The ‘Unsettling’ saga

The season has finished and we still have 8 days until the transfer window officially opens, so its that time of year where clubs sound out their top targets for the summer. And for many clubs it means a mammoth amount of talk about their best players being linked somewhere else.

And this is a feeling an Arsenal fan knows too well. Having put up with the Barcelona hierarchy and players drone on and on about Cesc Fabregas last summer, the gooners knew full well that Barca would be back for round two once the European Cup had been placed into the cabinet. And as if on cue, here we go…

I for one, love the way Barcelona play football, and they are fortunate enough to have a dozen or so of the world’s best footballers at the peak of their talents at the same time in the same team. I love the ethos Pep Guardiola has as a manager and if anyone has ever been to the Camp Nou, it is a majestic stadium. However, one thing I dislike (besides the constant theatrics – Busquets looking at you here, son) is the way they go about their business. And it would be unfair to just tar Barca with that brush, as many clubs, even Arsenal themselves have been accused of unsettling players in the past. However, given the hype around this case, the fact it includes two Champions League teams, one of the top players in the game, and that it has dragged on for two years, Barcelona have deserved this special mention.

And why get so upset? Is it because I begrudge Fabregas a move to one of the top clubs in the world? Or that the Premier League would suffer? Or Barcelona may possibly get stronger? No, its because at the minute Barcelona are all bark and no bite. It’s all well and good going on and on about a player, but if you’re not willing to put your money where your mouth is, you should just keep it shut. Last year, Gerard Pique, Xavi, Puyol, Villa various member of the Barca hierarchy, all said how Fabregas would be great at Barca, yet the club would not meet Arsenal’s demands. Now this year has come around and its the same story. I have never known desire and talk to pay for a transfer before, although that seems to be all Barcelona are offering. A player’s value depends on the selling club; it’s what they value their asset as. If a player is under contract then it is his club that should have the authority (not always the case these days). Therefore Arsenal have no obligation to accept a bid that they feel is not enough. Then Barcelona come out and say the player is not worth as much as he was last year citing ‘wear and tear’! What do they expect, Arsenal to agree and say ‘ yeah you’re right, he’s 24, not much left in him now’?!

The twist comes in Barcelona’s pursuit of other players. They are keen admirers of ex United striker Giuseppe Rossi, who will cost upwards of 20m, and are reported to have bid 33m for Alexis Sanchez. If this is true, and the club that publically announced it has 45m euros to spend this summer, has indeed bid for the Udinese playmaker, one begins to wonder how serious Barca are about Fabregas. Not willing to pay 35m for a player who has been a top performer with CL experience for several years, but willing to take a 33m punt on a player who has had one great season and no CL experience. Cesc are you hearing this? Is that really a club that values you as much as they say. No doubt, Barca want a cut price deal, but if you’re gonna talk about being serious about a player then show it in your actions too. So far Cesc has said he is happy where he is, and that announcement was probably prompted by the fact that he has no idea what Barca are up to, and he doesn’t want to upset his current situation.

I have no idea if Fabregas will be an Arsenal player next year because I have no idea if Barca will front up the money to back their claims. What I do know, is that this kind of unsettling shouldn’t be allowed, although Arsenal fans are used to it by now I’m sure having gone through similar situations year-on-year with Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, although this one seems to take the biscuit.

And of course this isn’t the only case, Real Madrid did a similar thing with Cristiano Ronaldo a few years ago, although United stayed strong and got the money for their man, and to be honest haven’t done too badly since! And now I fear the same may be happening for Spurs and Luka Modric. Having had a good couple of seasons, Harry seems to be building something at Spurs, so the last thing he needs is a team, from his own division too, unsettling one of his star men. But that’s exactly what Chelsea did. A bid of 22m, in todays market anyway, was nowhere near what Spurs value the little Croatian at, but it was enough to turn Modric’s head and say ‘we’re looking at you’. So now the player expresses his desire to leave and despite Tottenham having a contract with the player, may well be bullied into selling one of their top players.

And as I say, every club is guilty of it, and in todays game where money and player power seem to have the most influence it will be interesting to see what happens this summer. I no doubt expect Fabregas to return to his boyhood club, whether it be now or in the future. And as for Modric, I would urge him to stay for one more year a least, if Tottenham can find one or two more decent players and find the consistency to maintain their challenge throughout the whole season, it may be the best place for him.

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By andymcdougall Posted in Posts

3 comments on “The ‘Unsettling’ saga

  1. Great blog post mate, good to see some of the issues we talked about last night creeping in! Fully agree on the Fabregas saga.

    Seems simple to me, you either a player at the price the ‘selling’ club are willing to accept, or you don’t. Clearly the signing of Sanchez, for just 2 mil shy of the price they could have Fab for shows that Barca are all hot air … for now.

    Like you say, put the money where your mouth is, or shut it. Simple.

    • Exactly. If Barcelona come up with the money then all’s fair, Fabregas gets to play for his childhood team, Barca get their man, and Arsenal can look to find replacements. It just doesn’t seem right that it carries on as it is, when all it is right now is hype. At least when Madrid courted Ronaldo, they stumped up the 80m! I just hope for Arsenal’s sake that this is cleared up sooner rather than later, so that they have the transfer window to find replacements.
      Similarly for Tottenham, I hope for their sake that this Modric thing is put to bed as it doesn’t help the club. If they do end up letting him go I hope its not in the same way they let Berbatov leave a few years ago, leaving it until the last minute, so there’s no chance to get a replacement in. If he leaves I hope Spurs get the price they value the player at, and have adequate time to find a replacement. Similar thing happened with Newcastle in January losing Andy Carroll. If they had more time and the offer came sooner they could have drafted in a replacement. I think they suffered by not having a talisman for the second half of the season, although the rest of the team rallied well to ensure a solid finish.

      • Aye, I was about to bring big AC into the arena, but you beat me to it. The last thing any club wants to do is loose a prize asset with no time to bring in a suitable replacement (or in the case of Carrol, any replacement). I seriously wouldn’t wish that one any team, oh o.k, maybe a few teams I would wish it on, but hey.

        Do ye reckon Fab would consider a move to Tyneside if we stumped up the cash? haha. Carrol our, Fabregas in for the same money would be a good deal to me. ;-).

        On a serious note, if another club did show a bit of interest then it might force the hand of Barca slightly. They clearly have more than 45 mil to spend, so I doubt that’s the issue. As mentioned earlier, just trying to get a cut price deal.

        Though if I were on the Arsenal board, I’d be raising the amount needed to sell as the window close got closer. I believe it’s what Newcastle did with Carrol to some extent.

        Also agree on Modric, he’s a great player but I think he might suffer from moving to one of the really big teams. No doubting his quality in the Spurs setup, but could he do the same job in a team with a completely different style of play, and where he will find it much tougher in terms of getting his name on the starting sheet. Could go horribly wrong for him if he becomes a #BenchWarmerByNovember. Just saying, like. He’s on a sweet deal, playing well, in a team that are on the up and looking to invest. #DontFuckItUpNow.

        Sorry for the #hashtags.

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