Archive for June 3rd, 2010

Now Cesc will find out how much Barca really want him

32 comments June 3rd, 2010

People sometimes talk about a statement being strongly-worded.  Arsenal’s response to Barcelona’s first official bid for Cesc Fabregas was positively Herculean.

“Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is under contract with the Club until the summer of 2015. He is a highly-valued member of the team and part of our future plans.

We have followed recent speculation linking Cesc with a move away from the Club but as there has never been any official approach for him, only two informal exchanges, in which we made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in transferring Cesc, we have refrained from publicly passing comment. However, yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc and in response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again that we have no intention of selling our captain.

To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word.”

Yesterday morning, Barcelona mouthpiece Joan Oliver had announced that the club had made a formal offer. Sources vary on the subject of the proposed fee: some say £29m, some £33m. Either way, rejection of such a disproportionately low figure comes as no surprise. Even Barca would have only seen this bid as the opening stake in a drawn-out negotiation.

However, they might not have anticipated the force of Arsenal’s public response.  The last sentence in particular piles the pressure on to a club who pride themselves on their ideals.

Of course, this is far from the end of this story.  Barcelona will regroup and try to come up with an offer they think will tempt Arsenal in to a change of both heart and policy.  For our part, I’m sure our intention is to fight to keep Cesc, unless Barca can muster a bid that is too good to justify refusing – if we were 1000% sure of keeping him, perhaps he’d have featured in this membership form.  At a guess, I’d say that figure would be around the £50m mark.

I seriously doubt Barcelona’s capacity and desire to go that high for a player they can be confident will join them eventually – even if it’s on a Bosman five years down the line.  Having made Fabregas and the public aware of their interest, they had to make a formal bid to avoid accusations of tapping up.  Having been so sturdily rebuffed, we’ll soon discover how much they want the player.  They’ve twisted Cesc’s head with talk of his ‘Barca DNA’, but it’s now he’ll find out how much they really value him.

Don’t bother bracing yourselves: this one could run and run.

The Arsenal captain (a role which he may find hard to credibly retain even if he stays) will return from his broken leg in a friendly for Spain against South Korea today.  A good performance will make Barca’s offer look all the more ridiculous.

There were yet more stories about Joe Cole yesterday, though none from a particularly authoritative source.  I still have a feeling it could well happen, though I hope it’s not at the expense of Andrey Arshavin.  Cole and the Russian are similar players, playing in the same position and sitting at a similar level in our wage structure.  One can imagine Arsene being tempted to bring Cole in on a free and shift Arshavin out for £15m or so, thus getting a similar player and turning a handy profit.  I hope it doesn’t come to that, as for me Arshavin remains a superior and more productive player than Cole.  Ideally, we’ll see them in tandem.

Right.  Time to get on with hoping Liverpool don’t appoint anyone capable of winning the League to replace Rafa The Gaffer.

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