Més que un club: They’re Assholes

– The picture above is from an event that Cesc Fabregas attended two days ago. It was in his hometown and he told his adoring Spanish fans that he hoped to see them “more often and closer.”

– I’ve stated this as recently as a few days ago. I do not have a problem with Cesc Fabregas wanting to leave. Do I want him to leave? Of course not. Do I understand why he’d want to go home? Of course I do. A great man once said that Cesc’s penalty kick against Barcelona cemented him as an Arsenal legend, even if it was his last kick in an Arsenal shirt. I’d agree with that. He helped keep the club stable and in the Champions League when we could not afford to be major players in the transfer window. That will become apparent in the years to come, when we’ll be financially healthy and winning numerous trophies.

– What do I think happened? I think Barcelona has strung Cesc Fabregas out to dry. Read what Wenger said after the match against AC Milan in the Emirates Cup. “Barcelona gave up a long time ago.” Their actions don’t speak to that of course, with their daily regiment of unsettling Cesc and Arsenal now as routine as a roto-rooter inspection at Captain Caveman’s house.

– Today, Andres Iniesta, World Cup hero himself, appeared on Barcelona television and made his views clear. Of course, this was just a week or two after he stated that Arsenal should be respected. It’s as if they have nothing better to talk about, they only won the first World Cup for Spain.

– Captain Caveman wrote on his blog that he never said the quotes about Cesc and Arsenal, that an English paper fabricated it. Well, given their history of phone-paper sex they’ve conducted, why should I believe him? I’ll never forget the Champions League Final where Thierry was systematically hacked by Captain Caveman, who looks like a deformed Bret Hart, and Rafael Marquez. If they got the yellow cards they deserved, the match could have been very different.

– Next up is the Lionel Messi aka The Fake Argentine aka Barry Bonds. “When a player wants to come, and a club want a player, a deal can always be reached. And I am still confident he will arrive this summer.” Messi should ask his newly elected President how feverishly they’re working to deliver Cesc this summer, cause like I pointed out above, Wenger said they’ve given up. “I think Barcelona have acted in the right way. Yes, of course Barca players have come out and said we want Cesc at the club, but what’s the problem with that? Of course we want him to come home.” Hey Lionel, I’d like to invent a time machine, go back to 1956 and make love to Brigitte Bardot for hours, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Barcelona are broke, they’re desperate, and they’ve lost the battle. They’re playing Real Madrid’s game of using the media to pressure us into a sale. In other words, they’re acting like scumbags. The only way we sell him is if they pay us what Cesc is worth. Because we know this, Cesc will not put in a transfer request and he will play football to his utmost capacity when the season starts. I am not one to think that Cesc will give it less than his all.

– Finally, the cherry on top of the BarcaShit Cake was from their former president Joan Gaspart. He claimed that Wenger wanted to come to Barcelona but Peter Hill-Wood refused to allow that. Well, if I believed this was true, which I don’t, what is the purpose of saying this out loud? If you’re a gentleman, you don’t kiss and tell. Barcelona have a few gentlemen in their ranks, but it’s mostly a pompous club filled with talented, pampered babies. They’re an incredible footballing side, but this current crop have no class. But people always like winners, look how many bandwagon fans the New York Yankees have (I forgive you Emmanuel Eboue, but only you). I’m sure Wenger enjoyed listening to that.

– We’ve ripped Barcelona off before, and we’ll rip them off again when we’re ready. I guess they have a right to be upset at us, Overmars, Petit, Henry, and Hleb in recent memory. You know what those players have in common? They all love Arsenal more than Barcelona.

– Back to Messi for a moment, he also revealed this:

“Cesc told me about his recent chat with Arsene and the respect Cesc has for his current manager is huge. He says Arsene has the best footballing mind in the world, and that he owes the boss everything for the player he is today.”

Do not underestimate what Arsene Wenger means to Cesc Fabregas. Do not take Arsene Wenger for granted. In the rambling pleas for Cesc to return to Barcelona, Messi revealed something that was private and illuminating. It was clearly not an easy decision for Cesc to declare to Arsene that he wanted to leave. He expected Barcelona to make it easy for him by agreeing a fee that he’s worth. Instead, they’ve faxed two offers and conducted a public courtship of him while never seriously wanting to sign him. For his sake and ours, I hope they stump up the 50 million pounds that Cesc is worth and everything can be resolved.

– And if Barcelona can’t come up with the money, what part of FUCK OFF do they not understand?


Arsene Speaks

Arsene’s post match comments were telling. He has said what I have been thinking for weeks. Cesc must make it clear that he is at Arsenal and end the madness.

That alone won’t make Barcelona or Barcelona’s players stop making annoying comments about our captain but it will go a long way to help us all move along, even if only temporarily. Arsene has been fed up with all the chatter but what can he do? “There are a lot of things I don’t master in football and the rumours are one of these things.” He went on to address the tapping up question as well, “They [Barcelona] certainly have a case to answer but it is always the same – how can you prove it?”

So the door remains open for the player to set the record straight. “Cesc has five years to go and that is it…Who can stop the speculation? Only Cesc maybe, I don’t know, maybe not even Cesc.” Quite unsettling!

Common sense says that Xavi, Puyol, and Lerch (with his fucking US navy style buzz cut) should realize that they cannot afford the player. Until such time – and even then there’s no guarantee that we’ll sell – you’d think that they’d go about their business. You’d think that they’d be more worried about the upcoming campaign. Jose Mourinho is not an ordinary manager.

I used to have time for Barcelona. Some great players have worn their colors. They are Real Madrid’s bitter, bitter rival, a status that would endear almost any club to me but that doesn’t make up for acting low-rent and classless.

In other news…

Wilshere’s football instincts were glaring yesterday.
The new signings looked comfortable.
Eboue is to be respected – if Sagna goes down with injury, I won’t fret.
There were no injuries, not that I’ve seen reported anyway.
Wilshere/Frimpong got good experience against Seedorf/Gattuso.
Randall may have given Arsene the green light for a permanent loan.

I was exchanging thoughts with Supah Strikah after the match. He felt that Fabianski might have done better on Pato’s goal. He felt that he didn’t take charge. I commented that it might be harsh to blame him yet I understand the sentiment very well. Let’s be clear. When ever a goal is scored against us, as long as those two clowns are in the nets we will always feel that they could/should have done better. That’s the kind of reputation and support they’ve earned.

Interestingly, Arsene made this point about the goal, “You can’t fault him [Fabianski] for the goal and he did everything else well. The only thing is there wasn’t much command on the free kick. From outside it looked like no-one took charge of the organisation and that’s a little bit down to goalkeeper.” I would add that organisation is also a captain’s job. And it was a bit disappointing to see the taller Djourou mis-time his header and then Vermaelen (captain for the day) beaten to the ball by the admitedlly dangerous Alexandre Pato. Vermaelen can and will do better. Djourou? I’m not so sure.

A fellow Gooner reminded me that he predicted Chamakh would “hit the ground running”. He seems to be settling in nicely. I need to see that, as my confidence is beginning to wane after years of supporting this group unequivocally. The addition of an effective striker is a good thing. Big ups Yardie! You’re right so far.

I just had a vision of Chamakh going nuts when we play Scum, making their shit stadium what Arshavin has done with Anfield. Hopefully our new striker will continue where Bob left off and score against _pur_ for fun, where ever we play them. Having ‘almost signed Rivaldo’ once, now they can claim the same about Luis Fabiano. To compensate for losing out on another Brazilian, Harry Redknapp has bought Anapka, which is a bit baffling. Why do you need another donkey when you’ve got Dawson and King?

So we wait on additional signings as time ticks away. All is not doom and gloom but I’d be really happy if Arsene plugged a few gaping holes. El Cunto said he’d take Friedel. I would too.

Celtic today! The Boss says he’ll play his best side. Oxymoronic since Clown No. 1 will be in goal.

Chat later,
Agent 86

No Surprises

We’ve been prepared for this moment ever since Cesc burst onto the scene and announced himself as a super prospect when he started playing alongside Patrick Vieira in 2004. I had heard a story that before Cesc signed for us at the age of 16 that he begged Barcelona for an opportunity to prove himself and his pleas were rebuffed. Now, I don’t know if that story is true or not, but I don’t remember Barcelona pitching much of a fit when we initially signed him. It’s only after his cerebral brain proved to be old enough to play in one of the top leagues in the world at the age of 18 that Barcelona claimed outrage. Regardless, the fact that Cesc would want to return to Barcelona was never up for debate, it was a matter of when.

– Hopeful Gooners wished upon a star that he would stay until he was 30. Most Gooners might have imagined him leaving to replace an aging Xavi. Pessimistic Gooners thought the date was right around the corner. Having just watched the Arsenal Season Review of last year, the last couple of months probably made Cesc more anxious to leave than ever.

– Consider what happened. We were destroyed by Messi in the Champions League. Fabianski singlehandedly exploded a grenade in our face. Barcelona repeated in La Liga. Spain won the World Cup. Pique and Puyol whispered sweet nothings into his ear for the last three months.

– On a complete side note, the subject of Cesc’s controversial transfer when he arrived at Arsenal was not controversial at all. In England, anybody aged 16 can sign a professional contract with anybody they want. Not all of Barcelona’s famed players come through La Masia at a young age. Puyol was 17 when he joined, Busquets was 17 when he joined, Pedro was 17 when he joined, Jeffren was 16 when he joined, and Messi was 11 when he joined but from a foreign country and mainly came over to enjoy human growth hormone treatment. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, but what is the difference with what we did with Cesc and what Barcelona did with those players? Nothing. So, when they claim that Cesc isn’t worth more than 35 million pounds because they reared him, it’s code talk for “we’re broke”.

– My colleague stated that he wasn’t bothered about Barcelona players talking about their desire for Cesc to join Barcelona. I’d agree with most of that, but I don’t appreciate it when the line is crossed. For me, the line gets crossed when Puyol starts to almost refer to Arsenal as a “prison” and when Xavi says Cesc “deserves better than Arsenal”. The people of New Orleans deserved better. Cesc is being paid 90,000 pounds a week and plays for one of the most glamorous sides in Europe. I don’t mind them talking all the time, but it feels like a systematic ploy to drive the price down. Talk about Cesc all you want, just don’t slander our club. Puyol claims we should “show more class”. Well, Wenger said he wouldn’t complain about Barcelona’s constant stream of Cesc foreplay, classy enough for you? They must all have their separate days in which one of their teammates will talk about Cesc. Keep talking, it’s not as if Wenger is listening.

– Perhaps the thing that really bothers me is that there’s clearly truth behind these words. Cesc does want to leave. There’s no doubting that. His respect for Wenger and the fans are what’s preventing him from going even more public or handing in a transfer request. All we had heard from Cesc is that he had a conversation with Wenger that was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to go through. We can infer all we like, but Wenger is not talking about it. Instead, Arsene is adamant that he’ll stay. Taggart did this two years ago with Cristiano Ronaldo.

– My colleague has also raised the point that this saga has done harm to our team. He’s asked whether or not Cesc will be fully committed and whether or not the other players will fully trust him. It’s a valid thing to consider, but I think once Cesc knows he’s going to stay for the year, he’ll buck up and give it his all. He’s a true professional and he’s not going to sulk; he simply respects Arsenal too much. Kobe Bryant requested a trade from the Lakers a few years ago. In his first game, he was booed at Staples. Regardless of that, he played to his full capacity and the team performed so well that he rescinded his trade request and started a run of three consecutive Finals runs culminating in back to back Championships. That saga tested me fully as a sports fan, because that was the same summer that Henry left Arsenal. When the word circulated that Cesc wanted out, I wasn’t pleased, but I wasn’t crushed.

– As much as we do not want to have an unsettled player on our squad, what is most important to me is establishing a hard line of negotiation. Quite simply, we hold all the cards and Barcelona knows it. Take a club like Lyon for example. Jean-Michel Aulas is amongst the best transfer operators in the business. He extracted 26 million pounds for Michael Essien and 26 million euros for Diarra. Both players stated that they wanted to leave and he still got those fees. To accept anything less than 50 million pounds is an insult. There are only a handful of players who have a higher transfer value than Cesc Fabregas. I do not mind him leaving, but I do mind him leaving for less than he’s worth.

– If that doesn’t happen this summer, then it’ll happen next summer. Something inside me (and this 100% pure speculation) thinks that this may Wenger’s final season. That’s not to suggest the board will fire him. It’s also not to suggest that if he wins, he’ll come back. I just have a feeling that he wants to have his squad together to mount a challenge for the Premier League and the Champions League and that’s why he’s desperate to hold onto Cesc. Let me repeat that I’m just making a guess and that I hope he’ll stay for many more years. But if that was the case, it would signal his intention to go out with a bang.

– Either way, this whole Cesc saga has been a chore. What I know is this. If we don’t get proper value for Cesc, it’s bad for the club. If we sell him for the proper amount, we can replace Cesc (Ozil and Hazard come to mind, not on a one for one basis, but just talented players who are out there). If we keep him for another year, I know that Cesc will be as committed and will want to go to Barcelona with a Premier League medal in his wardrobe; that’ll have to be good enough for now.

It Might As Well Be Me

General Dante sent me an email Friday listing the squad likely to face Barnet on Saturday. The first name caused a reaction that stopped me reading the rest of the list. The poodle walker’s name is one I haven’t written or uttered since some time in late April. Seeing him as one of the chosen keepers to face Barnet made my skin tingle but not in an, “ooh, that was nice please do it again” way. No! No way!

I felt like shutting down. I didn’t feel right. My frustration levels peaked. Desperation and an anger chipped away at me from inside like that damn woodpecker that woke me this morning.

It irritates me that we haven’t sent this guy on his way. I did not watch the first pre-season match. I refused to, thinking that the poodle-walking fraud would play. During and after the match however, I did get updates from one of my colleagues and later got news from the other that the clown didn’t play. Let’s hope he does not feature in any upcoming matches either.

Could we finally be on the verge of selling the cunt?

I would be happier than a pig in shit were that to be the case. The guy in the picture above will live the rest of his life not knowing I took his picture. He will not know that I would rather he played in goal than the poodle walker. At least I’d be able to laugh at this guy. The incumbent makes me want to cry.

Come on Arsene! Do your duty. This one’s a real and legitimate duty. It’s not the type that would have you starting fights at MLS matches. Improve the team with a move that will make me whole again. Buy a proper goalkeeper and an able, ambitious understudy to push him while Vito Mannone and Wojszczesny battle it out to be the third option, or better.

On another note; I have to say that it would not be easy for me to trust Cesc now if I were an Arsenal team-mate. How do I go into battle with a captain who yearns to be somewhere else? And I imagine that might have applied to Patrick as well all those years ago. I’ve spoken to people who feel that Wenger is to blame because he hasn’t matched the player’s ambitions. I wonder if it’s not about more than what Wenger has or has not done.

Another guy said that the Arsenal board are afraid of a confrontation. The player is under contract at Arsenal. We don’t need to seek a confrontation with anybody. We need to know that Cesc will give at least 100% to our efforts in trying to win trophies. End of…for now.

Chat later!

Wenger Shuts the Door

– Barcelona have admitted defeat in their chase for Cesc Fabregas. They have also concluded an 11.2 million pound transfer for Adriano (the left back from Sevilla). They won’t have the funds needed to buy Cesc, even at their delusional valuation price.

“Arsenal feel very hurt by Barca. They don’t want to listen to offers or sell and they are not putting the player on the market. There was a strong dispute a few months ago and they have not forgotten it.” – Sandro Rosell, Barcelona President

– He goes on to suggest that nobody would pay 50 million pounds for Cesc. That’s perfectly fine with us. Cesc can leave for Barcelona. In five years.

– Let’s be clear, it’s obvious that Cesc pined for a return back to Catalunya, but he wasn’t desperate enough to hand in a transfer request. That has less to do with his desire as much as his respect for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. Barcelona have basically hung Cesc out to dry, and it’s time to welcome our captain back with open arms (if anybody even thought about being overly critical of Cesc).

– This, the act of defying Barcelona, is an action of a big club. We are a big club. It’s time for us to act like this all of the time.

– With that, our first preseason game is upon us. The start of the season is merely a few weeks away.

Is There Happiness Around The Bend?

Be it Patrick or Thierry or any other player before or after them, the best way to squelch rumours about where you want to play is to categorically state so. “I want to play for Hayes” or “I want to play for Baranquilla” or “I want to play for Arsenal”. I haven’t heard that from Cesc Fabregas stating that he is leaning toward Arsenal or Barcelona. Have I missed the actual quotes that make it as clear as clear can be?

I’ve read what many (perhaps too many) other people feel about where he should or will play. The times I’ve seen direct quotes from the player himself have been few. Yes, I admit to reading far fewer stories about Arsenal than most people do but that makes it worse since I sift through the rubble first and try to read only the credible sources. Cesc hasn’t been clear when he has spoken.

All summer long, others have posted, printed, assumed, speculated, and guessed that he will go back to Spain. The player has said that a pre-World Cup conversation with Arsene Wenger was a moving, perhaps life-altering experience. He has said that his future is not in his hands.

What does all that mean?

He will go home at some point but frankly, I don’t know if he’s coming or going. Meanwhile our first pre-season match is less than a week away. I refuse to read, much less believe, every story written (especially those without quotes) so my sources are not endless. Actually, most people’s sources are limited, even if they would have you believe otherwise. Therein lies the basic problem with transfer rumours. They are seldom credible yet they grow feet on a logarithmic scale.

Nearly every summer, Arsenal were to lose Patrick Vieira. He was reported years later to have stalled on going to La Liga because of the way Real Madrid treated Claude Makelele. OK! So he did at least consider the move. What irks me to no end is the non-stop media manipulation of situations, making Arsenal look impotent and unable to keep its best players. We kept him for nearly a decade. And like Henry, we got his peak years. Spread that across your banners. Lead with those stories. Obviously, I’d be naïve to expect that. Especially as long Arsene Wenger is still at Arsenal. There are many parties just waiting to heap more crap on him as our trophyless spell continues. Many of them wear the Arsenal top. The other major annoyance is that in situations like this, the player himself can (and should, IMO) state what he wants, clearly. I’d be naïve to expect that too. Agents would surely advise against it. It doesn’t make good business sense.

So where are we with this Cesc thing? Arsenal fans (not excluding myself from that group though I am not in full agreement with the notion that we’ve been wronged, necessarily) are upset that Pique and Puyol draped Cesc with a Barcelona top during the World Cup winners’ celebration. Let’s be clear. That action was not wise but nor was it the worst thing they could do. The pressure is clearly on Cesc now (if not Wenger/AFC) more than ever to stop the madness. I wouldn’t be upset with Cesc and the poodle walker if they put an Arsenal top on Casillas in public. I wouldn’t be upset with them if they put one on Xabi Alonso in public. I wouldn’t mind if Sagna and Diaby put one on Franck Ribery. Perspective must be considered in these cases.

I’m more bothered by Cesc not being forthright than I am by fellow Catalunyans trying to sway him to leave London. Why should we expect them to care about our feelings as Arsenal fans? How many Arsenal fans sent letters of apology to Barcelona fans when we moved Cesc to London? We can complain all we want about other peoples’ behavior – even if legitimately so in some cases – but again, perspective, perspective, perspective. And moreover, why doesn’t Cesc allay Arsenal fans with more directness? Are negotiations ongoing?

Throughout all this, we are seemingly en route to starting a new campaign with Clown No. 1 and his ‘exceedingly impressive in training’ understudy as our goalkeepers. It bothers me to no end that we haven’t sent those two cocksuckers on their way yet. I have extreme patience for Arsene Wenger. What I don’t have is time for those two poor excuses for bad amateurs. The only bright spot is that they cannot possibly get worse. Right? I am right about that part at least, right?

Concerned! Very concerned!!!

Not Vintage

– Nobody can dispute the fact that Spain were worthy winners of this World Cup. Additionally, nobody can really say that this was a vintage World Cup champion. If they don’t continue this run (and they very well could) and expand upon it, they could be remembered primarily in history books only.

– 8 goals in 7 games speaks for itself. One may say that it’s because teams came to frustrate Spain, and that is also true. But observe the Spanish starting lineup and see that they had two holding players, although Xabi Alonso is a fine passer of the ball as well. Additionally, with Xavi in front of them, they were hard to break down as well. Spain set out to win the tournament, and that was their primary objective above and beyond any obligation to play aesthetically appealing football. There is actually nothing wrong with that, but the style that they’re being praised for simply didn’t come off in this tournament.

– Perhaps if Torres was fit, they could have been more explosive. Perhaps if Cesc Fabregas had played more, they would have banged in more goals. Subsequently, does Cesc actually earn the plaudits he deserves this time around? He is virtually a forgotten man when it comes to Spain’s Euro 08 triumph, and this time around he started exactly zero matches. That didn’t prevent him from instantly changing matches and providing the assist for Iniesta’s World Cup clinching goal.

– I think the Spanish players realize how good Cesc Fabregas is. Just ask Puyol and Pique, who today draped a Barcelona jersey around him, taking their campaign to bring Cesc back to Barcelona to an embarrassing level. They’re being counterproductive to Barcelona’s scheme to buy back Cesc for as cheap as possible. To me, it’s clear that Cesc wants to be back amongst his amigos in Catalunya. And if that’s what he wants, the Barcelona brass should pay what he’s worth. The market dictates how much a player like Cesc Fabregas is worth. If Yaya Toure (a fine player by the way) is worth 25 million pounds, then Cesc is certainly worth double that.

– Certainly, there were teams that I was pulling for in the World Cup. The World Cup is a spectacle that should be enjoyed. Living in the States, you wish that everything would shut down for a month (as most countries seem to do during the World Cup), just so you could enjoy it all. Let’s be clear though, Arsenal losing to Stoke affects me far more than anything the World Cup can offer. And with that, let’s shift our minds back to the club we hold dear to our hearts.

– Arsene, we’re ready for more. Let’s go win trophies.