Sunday, July 31, 2011

Torn between two clubs

Palermo got €43 million from PSG for Pastore. In all likelihood, Arsenal will get less for Francesc Fàbregas i Soler from Barcelona and it will be astonishingly bad business, especially in this market (, especially since he is under contract until 2014 (conflicting reports have it as 2015?), especially since Arsenal do NOT need the money and would prefer to keep him, especially since he is the Captain (El Capitan) of the side. But the fact is - he ONLY wants to leave in order to go to Barcelona and has no interest in going to any club other than Barcelona - and Barcelona KNOWS this.

But there is a growing sentiment in Barcelona that Cesc should stay at Arsenal - partly because its good to see a Catalan performing outside La Liga (an advertisement in the Premiership of the "Golden Generation") and partly because he left...!/BarcaGooner/status/97083375701073920

Its said that Cesc wears #4 because of his boyhood idol Pep - but it is also common knowledge that Fabregas was given the number 4 shirt once Viera left - these 2 things can both be true and just a matter of convenience for Cesc - but right now, Thiago is wearing #4. Cesc might feel pressured that if the transfer doesn't happen this season and Thiago becomes even more of the phenom he already is, Barca will be even LESS inclined to sign sign him (citing that Sandro has already said the 27m bid was because he is one year older and one year less has run down on his contract).

And then of course there is the constant quotes from Pique, Xavi, and Iniesta clamoring for the services of Fabregas and even the mayor of his hometown claiming that Arsenal kidnapped him ( which is completely contradictory to what some Barca fans are saying. The saga has been going on for 2 years now and despite the growing sentiment from a contingent of fans that he is unneeded - Barcelona, the team definitely want him to come.

Of course Iniesta wants his World Cup teammate that provided him the pass to score the winner in the 2010 World Cup - the celebration afterwards with the Barca players putting the jersey on Fabregas is probably the image seen a thousand times.

Probably the best piece on WHY Barca want Cesc when they have Xavi and Iniesta -

Plus, Cesc injects some Catalan back into Barcelona - where the rivalry with Madrid is tenser than ever. Evidently there seems to be a superiority complex with the Catalan club and players like Pique are known to exude their "nationality" ( Unfortunately for Pique, Barcelona are a little Catalan-lite - some of its main contributors (Messi, Alves, Iniesta, Villa, etc) are NOT Catalan and once the 31 year old Xavi steps away the midfield will be led by Iniesta and Thiago (neither of which are Catalan). Which is not a problem in of itself, most of Arsenal players are NOT from London - but Barcelona (the city as well as the team) as stated above have a serious superiority complex.

*A side note...
Its kind of weird being an Arsenal/Real Madrid fan - very hard to watch Henry in a Barca shirt finally winning the Champions League with the team that beat us that one night in Paris and its very strange "rooting" for CRYstiano Ronaldo in the Clasico, a player I despised when he played for ManU. Most of my Arsenal friends and Uncles are Barca fans and it seems natural to be fans of both sides as both sides play the "beautiful football." And there is mutual respect between the two clubs - especially in the build up of a Champions League draw. Barcelona is known to say in circles that IF they had to lose, they would rather lose to a side like Arsenal, a side that plays football the way its supposed to be played. But it is VERY easy to root against Busquets and Alves - and to tell the truth, Cristiano looks right at home in La Liga, where diving is thought of more like a tactic and "cheeky" rather than cheating. But for me its therapeutic to follow a club like Real - a team that prescribes to the Galactico philosophy is the perfect contrast to a team that is led by Professor X and his school for gifted children. Also, I think its important to point out that while I believe Cesc Fabregas is Arsenal's best player, he is not my favorite Arsenal player…because of stupid reasons (I always liked fast players, and his Jamaican lineage) my favorite player on Arsenal is Walcott…favorite is subjective, so is best I guess - but ask any Premiership fan who is the best/important/most valuable player on Arsenal…85% chance its Fabregas.

Arsenal cultivated Cesc and the Wenger "experiment" will never come to fruition if our young players leave when they are 24. Wenger has a history of flipping his players for exorbitant fees at just the right times (Hleb, Adebayor, Toure, Henry, etc.) Some would put Viera in that category, but I feel we could have kept him a little longer - but I would concede we got his peak years and performances and in the end a player we bought for 3 million we sold for 20 million…not bad at all. Even players like Flamini, who we lost prematurely, diminished greatly after leaving Arsenal. This is going to be the first bonafide "special" talent since Ashley Cole to leave the club before his "peak" years. We lost Cole because of Russian money and the player's greed, we are going to lose Cesc for far more virtuous reasons - he wants to go home, to the club he feels he will win trophies with.

Arsenal were rocked by the sudden emergence of a Russian billionaire skewing the market (Chelsea/Cole) and the emergence of the Spanish "Golden Generation" (Barca/Cesc) - something that was impossible to foresee at the time. When Wenger plucked Cesc from La Masia at 16 he had no idea that Leo Messi would be Leo Messi, Pique would leave and then reunite with his fellow classmate - naturally they would seek out the 3rd star pupil of that La Masia class to return to Barcelona. No way to envision that at 16, Cesc Fabregas would be your future captain and the most integral part of your squad, the maestro of the midfield.

Some have said that Nasri can play the Cesc role - he can't, not the way Arsenal are currently shaped. Arsenal would most definitely change formation to better suit a Nasri-led midfield but that's not the point; they are inherently different players - both creative playmakers but vastly different. Nasri is better in the box, or just outside the box where he can use his twinkle toes to evade defenders and either score or provide the short pass to the goalscorer. Cesc gets the ball into the box for a player like Nasri - perfect example of how these 2 players complement each other is the Emirates winner against Barcelona. Cesc makes the majority of his plays from midfield, supplying Nasri, RvP, Arshavin, Walcott, etc. Jack Wilshere is molded more for that type of role (getting the ball into the right areas from midfield) than Nasri; but he does it in a different fashion - Jack is brilliant but his style is more direct and industrious and less sublime and creative when compared to Cesc. Some circles compare Fabregas to Beckham and Wilshere to Gerrard - distribution-wise - its a little too simple for me, but probably the best "English" analogy. There will be a lot less overhead passes and thru balls at the Emirates without Captain Fabulous.

And that's the point, it's not just that we are losing a great player - we are losing a great talent that was fun to watch, a player who imposed his style on the team, and a player who embodies the "beautiful football mantra." Maybe its for the best - many were surprised at how the team responded when Thierry Henry left and it looked like it would just be a matter of time before Arsenal's abundance of talent would mature and wreak havoc. We saw an example late in the season of how a Wilshere/Ramsey led midfield took apart Manchester United - it was a great victory, but it was a different victory - it was boring, it wasn't your typical Arsenal game. It's premature to say that Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey are incapable of creating overhead passes, quick one-twos, and perfectly paced thru balls - they can and they will, but it is unlikely that they do it at the rate that Cesc did.

But that's the future of Arsenal Football Club, at present we have our Captain torn between two clubs. Arsene Wenger used the word unsettled - but I am pretty certain that the situation settles itself this week…definitely this month. With the departure of Clichy and the likely departure of Cesc there are no more players in the squad who were part of our trophy-winning seasons - new day indeed.

Some say Cesc is overrated…stats from his injury-plagued 2010/2011 season below!/orbinho/status/38971332590964736!/orbinho/status/39013329657794560!/Orbinho/status/38362433705877504!/Orbinho/status/80629261916045312!/Orbinho/status/80629759582806017

Its also important to note that throughout all of this Fabregas expresses deep gratitude for Wenger and constantly cites him as the reason he is the player he is today - he is not without fault and has at times during this transfer saga displayed some behavior and has had some quotes unbecoming of a Captain - but it is important to remember the circumstances, players on Barca are not vetting for Torres or Reina to come back - the only player that had a Barca shirt put on him was Cesc during that infamous World Cup celebration, he spent the entire summer with Barcelona-lite (Spanish national team minus Messi, which is also the nickname some give Arsenal). Not once has he demanded a transfer request, like Tevez, Modric, and even Wayne Rooney last season. His internal talks with Wenger must have remained internal - whether Wenger made a promise to him last summer a la Sir Alex/Cristiano we might never know...

With all the constant quotes by Sandro, Peter Hill-Wood, Wenger, Pep, Xavi, Pique, etc…its kind of funny that the normally quiet and reserved former teammate of Cesc had the most accurate statement regarding his situation…

"Cesc has a place for Arsenal is in his heart, but Barcelona is in his blood" - Leo Messi (Fabregas' teammate at La Masia)

No comments:

Post a Comment