Archive for August 11th, 2011

The End Is Nigh

433 comments August 11th, 2011

Whisper it, but it may almost be over.

El Mundo Deportivo: "Today, Cesc"

A transfer saga that has hung its miserable shadow over us since the day Cesc Fabregas first arrived in London, and that has spent two years showering uncertainty on to our captain and our club, may be about to end.

Widespread reports in England and indeed Barcelona (click images on the right) suggest a deal is imminent.  Of course, we’ve been here before, but the sheer weight of speculation suggests there may be fire at the heart of all this smoke.  The impending commencement of the season, too, may have hurried negotiations along.

Barcelona’s supposed final offer, which they expect Arsenal to accept today, totals €40m.  It’s unclear whether that’s a full €40m, or if the Catalan club are including in that figure the €5m Arsenal will save by not paying Cesc any kind of loyalty bonus.  Whatever they end up paying, it won’t be more than about €29m upfront – and it’ll be a bargain.  Cesc will go for marginally more than Andy Carroll.

Sport: "Cesc - Yes"

As I said a few days ago, the specifics of the deal don’t matter that much to me.  In fact, I’d happily lose out on a million euros or so if it meant we could get it done quickly.  Going in to the new season with this huge issue resolved and a new captain appointed would provide a welcome boost.

When the deal is finally done, both clubs will declare the fee “undisclosed”.  Barca well tell the Catalan press they got a bargain, and Arsenal will brief the English press that they got a fair price.  We’ll never know the truth.

There’s plenty more to say about Cesc and his departure.  I’ll save it for when any of this speculation is confirmed.  The next days promise to be painful, but I think it’s best for everyone now that this gets sorted.  The night is darkest just before the dawn; we can and will emerge from this still unbowed, still Arsenal.

Parting with Cesc will certainly hurt more than seeing off Samir Nasri.  If rumours are to be believed, he could follow Cesc through the door marked ‘exit’, with Manchester City ready to pay upwards of £20m for the midfielder.  If we’re going to lose Nasri, I’d rather do it now for that sort of money than in a year for nothing.  He played for France in their 1-1 draw with Chile last night, so if he is left out at Newcastle on Saturday it’s safe to say he has little future at Arsenal.  If, that is, he’s still here.

An Arsenal executive told the BBC that “all the funds generated by the sale will be reinvested in new players”.  I don’t doubt the board would be willing to do just that, but the final decision, as ever, will rest with Arsene.  Will he be pragmatic enough to forget some of his principles and spend the money required to settle an unsteady ship?  Time will tell.

One signing that does appear imminent is that of Joel Campbell.  I told you on July 29th he’d agreed to join, and last night a Costa Rican journalist who met the U-20 international side off the plane from the World Cup in Colombia confirmed to me that Campbell intends to hold a press conference announcing his decision on Friday before travelling to England on Saturday to finalise things.  The club have applied for a special talent visa as they did with Ryo Miyaichi, and, if successful, would make Campbell part of the first-team squad for 2011/12.

Right, that’ll do for now.  Something tells me I might be back here before the day is out.

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