May 262010

After a week of speculation about our captain, we finally had some concrete quotes today, clearing the whole issue up. Well, sort of. Okay, so they didn’t really. We don’t know whether he is coming or going, but we do know that he is respecting his contract and leaving the matter entirely in the hands of Arsenal Football Club:

“I will only say one thing, I have great respect for Arsene Wenger, for Arsenal football club and for the Arsenal fans. Sometimes not even in my house I felt more love than I felt at Arsenal.”

“I had a long conversation with Arsene, it was probably the greatest conversation I’ve had with someone in my life and I respect him so much and I don’t want to say too much about this.”

“He told me to concentrate on my football, he told me to concentrate on the World Cup, he told me to leave it in his hands, he will deal with whatever happens in my future and that’s what I’m doing, just concentrating on football.”

“It’s not up to me anymore and it’s just now about Arsenal and wherever it has to be and that’s it.”

It is fairly apparent that at some point in that conversation with Wenger, Cesc expressed a desire to move back to Barcelona, and was extremely grateful for the manager’s reaction. That alone suggests that Wenger has indicated that the club would sell if the right offer came in, which I don’t think anyone has ever doubted. The question is: what is that price, and will/can Barcelona pay it?

I’m not going to read too much into the fact that Cesc talks about the love he ‘felt’ (past tense) at Arsenal – English is not his first language and it would therefore be churlish to over analyse.

What is fantastic to see is that he is handing control to the club, where it has always belonged. He has made his wishes known, but if the conversation was as enlightening and meaningful as he suggests, it was extremely likely to have been frank and honest on both sides. Cesc will have explained his reasons for wanting to leave, and Wenger will have made his position known.

Arsene is not a man to keep a player against his wishes as long as the club is suitably compensated, so that there is a price on our captain’s head is not in doubt. But by removing himself from all negotiations in such a mature and classy way, Cesc is refusing to bow to the pressure Barcelona are exerting. Their familiar and juvenile attempts to drive a chasm between player and club, in order to drive the price down, have failed. The two are as united as ever, and will only be separated if the move is beneficial to both.

Cesc will not come out and demand a transfer, and Arsenal will not contact Barcelona seeking to sell him. There is only one move available to the Spanish club, and it is the move they should have initiated proceedings with – an offer. If it is too low, and they refuse to move towards our valuation, Cesc’s respect for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger will see him return to the Emirates without fuss. Checkmate.

At last, a club and a player are insisting Barcelona go about their transfer business in the correct way. Be proud.

Elsewhere, one Spaniard is heading home – Fran Merida’s expected move to Atletico Madrid has been completed – a shame he could not make it at Arsenal, but perhaps La Liga will prove a more fruitful league to play in. Good luck to him.

Sol Campbell is considering a move to Celtic, but only if Arsenal do not offer him a new contract. Personally, I hope (and believe) that he will remain at the club next season – he still has plenty to offer, not only on the pitch itself but in the dressing room. One more year, Sol.

The podcast is back

After a week’s holiday, the Beautiful Groan podcast is back. It is shorter than usual thanks to there being absolutely no football to talk about, but there is still plenty on the show – Chamakh is welcomed, the Cesc situation is discussed (although it was recorded before today’s press conference), another footballing annoyance is consigned to Room 101 and there is even time to take a look at our defence, predicting what may happen to our back line this summer.

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Enjoy. And thank you Cesc for showing the class befitting our club captain.

  10 Responses to “Cesc is a captain of class + Podcast #3”

  1. Well atleast he has had the decency to come and say something, how ever come to think of it, i dont know whats worse. the deafening silence of before or him not suggesting that he was going to be our arsenal captain for the following season. i cant imagine it helps being at training every day with his spanish teammates persuading him to come home. however, if this is to be last we have seen from our beloved captain and arguably one of the top 3 players arsenal has ever had, we can only sit here and blame Arsene. although no one is bigger than the club at arsenal, he built a team around cesc, one that he must have promised cesc would develop into real winners but his tactics didnt work. they came close multiple times but all struggled in the final run ins to the season because of lack of squad depth and an inexperience of real winners. i think if arsene doesnt buy 3 more top quality players we will be having to say good bye to our captain. i hope for cesc sake that arsene does buy because i fuly believe he can win everything that he wants to with arsenal just with 3 extra additions. if it were me, id much rather stay than go back to the team that so easily let me go all those years ago, when eventually i become the best midfielder ever and they all of a sudden want me back and pronounce me as their prodigal son. and add insult some more, they only value me at 30 million when that twat ronaldo cost 90. if you want you ‘prodigal son back so bad’ no price should get in the way. come arsene lets show them whos in the driving seat here, we own the player, for another 4 years. lets bring the glory days back to our ends of london before the scum make closer grounds on us. in arsene we trust.
    keep it goonerish

    • Certainly Barcelona cannot sit there and say ‘we’ll only offer 30m’. They just paid 34m for David Villa so if they don’t at least match that, they are saying Villa was the more important signing. Frankly, if Villa is worth 34m, Cesc is worth at least 50m.

      Perfect scenario is Arsene convincing Cesc to stay, and signing the few players we need to move forward. We’ll see.

  2. He may well be saying the right things to the right people, shame though Barca and Cescs father aren’t.
    Why did he sign a long deal if he had no intention of staying?
    Why does he wish to leave a club which he so dearly loves?
    As long as we get a fair cash amount, up front and the money owed from Hleb and Henry let him go. This is the time for the board to shine!

    • He signed the eight year contract four years ago, and probably hoped to win something in the first half of the contract, in fairness. Also, the long contract was partially to protect us in precisely this situation.

      It shouldn’t detract from his love of Arsenal that a move back to his hometown club, who happen to be exceptionally successful, is tempting.

      • I don’t remember him expressing love for Barca when he left to join us.

        • That’s because he would be stupid to do so.

          It should be a given that his hometown club is one he has affection for, and it no reason to criticise him.

  3. Good post. =)

  4. I am having trouble downloading the podcast from the direct link. Anyone else having that problem?

  5. i think this was a “nice” way of cesc telling barca and his dad to f*ck of otherwise why would he place his future in the hands of a club he wants to leave. doesnt make sense now does it.

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