believed that Arsenal was about winning, they would have stayed, and Arsenal would have won big things. Unfortunately the thinking in the Emirates is that winning trophies is a financially risky business that is not worth it. Second best is good enough. Individuals who have a winning head move on, sooner or later.

  • Comment number 75.

    Several people have said that Fabregas didn't have a great World Cup, and anyway, if he was that good, why wasn't he in Spain's starting eleven? They go on to make the point that, since the Spain team pretty much IS the Barcelona team, would he get in Barca's team either?

    This isn't fair. First, the Spain squad is fantastically strong, especially in midfield. Even getting onto the Spain bench shows class, and a lot of very good Spanish players were left at home, such is Spain's abundance of choice. Second, Fabregas was still recovering match fitness after injury. So not making the Spanish starting line-up doesn't mean that much.

    Likewise, would he make the Barca starting eleven? Again, perhaps not. But Barca see Fabregas, who is a young player, as a natural successor to Xavi. The same applies for Spain. Two or three years down the line, he's likely to be a regular for Spain, and for Barca, if he goes there....

    .....which he will. I believe that Fabregas will stay at Arsenal for one more season, like Ronaldo at Man Utd. Then he will feel that he's been fair to Arsenal and the fans. As for transfer fees, it's not all about money. If a player has his heart set on being somewhere else - again, like Ronaldo - ultimately you have to let him go, get as much money as you can, and wish him luck.

    Fabregas will go to Barca next year, ease into the team over the following season, and be a Barca (and Spain) regular by 2012.

  • Comment number 76.

    Plus, I hope he has a good season in a successful Arsenal team. If I supported any EPL team it would be Arsenal, because they try to play attacking, fast-paced, quick-passing football. In some respects they're the EPL's version of Barca. They don't always get the end product from their passing moves, but that could have been said of Barca two or three years ago. I'm sure Wenger will stick to his principles, and that it will pay off for Arsenal - the sooner the better.

  • Comment number 77.

    The view of a great number of Barça supporters is that the train for Cesc has passed two times for him, and he has refused them. We don't want him anymore defending our Team, never ever. Arsenal has lost, they will keep a frustrated player, while Barça will find for sure someone delighted to play in the Team. He is catalan, he will not play for Real Madrid, otherwise he could not stand living in Catalunya. Arsenal could have made a great benefit, "stealing" a player of 16 years old, and selling for 40 Million euros. Arsenal broke a non written rule, to sign contracts with teen players of another club.
    Arsenal supporters will realize soon, the performance of a player without motivation and having closed forever the door he liked, he wanted money, and he will have money.
    Maybe you dont know that Barça is more than a club,is the flag of being catalan,being proud of a country.

  • Comment number 78.

    Some of the smarmy comments about Cesc Fabregas not getting in to Barcelona's team and hence the Spanish team are truly laughable. Pathetic even..

    Fabgregas is 23. He currently has 54 full caps for Spain debuting in 2006. 54 FULL CAPS AT 23!!! At this rate he will go on to make 130 caps at least, maybe more. Wayne Rooney has just 10 more caps and made his debut more than two years earlier. There is no doubt over his appearance for club or country.

    As the Barcelona midfield is exclusively Spanish (Messi being Argentinian is a striker whatever position he takes up) How does Fabregas already have over a half century of caps at just 23 for Spain but won't get a game for Barcelona when the personnel are the same??

    Flawed and crazy logic.

    Iniesta is on the treatment bench more often than Darren Anderton was. It is clear to anyone with eyes at the World Cup that Fabregas is alot more effective as the attacking fulcrum of the spanish midfield, Xavi or no Xavi.

    Anyone who thinks he wont get a game is ignorant of the facts...this guy will play wherever he goes..and will probably break the all-time spanish appreance record along the way, a relatively injury free career allowing.

  • Comment number 79.

    43. At 11:33pm on 06 Aug 2010, spainby2 wrote:

    The problem with Barcelona is that they believe they are better than anybody else, not only in soccer but in everything. The arch-rivals, Madrid, are not better in that respect. As a Spaniard it shames me to have these two clubs represent Spain. It is true that Barcelona has had a great school and have produced very good players but in the last couple of years it has gone to their head. Blame Laporta for that, a two cent politician that is full of himself.

    --------------------------

    Just a couple of corrections to your, admittedly excellent, English:

    - The English translation for fútbol is 'football'. I'm not 100% sure but I think that soccer is some weird sport Americans play which involves a cricket bat and a swarm of locusts.

    - 'Blame Laporta for that, a two cent politician that is full of himself.' should read 'Blame Laporta for that, a two bob politician that is full of himself.'

  • Comment number 80.

    The view of a great number of Barça supporters is that the train for Cesc has passed two times for him, and he has refused them. We don't want him anymore defending our Team, never ever. Arsenal has lost, they will keep a frustrated player, while Barça will find for sure someone delighted to play in the Team. He is catalan, he will not play for Real Madrid, otherwise he could not stand living in Catalunya. Arsenal could have made a great benefit, "stealing" a player of 16 years old, and selling for 40 Million euros. Arsenal broke a non written rule, to sign contracts with teen players of another club.
    Arsenal supporters will realize soon, the performance of a player without motivation and having closed forever the door he liked, he wanted money, and he will have money.
    Maybe you dont know that Barça is more than a club,is the flag of being catalan,being proud of a country.


    -----------------


    You can call it stealing all you want but the fact is he came to Arsenal and we made him the player he is today due to his involvement in every tournament, he wouldn't have got that at Barca. Also it's very hypocritical of Barca when they say we stole when you did exactly that to Messi in Argentina by bribing medical care! If that's the view from Barca then that's only good news, Fabregas will still play his best football and keep getting better. And how is making £30m a benefit when he's clearly worth twice + the length of his contract left?

    We know the barca is more than a club and its supporters should be embarrassed at the way your 'club' has conducted business, we said no 3 months ago so all your players/politicians/et al had to resort to the media which is despicable.

  • Comment number 81.

    >> 23. At 8:12pm on 06 Aug 2010, Webb of Deceit wrote:

    Arsenal will now suffer the disasterous start to a season caused by not letting an unhappy player go, as seen by Lescott/Everton and Berbatov/Spurs

    Oh, so Berbatov has had a fantastic season with United? LOL

  • Comment number 82.

    Good read Matt.

    Barca's disgraceful act towards Arsenal couldn't have got any worse than it already did. As an Arsenal fan I'm really proud of how our club officials conducted themselves. The strongly worded statement was superb and yet Barca had difficulty understanding it, may be they should have released it in Spanish. It was sickening to hear every Barca player coming out every day talking about how Cesc belongs to Barca because of his Barca DNA and so on. Weirdly enough, all that is said and done when they are broke and had to borrow money to pay for their players salary.

    However, I salute Arsene Wenger. Man of his own beliefs! If it wasn't for him then probably Cesc already would have been in a Barca shirt. He is a good manager and knows how to get the best out of his players and makes them feel comfortable around him. Cesc is not the only player that feels gratitude towards Wenger but so are so many other players. The fact he is a good manager and man, plays a huge role in Cesc's decision.

    I do hope for Wenger's sake that we win a trophy this year but after watching the Legia game today, I'm not really convinced as of yet. But I still have faith in Le Boss and the team. Go gunners.

  • Comment number 83.

    Arsenal could have made a great benefit, "stealing" a player of 16 years old, and selling for 40 Million euros. Arsenal broke a non written rule, to sign contracts with teen players of another club.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A bit hypocritical Barca 2010, only Xavi Puyol and Valdes started at Barca. Barca have stolen players youngers than Fabregas e.g. Iniesta from Albacete, Messi from Newel Old boys, Pedro and Busquets were with other teams also.

  • Comment number 84.

    At the start of the summer, Arsenal said they'd listen to an offer from Barcelona if they honoured the decision made by Wenger. Barcelona made an offer, Wenger refused. Then Barcelona spat their dummy out, saying how it wasn't fair to them or to the player wah wah wah.

    Every summer we see the same thing, one of the Spanish ugly sisters saying they're going to buy this player or that player, dragging it out in public and behaving shamelessly. It's about time UEFA put their foot down - if they dare.

  • Comment number 85.

    Barca -What a shame ! I used to have the greatest respect for such a great team but alas ! They have conducted themselves disgracefully towards Arsenal. Messi and Puyol, stick to your legs kicking the ball and not with your mouth. Barca bought players after players from Arsenal and destroying their careers. Henry, Hleb, Ovarmarrs, Petit. And to add insult to injury, they are paying for only 30 million for Cesc ? Cesc, they dont value you just like they dont to those before you. So, be wise.

  • Comment number 86.

    Since we're talking about a Spanish player possibly (re)joining a Spanish club, perhaps we should be asking ourselves why Spain, a smaller country than England in population terms, produces so many great players whilst the English cupboard looks pretty bare.

    Fabregas may not be in the Spanish starting eleven right now, but he'd walk into the England line-up if he were English. We've all seen how good the Spanish national team is, but we need to look at deeper squad strength as well, plus the number of outstanding Spanish youngsters coming through.

    Spain's top two have far more Spanish players than Man Utd or Chelsea have English players. This isn't because of deliberate preference - the Spanish players in the Barca and Real teams are there on merit.

    Why is Spain so much better at producing good footballers? Futsal - a five-a-side, quick-passing game popular in Brazil, Argentina and Spain - may have something to do with the development of youngsters' ball-control and passing skills (and it would be great to see futsal catch on in England). The coaching system, and the club academies, seem to be much better in Spain, with Barca and Real (most obviously) putting a lot of effort into developing promising youngsters. Something that strikes me about a lot of English players is the lack of the basics, such as ball control, and Spanish players seem to have a lot more spatial awareness.

    The English game, which is awash with TV money, should be putting a lot more resources into developing young players. I also suspect that too many English youngsters prefer static activities (such as TV and computer games) to physical activities. Sport has been neglected in English schools (and I've even heard it said that sport is 'a bad influence' because there are 'losers' in team games).

    We've heard a lot about turning things round after England 1-4 Germany. Sadly, we heard many of the same resolutions way back in 1973, when England failed to qualify for the World Cup, and not much seems to have changed since then.

    England's football authorities should study young football in Spain, and learn from it.

  • Comment number 87.

    Arsenal could have made a great benefit, "stealing" a player of 16 years old, and selling for 40 Million euros. Arsenal broke a non written rule, to sign contracts with teen players of another club.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A bit hypocritical Barca 2010, only Xavi Puyol and Valdes started at Barca. Barca have stolen players youngers than Fabregas e.g. Iniesta from Albacete, Messi from Newel Old boys, Pedro and Busquets were with other teams also.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I understand you're proud of yr. club,like I am, but please, be better documented. No Club wanted to pay the treatment for Messi excepted Barça. (http://www.rtve.es/deportes/20100801/messi-pulga-a-lider-del-barcelona/288690.shtml), Iniesta, Xavi,Piqué,Puyol,Pedro,Busquets,Bojan,Messi,Fabregas,etc...have the stamp of FCB, have been educated in the "Masia" (200 Mts., from stadium)and they play together since childhood. A new generation is arriving, and Dos Santos, Muniesa, Bartra, will have their chances, in the position of Fabregas.
    FCB is another Club, since Cruyff came and settled some basics..
    1) If you don't like to play FCB, good wind, (Milla,Touré...) inmediately.
    2) He created the position of "4",and the school of playing with this system. (Xavi, Iniesta, Milla,De la Peña,...)
    3) All diferent teams inside the Club, play the same way like the Liga, this way, any young player can jump to upper category knowing perfectly what to do.
    4) Don't look outside, unless is much better than what we have inside.

    Since then FCB plays the most atractive football in world, (trainers say including Mourinho)

    This year Fabregas said (not FCB) I would like to play next season with Barça, and (not FCB) Wenger promised it to me. Now, someone changed of opinion, (not FCB).

    Guardiola has not many problems in this position, Wenger and Arsenal are happy, but Frabregas not so much any time he will join the national team and meet his old friends of FCB living,working in his country, and wining many competitions. He said one year longer with Arsenal (not FCB), but Guardiola said tonight that he hopes Fabregas enjoy a competitive league in England, was he saying good wind to Cesc?.

    And if Fabregas loose,Arsenal loose too,wasn't better to sell him this year for 40 or 45 Million€?.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 88.

    I am a barcelona fan and I must say that I am more than relieved with this. Everybody else though need to understand one fact. While arsenal fans are celebrating the commitment their captain have showed and Barcelona fans are not really affected there is one man who is. This deal falling apart is in my opinion a great thing fir barcarole because of the obvious facts. We don't need cesc right now and he is way too expensive to be a bencher. We have already an expensive bencher in ibrahimovic. The only person who will be affected negatively with this deal is cesc fabregas. All arsenal fans are ungrateful wretched dictators. I mean, face it. This man was bought for peanuts. This man gave you seven years of loyal service and when the player meekly requests fir a chance to go home this arsene holds him back and puts him in such an unpleasant situation, the whole world knows he wants to go to Barcelona , a place where he can actually win some shit. Sure at arsenal he may be a more important player, the boy aint gonna win shit, not with that stubborn dictator at the helm at least.. Cesc is gonna stay now for one more season, he is again gonna finish with nothing and he is gonna move. That's for sure and hopefully when arsenal have no other way but to sell him next year hopefully he. Will be more cheap. Because he may be a good ayer and young player, but he is also a player who has not won shit. Fabregas to come to Barcelona next summer for 35 million euros.

  • Comment number 89.

    Hello all, first up an apology: sorry it's taken me so long to respond to your comments. As you can probably guess this piece was bashed out on Friday afternoon in the immediate aftermath to CF's press statement. I then dashed to the exits for a lovely long weekend (with no sport whatsoever apart from Southend-Stockport text commentary on the phone).

    So the moment has probably passed for detailed responses and genuine give-and-take debate, or certainly my part in it as you lot did a first-rate job above.

    But what I will do is respond to direct questions. Here goes:

    TheAmj (6) - In a word, yes. But a longer answer would be that a rich/poor "power gap" is nothing new. I know many fans like to believe it's all about what happens on the pitch (or perhaps even the training ground) but the truth of professional football is that it's mostly about money. Wages are the key determinant. Nine times in 10 you'll get almost exactly what you pay for. Every now and then you'll get a "special crop" or a great manager that can briefly lift you above the wages/league position average (and even more rarely you might get a tactical innovation that does it) but the league table is usually a ranking of the clubs' financial muscle. Of course, there is a virtuous circle element to this - success brings revenue which enables you to invest more and so on and so on - hence the "chase the dream" dynamic that keeps things fresh, exciting and, let's be honest, a bit dangerous for those who fail. Anyway, lecture over. Arsenal are definitely emerging from their Emirates-inspired cash worries. The move to the new stadium, coupled with the intelligent way they bridged the gap over the last few years, will see the Gunners do very well in the coming seasons. I can definitely see them being much more confident/competitive when it comes to wages. Whether AW is going to break the habit of a lifetime and pile into the transfer market is another thing. Which brings me to your next question. I think you'll definitely be better than last season but I'm not sure if it will be enough to win the league. You've got a chance, though, but I'm really surprised AW hasn't sorted out the goalkeeper position yet. Another centre back and maybe a striker wouldn't be a bad idea either.

    Last night Eboue saved my life (12) - I wrote about the complex nature of Barca's finances in my last blog on this topic - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mattslater/2010/06/why_fabregas_is_still_a_gooner.html

    You're right to point out that there is Rosell view and a Laporta one, and the truth is somewhere between these positions. The reason for this is that it served Rosell's purposes to big up the debt during the election, just as the Laporta camp wanted to play it down. But I don't think I'm just parroting the Rosell line here. The fact of the matter is Barca were late with their wages in May/June and have since had to take a large syndicated loan from local banks in order to meet their immediate liabilities (things like tax, transfer instalments and wages). This would certainly seem to suggest Laporta's claims of the club being debt-free were wide of the mark.

    neova2 (13) - I'd like exact figures too! But as you may know, Arsenal have traditionally never revealed transfer prices (they nearly always list them as 'undisclosed') and things haven't been that transparent over at the Nou Camp either. But you're right to point out that nearly all transfers these days are paid in instalments (usually 2-4) and also usually include various clauses relating to games played and team performance.

    Airtzar (38) - Not sure what you're on about, old chap. OK, I can see how AW might well have appealed to CF's "heart" to keep him committed to the cause but ultimately the trump card was the five years left on his contract and Barca's inability to find enough money to persuade Arsenal to break it. And how can you deny that AW resisted the emotional blackmail from Barca? How else would you describe the nonsense coming forth from the likes of Puyol, Messi et al? Or are you objecting to my point about selling CF now would have been a bad decision? You see, you just don't make yourself clear at all. Likewise your next two "points". What are you trying to say? He wasn't unsettled by Barca's interest? He hasn't won things with Arsenal before? They have no chance this season? By all means disagree with me but please try to explain your own thoughts with something approaching clarity. Anybody can make "duh" noises.

    GunnerwinSumday (39) - I think others have commented on your Vieira/Henry argument so I'll leave that one alone. But you're right that AW hasn't always got his "let him go" timing spot on. I think he should have held on to Flamini, for example.

    db10gooner (51) - Fair enough but word to the wise: when you criticise somebody's writing style it's usually a good idea to demonstrate you can do much better. Clunky syntax and redundant ellipsis. Very poor.

    Right, that's enough, but I will make one final general point on the issue of CF's World Cup as it does impact on the question of how good he is. OK, he didn't have a spectacular WC and he clearly would have preferred to start. But he did come into the tournament off the back of a serious injury, which is hardly ideal when you're trying to break into the best midfield in world football. It should also be remembered that CF did break into the first XI by the end of Euro '08, where he was superb, and kept his place until the Confed Cup, where Spain suffered a defeat. I wonder if that counted against him briefly? We should also remember that he did come off the bench to great effect in the final (it was a lovely pass) so I think he made a greater contribution than a couple of other Spaniards with big reputations/price tags, Torres and Silva. And he's only 23! Xavi's natural replacement for country and club, I'm afraid to say (for Arsenal fans and England watchers).

    Thanks for reading, Matt

  • Comment number 90.

    When you read that a player commits to a team and signs a long term contract say 5 yrs in CF case, it means nothing - diddly squat doesn't it.
    I'm not an Arsenal fan - but if I was I'd be over the moon that CF had signed a long term contract-its a statement of intent that he wants to put to bed any suggestion of leaving.But now he feels that he can backtrack and change his mind.
    I don't know about anyone else but I think its sad that there doesn't seem to be any assurances or honouring of commitments anymore by players.
    I wish Arsenal and CF well and hope Arsene will spend some money on some players as I think they won't win the Premiership if he doesn't.

  • Comment number 91.

    As you say Matt, it's simply a question of a player for once honouring a recently-signed and lucrative contract, and nothing to do with player power or English piracy.

 

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