So Cesc made his statement yesterday and committed himself to Arsenal for the season ahead. It has, naturally enough, sparked all manner of analysis both positive and negative.
For me the most important thing about it was that it was honest. There was no denial of the lure of Barcelona, no verbose badge kissing, no trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. I’ve always said Cesc has had a professional outlook on this. He knew that unless Barcelona offered money close to his true worth then no deal was ever going to take place. Barça’s admission that they made no bid which exceeded €40m illustrates perfectly how they tried to play things.
You have to wonder if, after all their talk about how much they wanted him, it stings a bit that they wouldn’t put their money with their mouth is. That a club with forwards like Messi, Ibrahimovic, Pedro, Bojan etc decided they needed David Villa more than they needed him. This ridiculous notion they have that because he left the club at 16 that they have some right to get him on the cheap has skewed their thinking. It’s at Arsenal that he has developed into one of the finest midfield players in the world and he acknowledges that in his statement also.
I’ve never had any doubts about his professionalism and I don’t have any now. I fully expect the first time he has a relatively quiet game the footballing soothsayers will come out and tell us he’s got his mind on Barcelona, that’s something we’re going to have to live with, but we’ve had the privilege of watching Cesc Fabregas for nearly seven years now, I don’t think you can ever accuse him of not trying or not caring. It’s simply not in his nature. His desire to win football matches is a big part of what makes him the great player he is, that will not change.
As for the captaincy, I agree with Goodplaya to an extent, it is a challenge, but by no means an insurmountable one and not as big a one as some suggest. I think we need to remember that the way players feel about things and the way fans feel about things are often very different. We’re passionate and emotional, as they can be too at times, but ultimately this is their job, and players will understand what he was thinking this summer.
Will they respect him any less? I don’t think so. He’s a leader, he showed that on the pitch last season in his performances, and I think with the emerging Vermaelen and the mature van Persie he’s got solid lieutenants at last. And as I said the other day there’s simply no way of removing the captaincy from a player without demotivating and humiliating him. Cesc remains captain of the club and I’ve really got no issue with that at all.
Maybe we do just have him for one more season, who knows? A lot can happen in in football in 12 months. What’s most important is that we have Cesc Fabregas, a brilliant football player and a crucial part of our team. Whatever your outlook on this we all share the same ambition – for Arsenal Football Club to win something in the season ahead. Our chances of doing so are much greater when we have Cesc Fabregas in our team. I’m not going to start worrying about next summer already. To me that is the most sinister, self-harming form of masochism I can think of.
We’ve got Cesc now and that’s what important. Be happy. Be thankful that our club stood firm and refused to be bullied by Barcelona whose behaviour, I hope, has tainted their image in the eyes of fans across the world. They’ve always been viewed, shirt colours aside, as the light to the dark side of Real Madrid. The truth is they’re no different, in fact, they’re probably worse. AW is right when he says it’s good for football.
And if I could draw a great big line under all this now I would. Oh, wait. I can.
So, onto matters more footbally and we’ve got a friendly against Legia Warsaw today. As The Sun links us with a most unlikely £25m move for Pepe Reina, Arsene spoke about the keepers we currently have at the club, saying:
Fabianski has another opportunity to show that he can play No 1. Wojciech is a goalkeeper of huge quality. At the moment we want to play for the title so I believe he needs some more experience to compete directly for the first goalkeeper position.
But it depends a little bit. We have four goalkeepers, one of them will go out on loan, three have to stay so we do not know yet who will go out.
Ok, I know the idea of Fabianski at number 1 is bowel-looseningly scary but consider the fact the manager is in Poland, at a press conference at the club Fabianski came from. It’s neither the time nor the place to say ‘Well, yeah, I need a new goalkeeper’. Regardless of what you think about Lukasz shattering his already brittle confidence is hardly good management.
It’s clear Arsene sees something in Fabianski that pretty much nobody else does but that doesn’t mean he’s blind to the fact that this is an area in which a signing would seriously improve us. We know he’s looking but as yet the search has not proved successful. I’m hoping it will be, sooner rather than later, but until then, as there’s nothing we can do and nothing no amount of moaning or keening softly in the corner can do, we just have to hope that the keepers we have play well.
Robin van Persie on why he loves the Arsenal. I’m just hoping he gets a break … erm … wrong choice of words perhaps … gets the rub of the green and stays fit this season. He deserves it, the Arsenal fans deserve it, and if he does I feel it in my waters he’s going to have a great one.
He won’t be playing today, nor will Cesc, but it should be a decent warm up and good preparation for the new season which is drawing ever, more excitingly, closer.