Ex-Cesc baggage

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Sometimes, an internet leave of absence is just what the doctor ordered. I rolled up my trouser legs, knotted my hanky and set off south for ten days, and being too stingy to pay for 3G abroad, I made do without the interwebs entirely.

Well, not entirely. When I encountered unlocked wifi (as I did, rather excitedly, in a Co-op car park) I inhaled it and I inhaled it deep. But by and large, I made do with old-fashioned methods of communication (pigeons, text messages).

In that time we signed Oxlade-Chamberlain (one for the future), Campbell (one for the future).

But last night, we bowed to the inevitable – perhaps a year after we should have done – and agreed to sell Cesc Fabregas (one for the now) back to Barcelona. People decry it as a poor deal when he could have been sold for £50m on the open market, but this was never an open market deal and besides, it still amounts to a £35m ish profit on our initial outlay. Now all he needs to do it pass his medical. Will his hamstrings heal in time? I reckon a couple of strepsils should sort it.

Cesc has been a magnificent player for Arsenal, and he gave us eight excellent years of service. While many questioned the ability and attitude of some around him, on the pitch he himself was peerless. Without doubt one of the best midfielders I have seen in my years at Arsenal. Calm on the ball, tenacious, great touch, an eye for a pass, the ability to create and score goals. Yes, he was that good. My favourite moment? This of course.

What if?

What if we had packed the midfield and defence with experienced winners to complement him? We would probably have won something, but even then would he have stayed? I doubt it. He was always going to go back and I for one can certainly not begrudge him that.

That said, his desperation to go home this summer, coupled with Nasri’s rather clear intentions to make use of the exit door, has made for a rotten summer. Arsenal have handled both issues badly. Barcelona must shoulder blame too for the way they have driven the price down.

What does it all mean? For me, both players have been sold at least a month too late (assuming Nasri goes). Now, I know Arsenal were unable to drive the timings here, but to sell two of your most creative and experienced players after the season begins and right before a crucial – and tricky – Champions League qualifier is dismal and leaves us scrabbling for reinforcements.

Sort both deals out and we will have more cash than most clubs can dream of to strengthen.

It’s a boring old drum to bang, but bang it I must: We need to spend money.

In the meantime, good luck to you Cesc, and thanks.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Joakim Apell

    I don’t quite agree with the fact that the low price is Barcas fault. Cesc had 4 years to go, we could have said no. And no. And no. Until they met our valuation. This is  Wenger’s lowest moment. And I’m afraid, there will be more moments like this.

  2. East Lower

    Yeah – but Cesc wanted out. No use to us in that state. I’d rather we didn’t look desperate. He is, after all, just another footballer and we’ve had plenty of good ones in 125 years. We’ll have plenty more.

  3. Michael Collins

    Great clip.  His reaction after that goal and the goal against AC Milan show that he had tremendous feeling for the club.  He gave his all when he was able. 

    He should remember moments like that.  They’ll be rarer in the duopoly of the Spanish League. 

  4. Bolanle Agbetayo

    The deal is OK knowing that his playing time has been on the decline in the last two years. Fine, he will remain a great player but Barca will never get as much from him as we did. Thats where the £35mil makes good bargain for Arsenal. Wenger should have done this deal last year and Samir would have signed a renewed contract and maybe that money would have made Samba/Phil deal last January.

  5. Anonymous

    From what’s been reported, Arsenal set the price at £40m, told Barca this at the start of the summer and said it had to be payment in full for the sale to take place. Barca didn’t have the cash. They could have sold minor squad player(s) to raise some extra money. But Arsenal relented on the terms. It was a poor negotiation. If there were going to be add-ons later, they should have taken the total to £40m or more. If the buyer wants to make part of the fee conditional, there has to be a trade-off in favour of the seller.

  6. goonerista

    Yes Cesc wanted out but the fact is that he could only if not being sold a) strike b) be a pro. I think I know what he’d done. He also did nothing to ensure the fee would be appropriate which must be seen as he let down the club that made a world class player out of him. He always did his best for us but he will never be a legend. Part of that must be on AW since Cesc never was much of a leader. He did only lead by example but a great club need a great captain.

  7. Anonymous

     udinise game now on general sale from 35 quid
    them in the shirt need our support
    thanks for your contribution cesc
    you have my upmost respect as do all who have worn the shirt[stapleton and cole aside]
    but you don,t live here anymore
    love them that do

  8. Glen O'Neil

    My whole problem with the transfer is that by not handing in a transfer request on May 23rd after the Fulham match – even though it was clear from early on in the summer that this is what he wanted – he has made the club (and Arsene) look bad. He didn’t want to risk his reputation with the fans of the club, but he’s made the whole situation much worse.

  9. Jeff

    About Cesc, you could view it as really good money for a player who is often injured, although I do buy the argument that a team like Chelsea, Man City, or PSG would have paid more for him, so in a sense the situation is a bit of debacle.  I love the player, although I stop short of considering him a likely future Ballon D’Or winner – a possible future winner maybe, but not really close to that level in the last season or two.  Still, he was reliably good when fit, so he’s definitely a big miss.

    Now all eyes must surely turn to Ramsey as a huge unknown quantity.  What a story.  Broke through, had his leg broken.  Came back from injury, and almost immediately steps into the departing skipper’s shoes, at least partly if not a like-for-like replacement.  I have a feeling that with a run of games, he’ll be very good.  Maybe his technique is too limited to ever be a top, top player, but I’m not convinced of that yet.

  10. Anonymous

    What really upsets me is that all this Cesc/Nasri nonsense has continued to allow Wenger to pull the wool over people’s eyes re: his transfer policy. The fact is even if both stayed we still needed three new players in order to compete for the title. We still have only one centre-half who’s good enough, no left back who’s good enough & with Song’s inevitable suspension we now have to play a kid with no experience v MU/Liverpool. Sorry…..of course I’m forgetting now that Frimpong has 6 whole minutes of experience behind him all will be ok !!!!!
    Add to that a replacement for Cesc…..and that’s 4 players (and not more teenagers) in 2 weeks. Anyone really see that happening ?????

    I too will miss Cesc terribly. I just don’t get the vitriol being aimed at him by some. A truly magnificent player with a magnificent will to win. Think he’s just been let down badly by his manager & some of his teammates for the last 2/3 years. Farewell Cesc. It has been an absolute privilege to watch you these last 8 years.
    I am (very sadly) a bit teary writing this !!

  11. Jeff

    I was starting to panic, mildly, at the end of July about the lack of signings.  With about 12 days left in the transfer window, I’m starting to develop an incredulous, somewhat maniacal laugh that comes out when I think about the squad. 

    I won’t be surprised if four good players are all signed on the last day, but in the mean time, with the situation giving me so much dread, I have to resort to incredulous, maniacal laughter.

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