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No one's irreplaceable

As the temperature heats up around Cesc`s apparent desire to move to Barcelona sooner rather than later we find ourselves back on ground we`ve trodden before. Vieira flirted with Real Madrid for a couple of summers before Arsenal finally agreed he could fulfil his dream move. Unfortunately Vieira frustratingly decided against the move at the eleventh hour. Wenger and Dein put a brave face on it but must have been cursing their luck as a reported 25m plus turned into something like half that figure after Patrick ambled through the following season before finally being moved on to Italy.

Anelka caused a similar feeling of opportunity lost when he too insisted on a move after the club had appeared to be prepared to invest a great deal in building the team with him as its spearhead. Much as we feel that some players can`t be replaced a good team can accommodate such losses and still compete. It`s often the case that the team makes the players as much as the players make the team.

Whether Cesc goes now and how much we can profit from his departure depends on the strength of the contract he has. If he is within the 3 year protected period then the club holds just enough aces to be able to play with a decent hand and to squeeze the maximum from a potential buyer. We know that he signed an 8 year contract in 2006 but the 3 year protected period would have expired last summer unless he has renewed it since. After that 3 year period there isn`t a great deal that can be done to prevent a determined player from leaving no matter how many years unprotected period the contract has left. There are reports that he renewed in 2008/2009 and that significant payments were made not to extend the original term but to renew the protected period of his contract. If this is the case then that protected period will not expire until next summer at the earliest.

Even if the contract handcuffs are strong, and Wenger suggested in a press conference recently that they were, keeping a player whose heart and mind is elsewhere may not be the best decision. In Cesc`s case it is a little tougher a decision for Wenger because the team has been built around him over the last 4 or 5 seasons. Whereas Henry, Vieira, Pires, Arshavin and others were pieces of a jigsaw, albeit key pieces in many cases, Fabregas has been shaped as the box that all the other pieces are put into.

Wenger would have known that the day would come when Cesc would go and might have had a time span in mind which was probably sometime beyond this summer. Looking at some stats for last season it`s easy to imagine that he might have seen Aaron Ramsey as the successor. He possesses many of the characteristics now that Cesc has developed a little later. His passing frequency and success rate is well up in Fabregas territory and while his assists and attempts created figures aren`t there yet they are more than credible given his experience so far at this level. But this is a summer too soon for Aaron and though maybe next summer would also be earlier than ideal, if he recovers from his injury in the autumn as anticipated, he will at least have had the opportunity to build on his experience.

So, if the contract is strong enough to keep Cesc here, would that be the best decision? So much of our play goes through Cesc now, arguably far too much, and we don`t have the players to replicate that creative dependence. It would either have to be spread around what we do have but would almost certainly still come up short or we would have to find a replacement externally to help plug the inevitable creative deficit. How quickly we can find that recruit will determine whether it`s a good idea to take Barcelona for as much as we can now and invest it in the team or hold on for another season. It won`t be an easy task but not an impossible one either.

It`s easy to think that Cesc`s desire to move is somehow our own fault. That it reveals some weakness at the club in being unable to retain players like Cesc. That this is a direct consequence of our failure to win trophies. But leading the team to an unbeaten season didn`t prevent Patrick Vieira from going a long way down the road to leaving the club for greener pastures anymore than the trophies galore Cristiano Ronaldo earned as a Manchester United player could prevent him from making a lifestyle choice that frankly most of us would see as pretty attractive. It's just the reality of the modern age of player contracts and player mobility I'm afraid.

Losing Cesc now, if that is what is to happen, would be a blow, there can be no doubt about that, but it won`t be a fatal one. If we re-invest quickly and wisely, if the opportunity is there that is, we will still be able to compete no less successfully than we have done over the last 5 years - hopefully more so. And maybe we`ll even be able to acquire some other qualities that the team has been missing in that time. No one`s irreplaceable really.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 18 2010

Time: 10:28PM

Your Comments

Agree with every word, I've said over on the forum that noone ever thought we could replace Adams, Bergkamp, Henry etc, but they all go sooner or later- even if with Cesc it'll be earlier than we like. But another point I made on the forum is that, as I think you slightly allude to in the article, we wouldn;t necessarily have to replace Cesc directly. Many have bemoaned us as lightweight in the years that this has been "Cesc's" team and perhaps we can go back to a 4-4-2 with a stronger, more physical core to it a la Petit and Vieira. Basically, maybe it's not Cesc we end up replacing but Vieira. I also agree that too many people are looking for some fundamental weakness at the club which is making Cesc leave, but winning the F.A. Cup didn't make Henry immediately sign a new deal when he spent 2005-06 umming and arring.
Little Dutch
wait I dont get your point, you haven't replaced Adams, Bergkamp or Henry. The current arsenal team has consistently underperformed. Losing Cesc is a big deal, I dont think it will happen next season thou
Well said Amos, building a team round the one player has always been a huge gamble which hasn't really paid off. During cescs' injuries the system can't cope without him, too much pressure on fabregas to come up with the goods and not enough pressure on others to do likewise. The main worry in my eyes is the rumours that a clinching factor in Cesc wanting out is his lack of faith in Arsenes' proposed buys this summer, that is a real worry, well that and the fact we could well be losing one of the worlds only top class midfielders.
We secured more points in each of our last three seasons without Henry than we did in his last two seasons here. We won the F.A. Cup and the League title in the two years immediately following Adams' retirement and Bergkamp's replacement was essentially RvP. I'm not saying RvP is as good as Bergkamp but I would hardly say we're malnourished in that position. But sometimes it's better just to stick to the tabloid cliches, eh?
Little Dutch
Just trying to think of positives from this, I cant think of many at the moment. If Fab goes, it means more rebuilding and more transitional periods, something which this club has been going through for far too long.
Not an Arsnel fan but as much as this hurts you guys its not all bad. Your coach should sell him for $38 to barca and buy Gourcuff for $25..problem solved.
one thing for sure is no matter who will go they will be replaced. Jenas is available if your
Cheers but it's not canteen staff we'll be after.
My biggest concern is, even tho LD stated the results after former superstars left us, we had a team full of seasoned pro's, we have a team of children right now, if Cesc leaves they will crumble, no leadership, everyone wanting to go elsewhere, just look at us play this season without cesc....this is not good
Agreed Bootoo, we are rapidly running out of senior figures to lead this team.
haha niko. was in stitches after i read that. im sure u guys will cope. wenger is bound to unearth some new 16yr old gem from sumwhere. has chamakh signed yet. i heard he was in town for a medical???
What's up with Gallas? Nas coming out and saying, "don't speak to him" it's looking certain Fab is going, barca held a gun to his head, "now or never" but then if his going, better now than later, it gives you time to find a replacement, will this lead to Gallas walking, more than likely to man city, if that's the case, mind you, just hold them to ransom, they will pay silly money for anyone, true or not, 8omillion for torres and gerrard has been quoted!!
spu 4 life
I do hope Cesc stays and just don't want to believe these stories; but, if he must leave, I believe he can be replaced or the team can adjust to make up for his absence. No one can be bigger than the club and it is time we stuck only with players who desire to stay with the club and fight for the trophies we require. Sorry! Just vexed about all this...
This year's capitulation will presage to a season to forget for next year as well if major changes are not made at Management, Trainer, Player and other staff level. Cesc's departure is actually one of the least of our problems.
heh bm, yeah I think Chamakh is finalising, no doubt we'll pick up a couple of tasty prospects hopefully no change on that front, but if we're to sell our best player we'll need more than a prospect, Nasri is the closest in terms of a like for like positional swap from within although maybe Arshavin could be the new conductor? see him in a possible new direction feeding RVP and Chamakh. We should still go in for Gourcuff or Van der Vaart just in case though ;)
I was thinking about AA taking up the mantle earlier Niko, but came to the conclusion that he's too much of a lazy c*** for him to be able to do it.
Do we really believe this is going to happen? I'd be extremely disappointed and surprised if Cesc left like this given his statements throughout the season. I can't believe he would do this to Arsene and Arsenal in this way. Surely it's the press having their **** stirring fun coz there's not much else to write about.
heh Rocky, he'd never be box to box granted, but as an older head that reads the game and has the vision and the ability to pick balls out, I think he has possibly more guile for that than sammy.
Do you know who was great on the ball, was awesome through the middle and had the eye for some quality passes? Alex Hleb. Pity he's a c*** too.
I think this will hit l'Arse hard. Yes Chamakh and Yaya Toure are coming in, but Cesc was the engine of your team. I think you will struggle to find initial team spirit, but that will grow over time.
i'd hate to lose him, but if we get a huge amount of money, as well as yaya toure, it will be up to wenger to actually SPEND it for once, a la the arshavin deal.
Cristina saidhe wanted to move from ManUre to Real Madrid. Old Alex kept him for one more year before the inevitable, and he scored over 40 goals in all competitions. So if Cesc really wants to leave, and none of us really know if that is true, keep him against his will. Cristina's value went up in his supposedly unhappy season, so Wenger should do the same with Cesc (again assuming that he really wants to leave). We have him under contract until June 2014, and he says he likes it here, so we should keep him unless we get enough to replace him with a better player. That won't be easy but Wenger is a smart man. If we sell Cesc and don't replace him with a world class player, we will begin a spiral to mid-table mediocrity. Next year we will miss out on a CL spot, and so on. Next year it will be RvP going through the same saga, we'll sell hem and fall even further. At some point we have to say stop, we are not a selling team, or else we will always be under the 'big' teams like Barca and ManU. Ironically, we make fun of the likes of ManU, Chelsea, and Liverpool, yet we place more emphasis on the balance sheet than they do.
I dont think Arsenal are a selling team. Henry, Toure , Vieira were all sold after they reached their peak.
That isnt the case with Cesc. He hasnt peaked yet and it would be a shame to sell a world beater right now. Would be very disappointed if it happens.
Cmon, if you are serious about trophies, this is a absolute no. He's too integral to your team for you lot to sell him. He's under contract so there's no way he can wriggle his way out of that. Rebuilding will take another 3-4 years and that is exactly what you have been doing for the last 3-4 years too. Silly pr*ck, all year he's gone on about how he's happy at Arsenal and how it's his true 'home'.
Thats its lads stay positive. Its only Cesc Fabregas who hasnt even peaked yet. You wanna hope City join the bidding and get top dollar from Barca for your best player
HuddersfieldYiddo Slightly off topic, but interesting United have released these kind of statements today. The timing looks quite deliberate, with the Cesc stories going into overdrive, they know this will get buried under the rug.
Little Dutch
And so it begins..............
Clive 49
elbondo - no he didn't. Ronaldo scored 26 in that extra season and was not the player he was in the previous season (when he scored 42). If anything, his head was turned and he was not as good as a consequence. He also held back the development of Rooney. With players of that quality, you're always better with than without them but let's be realistic that it's almost never worth keeping a player once they've decided that they want to go. I think Fabregas probably made his mind up a while back and only stayed last season out of a moral duty to Wenger.
Cesc is a fantastic player, but I dont think it would be the end of the world and certainly not a surrender of your ambitions.if the money is invested wisely, with particlular emphasis on a CB and keeper, I think you will be possibly a better side on balance. Nasri, Ramsay (fingers crossed he recovers fully) and Arshavin are all easily capable of playing a playmaking role, if perhaps with slightly differing qualities.
I Cesc definitely wants to leave this summer, I'd tell Wenger to keep him for at least one more season then accept huge money from him. We all see Ramsey as Cesc natural replacement but we wont see the real Ramsey until at least a year from now. If Wenger does let him leave, then I believe the title will be well beyond us. No one is irreplaceable but Cesc isn't just no one.
Trawling through the mire of the the press today. I still cannot find one official, named, reputable source for all these supposed developments. Just things like "a friend of Cesc says" or "according to Barcelona" or "sources in Spain." Everyone knows that Spanish radio, papers and people like Guillem Balague are "attack dogs" of Real and Barca. Those two clubs are masters at pulling every trick in the book and using people to disseminate information, ask pointed question and then twist the answers to create a snowball effect of rumour. I continue to treat this with extreme caution. All I hear is bluster from Spain.
If SSN is reporting this morning that PHW has said Arsenal have no intention of selling Fabregas and that there has been no approach from Barcelona to Arsenal whatsoever, then what on earth is all this guff doing clogging up the airwaves?
Not that i necessarily buy the stories, but PHW is always going to say that because he wants top money and make it look like we are doing all we can to keep him. Dont go by what our chairmen says Julie. Even if our intention to keep him with everything we have, if the player really wants to go it will be almost impossible that he stays.
Guillem Balague is a lifelong fan of Barcelona's bitter rivals Espanyol, Julie. Hes far from an attack dog for them quite the opposite.
"IF" the player wants to leave now, that is. Has anyone actually seen Cesc in London? Has this meeting really actually happened? Repeating my self again- I have heard nothing from either "the horse's mouth" or AFC. Just a whole lot of unsubstantiated rumour from Spain, which it suits Barcelona's purposes for us to believe. Sorry, but during a Barcelona presidential election campaign, I'm buying none of it.
Julie - it's been over 24 hours since everyone started going mental .... Arsenal, Arsene and Cesc would have certainly said something by now if this was a mere rumour, this is too vicious to be left unattended. We know there has been no approach from Barca because they publically stated that they wouldn't go after him until he handed in a transfer request. Just because there has been no bid doesn't mean he hasn't said he doesn't want to leave. PHW has spoken to the press and said Cesc is not for sale, I'm sure that if the rumours of the meeting weren't true he'd have taken time out to label them b*llocks rather than just saying Cesc isn't for sale.
Also Rocky for Barcelona to publicly state they wouldnt go after him until he handed in a transfer request might indicate that Cesc gave them an idea that he was prepared to leave as it is not in Barcelonas nature to do things the right way.
Ah you have just touched upon an inconsistency. Yesterday, according to Barcelona Cesc had already handed in a transfer request. Early this morning, that particular rumour has been changed to Cesc may end up having to hand in a formal transfer request if Arsenal refuse to deal. Now which is it? Also, we were told yesterday that negotiations were going on between the two clubs but this morning it transpires that Arsenal haven't even been approached by any club about their captain or anyone else for that matter.And why are we accepting Barcelona sources as gospel all of a sudden? And as for the argument that Arsenal and Cesc's silence is somehow meaningful, all that proves is that there is nothing to report.
I just dont like how this became a big spectacle and fiasco thanks largely in part to the Spanish media. When Ronaldo did the same thing at Utd, it was largely kept under wraps by Utd and the media didnt go crazy and into overdrive like they are doing now. I blame the Spanish media for this debacle and the quotes from the Barca bigwigs though I suppose this is nothing new for them is it? I am still not convinced by Hill-Wood coming out and saying Cesc isnt for sale. Would much prefer AW or Cesc himself to come out and say look its all nonsense, I have no intention of leaving yet or Yes its true, I have decided to leave. I would hope that Cesc at least could do that much for us before he leaves.
UK Press Association now reporting further meetings to take place between AW and Fabregas, that Barca will offer 40 million but that Arsenal will fight to hold onto their captain. There is that much smoke blowing about, everyone will believe what they want to. As for me, I knew we'd be hit by a *****storm from Barca this summer. So far I refuse to bend under the pressure. I have not heard one thing different from Cesc's usual response to questions from the Spanish press which is "yes it would be nice to play for Barca one day but I am happy stay at Arsenal now." As for the remark about getting things sorted out before the world cup, he was saying that he wanted all the usual nonsense that he has to put up with, put to bed before June so that he doesn't have to keep repeating himself. Perfectly sensible. The "Cesc wants out now" thing is an unsubstantiated rumour put out by Barcelona to put pressure on Arsenal. We need to keep our nerve.
Alot of fiction will be made up Julie, but for it to have come out so strongly on Skysports and accross all media outlets without Wenger, Fabregas or Arsenal releasing a statement saying it is untrue makes me feel uneasy. Fabregas has shot down a load of less vociferous stories quickly, so why not this one. You can argue he shouldnt have to, but when it is as agressivly pushed as it is then it would be in his best interest to. He also said last week that he wants his future sorted out before the world cup... What future is their to sort out if you are happy and under contract? If their is a lot of smoke, usually their is some fire. Now it might be that he has come back for showdon talks and wants assurances we are going forward, either way it is more than the usual bullsh** that comes out of Barcelona
We just have to wait and see. After all, it is what Arsenal say will happen, which is more important. I think if even half of this true, Cesc will be thwarted for two reasons: 1) The likely knock-on effect of losing Fabregas on other players notably RVP and AA who might decide to jump ship 2) most crucially, allowing Cesc to walk out now would declare the last 5 years of hard work to be waste of time, therefore an admission of the END of Wenger's project and would inevitably lead to AW not signing a contract extension, thereby leaving next June. The Board will fight tooth and nail to prevent that. There is also the little matter of Barca shelling out 40 million for Villa and not factoring Cesc into their budget this summer. Cesc's path out of London is not a straightforward one by any means. I steady see the signs of Barca backpeddling somewhat this morning. No approach made, Barca piping up and talking about respecting Arsenal's stance, talk of players not always getting their wish. Hmmmm.
PHW's language is very revealing, "We have no intetnion of selling." He didn't say "the player is staying." It sounds to me like an early bit of brinkmanship in a negotiation rather than an affirmation that the player is content. But we'll have to wait and see I guess.
Little Dutch,17033,13320_6162383,00.html
Little Dutch
julieloveshenry4ever - Julie, as usual a sane voice in a mad world. Ther eis nothing that ha sbeen substaniated and people are reading into it what every tehy want to. me I'll wait for Arsenal to say we are in negotiations (they will if they are as that would attract other bids and push up the price). Until then it is a lot of Spanish gutter press manufactured horse ***t that the lazy svumbags in the British media are reporting as FACT! Oh perlease.
That is a good article and something I've been saying myself. However it all hinges on whether Arsene will spend all that lovely moolah on some world class leckers. If it's true that we have 30M kitty and should get about 50 for Cesc, then 20M each on a keeper, a centre back and maybe a winger or two would go down a treat :)
That is a good point in the article LD. We apparantly have money to spend anyway(lets say 25m), so a sale of Fabregas for 35mil plus Toure say would leave us with 60m. With Chamakh on the way we would have that cash to spend on a good keeper and 2 centre backs and still not spend all of the money. We would end up with 5 players strengthening the spine of the team. Obviously i want to keep him, but if he really wanted to leave and we got top money for him then maybe it might be one of those so called blessings in disguise.
Interesting article LD. I am notorious (in my group at Ashburton) for being an impossible optimist but I think there is an element of parability in this. The only person this formation suits...... is Cesc! If we can get Ya Ya as part of the deal we will add a player of the mould we are looking. This does all depend on one thing...... Wenger spending!!! I personally have always expected Cesc to go back to Barca eventually, if it turns out to be now..... so be it. Let's just make sure we get the best possible deal. PHW's comments are purely saying, "he won't come cheap"!
Julie: "The 'Cesc wants out now' thing is an unsubstantiated rumour put out by Barcelona to put pressure on Arsenal" -- NO IT IS NOT. I followed closely the stuff that was going on all day yesterday on sky and on twitter, and on another blog owned by a guy with proven contacts with the club (and who's been proven right in his info many times before). The original source of this story was GUILLEM BALLAGUE who said he'd had lunch with Cesc, who told him directly he was going to ask or had asked Arsene to leave the club. Yes, Ballague has previously speculated on Cesc leaving Arsenal for Barca but he has NEVER ONCE DECLARED WITH ANY KIND OF DEFINITE KNOWLEDGE that Cesc was leaving. Ballague in the past has only reported quotes from Barca staff, speculated on Cesc's love for Barca. Ballague has interviewed Cesc many times. This is now more than just him speculating. He said with absolute certainty that that Cesc flew over to see Arsene, they had an "emotional" conversation, Cesc asked to be let out of his contract. On Twitter John Cross from the Mirror confirmed the truth of the story. Cross is a gooner and talks to Arsene regularly. Cross also said that he didn't understand what had changed since he last spoke to Arsene--which was only recently. He said when he spoke with AW that AW was certain Cesc would stay, Cross was convinced because AW was convinced. Cross wanted to know what had changed. Cross also said that negotiations would get "messy" - later he and another guy on Twitter updated what they'd heard and said that Arsenal were in fighting mode, that there was "fighting talk" coming from the club. Graham Hunter (Spain-based journo who I usually also trust) confirmed the discussion Cesc and AW had. I always dismiss these rumours when they're mere reports of what the Spanish press is saying. THIS IS NOT THE CASE THIS TIME. This is all coming from CESC himself, it is he who's taken the initiative, not Barca. And the hints were there when he recently said he wanted to "sort" out his future before the world cup.
Also - Graham Hunter said that AW tried to convince Cesc to stay by going over his plans for the summer to beef up the squad, that Cesc looked at AW's list of transfers and he wasn't impressed. Now I assume Hunter got this from Cesc's agent, and you always have to be careful about what agents tell you. But if I'm right, that's Cesc's representative telling the press that story.
We were obiously thinking on the same likes rocky
Also, according to Ballague, Barca have been busy working on the Villa transfer, which should be officially announced by the end of the week. That is what they're focusing on right now. Once that is complete, they will then focus on the Cesc deal. And it will be announced before the wc.
Indeedy. I love Cesc like he was my man-crush, but is he really more important than bringing in a few top class players? Maybe the money that Cesc brings in could provide more to the team than Cesc could by himself?
I've set my my mind on the fact that he's going. If he stays it's a bonus! I still think nothing has changed with our chances for next year. Wenger needs to spend. He did last week, he does now and he will do if Cesc goes.
Agree with both Rocky and Dave, he'll go and hopefully for once the money will go directly for reinforcements 3 of them on top of Chamakh and added to what our budget already was, fans need to be shown that this tedious saga is being used to strengthen what will be a vastly weakened and demoralised team.
Jaelle. By end of the week, you mean by the end of lunchtime as it has been confirmed already. 34m for Villa who is 29 means that Cesc should be at least 45-50m. I would take Yaya Toure + 35m now if Cesc really wants out and we have no choice.
As to Amos' article....I think it utterly delusional to think that Cesc deciding to leave after professing his love and loyalty to this club until very recently is not a reflection on the club. But before I get into that--yes, we've suffered departures of big players before under AW. But (except for the 07-08 season), those players left behind a team of older, experienced heads who were leaders and fighters and didn't collapse at every opportunity. Those who left were already past their peak (except Anelka of course). Cesc is one of the very few leaders and fighters we have on this team. Cesc loves Arsene and Arsenal, no one can convince me otherwise. Two interviews he did on sky this season showed his passion for the club, and his deep resentment when it gets disrespected. Did you see his interview when Ramsey was injured? How about just a few wks ago when he was being hammered with questions about going to Barca? He very clearly denied the claims coming out of Barca and took a swipe at them. He said Arsenal should be respected and resented any claims about him leaving. I have no intimate knowledge of what went on in Cesc's mind but this is what I've concluded: for the 3rd time in 4 yrs, he saw a teammate brutalized on the pitch in a league with refs who do not protect his teammates--and once again the perpetrator defended as an innocent victim, his club insulted for their response and for being fodder for the league's thugs. He's seen 2 of those teammates struggle for a long time to come back from those horrible injuries, their careers stalled. Secondly, I think we all underestimated the affect of the Barca CL tie had on him. Being back together with his old friends, and watching as his team were incapable of any kind of defensive intelligence against them. I have to wonder if Cesc wasn't embarrassed. Thirdly, he also watched as his team mentally collapsed at the end of the season, totally giving up after the Spurs game, losing a 2-goal lead against a team like Wigan in utterly farcical fashion, entirely incapable of handling physical intimidation from opponents in a league with refs who do nothing about that kind of tactic. I think all these things contributed to his decision.
paul, I haven't yet checked the football news today (it's morning here) so I didn't know the Villa transfer had been announced already. It's possible Barca hurried things up with Villa so they could move with the Cesc deal faster.
I'm also thinking about how this will affect the remaining players -- like RVP.
I've got no worries about RvP as long as Wenger is here (In which case I would worry about all our players). Wenger stuck by Rob through all his problems (behaviour and alleged rape), RvP talks about how Wenger is like a father to him. I can't see him leaving at all.
RVP needs to have a full season before getting ideas of elsewhere. He owes us that much!
If anyone's interested, Gabrielle Marcotti's just tweeted this: "My take on Cesc to Barca. I think he's actually keeping his options open. And it may not be the right time to go. "
Rocky and navy, I agree totally with your comments on RVP, I just wonder about how he'll feel about this.
Marcotti's article in the Times explaining his thoughts further:
People now using Twitter as a reliable news source? Sheer idiocy.
*to clear things up, my comment was about the concept, not any person here.
elbondo, it's actually better than using sky as guys I take seriously like John Cross say things there that they don't usually say in their columns.
And twitter was instrumental in following the street protests during the Iranian election, far better than the BBC or any US news outlet. It is a great resource for the most up to date news.
or may be cesc is putting presure on Wenger to buy players :)
Cesc's disappointment looked to have begun after the game VS Barca; he must have felt embarrassed, really, as it seemed we just had little answer to the barrage, except in brief spells. However, I wish he could stay another season because he is such a pivotal figure in the team and his departure could result in further changes. We need to calm down and allow things to take their course so as not to help fuel the embers of the stories. I don't want to be the Manager now, but I guess he gets paid for times like this.
Naija, as I said on Amos' blog, I think we all underestimated the impact the Barca CL tie had on Cesc. Further, we also underestimated the impact of watching a THIRD teammate struck down while the national media painted the clogger who brutalized said teammate as an innocent victim (Cesc has also witnessed 2 teammates struggle to come back from those horrible tackles). What may have put the final nail in the coffin was the pathetic way his teammates collapsed and gave up at the end of the season. Cesc really does deserve better.
Naija tbf the worst period v Barca was the first half at the grove where they dicked us and dicked us some more, cesc was on the pitch then and was anonymous as all our team was, responsibility is a team thing. Our fight back in the second half should be reason alone to have pride.
This is sad. I'd hoped Cesc would stay for one more season (and its still possible, if Wenger can work his magic on Cesc), but no one can blame Cesc. He has gone about it in the right way by talking to Wenger first and asking to be let go to Barca. If he had not talked to Balague or anyone else, it would have been better, but the meeting has been confirmed by other sources as well, so its not like he's the only one leaking the story.
Well Arsenal havent replaced other players that have left hence why they havent won anything in 5 years and are slipping down the league. Fabregas is completely irreplaceable at 23 years of age and nowhere near his peak, hes not a viera or henry who were on the verge of decline. It would cost 50million to replace him and Wenger is not a spender hes a moulder.
Got to say I agree with you, Jaelle, as to the underlying reasons. Plus the reported gun-to-the -head move implied; some papers say Barca may have warned that they can't guarantee he will be required next season and the young man just had to make a decision now. It is difficult to blame him; but I am sure he can become even more of an influence and a bigger player if he stayed one more season, at least. Wenger may decide to play hard ball given our strong position with his contract.

Niko, to be fair, Barca took their foot off the pedal in the 2nd half of the 1st leg, after going 2 up. The 2nd leg was also instructive as they did dominate for most parts. He would, surely, be made to look like he was in the wrong place by his friends from Barca youth side, don't you think? It is easy to turn after the way the tie went. I may be wrong though.
"some papers say Barca may have warned that they can't guarantee he will be required next season and the young man just had to make a decision now." -- excellent point, naija, I too saw those reports and wondered (if true) if that hadn't gone into his decision. Also, good on you for using the graph break! I'm really bad at forgetting how to do it! :-(
Maybe naija, obviously he'd be gutted after the 2nd leg but if it was me I'd be thinking shame me, Robin, Billy, Thomas and Andrey aint out there to make a decent fist of it. It was an embarrassment for him but he's wise enough to see that was nowhere close to the Arsenal A team out there.
Sorry scratch Thomas - Verm did play, I'll swap it for Alex :)
I'm with Niko here, I love Cesc and I'm not gonna start slagging the guy just because he looks to be leaving, but he really was as much a spectator in the first Barca game as anyone. I really don't think that's a reason. Maybe playing them brought back some emotional sentiments or whatever else, but I really don't think it had anything to do with them beating us. Barca didn;t get to the Final afterall.
Little Dutch
I still say that this is a complete pile of nonsense.
you are so *****ed.
Is that so Uskok? Our lean times are now behind us, yours haven't even begun with your new mega pain lane yet to even have the plans approved. Will you have constant years of CL football during and after the build when cash is scarce? Will you *****. You're lightyears behind us now and the inevitable incompetency that'll arise at every stage in your build will see us pull away further with ever passing year. Toodles panty sniffer.
"I still say that this is a complete pile of nonsense." - Then why have both Cesc and the club been so quiet? Arsenal have only said Barca have not formally approached them, that's it -- nothing about Cesc himself. Every single time stories like this go into overdrive, Cesc and the club come out immediately to deny them categorically. They haven't.
Also, there is lots of video footage of Cesc's recent interview in Spain where he says "I want to sort out my future before the world cup" and the only club he would go to would be Barca. Why did he say that? Why is he talking about "sorting out his future?" Wasn't his future already sorted out with his longterm contract and his recent huge bonus?
He's issued a massive come and get me plea. He 100% wants to go to Barca but if they suddenly cant afford him or Arsenal refuse then it puts him a very awkward position. Instead of having 30million it might mean there is a player who really doesnt want to be there at club.
Sorry, been moving around the last 2 days and hope my entries are not 'old news'.

Yes Jaelle, practiced and got the hang of it (p'graph break, that is), but you never know when one could get it wrong, eh.

Niko/LD, considering I had argued that it is a "team game" when our 'keepers were under the crush, I should concede that Cesc should also look at himself, re our performance vs Barca at the emirates. However, that game appeared to be like his last straw, in addition to the emotional angle of meeting up with his old pals. Last straw in the sense that we lost to the big sides all season. It was the same attitude with him when we lost to Chelsea; he appeared to have resigned to the defeat soon as they went ahead, even seeing the funny side of a call against him when he clashed with Drogba, with a face like "little me penalised in a clash against this monster of a man?". I think he developed some resentment and since went soul searching afterwards. He is still just one of our players and the club will remain competitive, even without him, but if he leaves, it would change things a great deal in the team, no doubt. We should hold out for at least, one more year.
If he goes he will be missed I am sure, but AW has a history of replacing players and finding others that will do a job. It looks as though he has already started spending this break and he could do well with the money that Cesc would bring in.
SFC Forever

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