There are many things you can be sure of in life.
The sun will come up. The sun will go down.
Grass is green. The sky is blue.
Booze is good. Hangovers are bad.
Bob Pires is dreamy. Ryan Shawcross is a brutal caveman.
Phil Collins is a stupendous cunt. And every summer the Catalan press will writes stories about wanting our best players.
Just a couple of days after winning the Champions League in handsome fashion they have grown tired of that and tired of stories about Barcelona players dancing with popstrels. Buses around the city have been done, cheering has happened, and now it’s down to the traditional summer business of transfer shenanigans.
If there was a picture of the typical British summer it would be the old man, handkerchief tied around his head, sitting on the deck chair eating a soggy egg sandwich. In Spain, or more specifically in Catalunya, it is a journalist called Jordi, hunched over a screen, making ever more confident announcements about players joining FC Barcelona. Forget the fact that 90% of them don’t, thus making Jordi wrong most of the time, it doesn’t matter.
In no other line of work could such incorrectness be tolerated. Imagine a doctor who gets 90% of his diagnoses wrong. Or a striker who misses 90% of his shots (please remove the vision of Nicklas from your mind, I was merely making a point). Ok, so sports journalism isn’t quite as important as finding out if someone has a terminal disease or missing a last minute chance in the Nou Camp (sorry, couldn’t get that image out of my mind), but it’s still pretty crap to get so much wrong, so often.
It’s all part of the game though. Speculate, tease, tantalise, lure those readers in, the siren call of infinite possibility, the poor public just can’t help themselves. They lap it up, the hope and promise, the written version of crystal meth, each day coming back for more and more and more. And it’s not just a Spanish thing, let’s face it, football fans all over always want the shiny new thing, the player who is the equivalent of a new pair of jeans and a t-shirt; you always feel good when you wear them for the first time, the same applies to seeing a new signing pull on that shirt.
Anyway, this morning Sport have started the Cesc merry-go-round:
Basically they’re saying that Cesc has rushed his holiday in Vegas (although I was unaware he could make time itself go faster) and will do ‘everything in his power’ to wear the fabled Barcelona shirt … but he will wait for Barcelona to make their move, mindful of what happened last summer. So everything in his power is, of course, doing nothing until they do something.
Also, he’s been to the Grand Canyon. Which as we all know is a sure sign that a transfer is about to happen any time now. I know what Arsene Wenger said the other week about ‘fighting’ to keep Cesc, which is quite telling in itself, but the ball is very much in Barcelona’s court at this moment in time.
If they’re serious about signing Cesc they would do well to do things properly this time around. Last summer we had a never ending procession of Barcelona players talking about our captain in public, which was clearly a defined strategy. Unsettle the player, try and damage the relationship between player and club/player and fans, then swoop in and try and buy player for a price which is acceptable because damage control is ongoing. It did not work. It only served to make Arsenal more resolute in their desire to keep Cesc. They’d probably have sold him to Sp*rs quicker.
If it happens this summer Barcelona will have to do things properly. That means going through the proper channels, no Xavi talking about how he wants to drink massive goblets of Cesc’s DNA, nobody talking about how Cesc’s heart is in a different place from his body. Let club officials do what club officials do. Barcelona have to make a bid that is acceptable to Arsenal Football Club and things will happen from there. Or not, but if they try and do what they did last summer then I suspect nobody is going to be happy.
And much will depend on what Barcelona’s finances are like. We know that last summer they were in the toilet and they chose to spend first on David Villa instead of Cesc. This summer I don’t know if things have improved that much – perhaps their new sponsors ‘Times New Roman Foundation’ might flex their financial muscles and provide them with the cash to make the bid – but even so it seems they’ve targeted Rossi as their first transfer of the summer.
We shall see, but as I said on the Arsecast the other day, let’s hope whatever happens, with all our transfers, happens quickly and we avoid the protracted sagas that have been the bane of many a summer. Footballing soap opera bullshit which, like Robbie Savage, is the most unseemly element of the game and really ought to put in a cloth sacked, weighed down with stones and fucked into a fast flowing river.
Some transfer rumours this morning involve Gonzalo Higuain, who is apparently available from Real Madrid, and Wigan’s James McCarthy, a player I know the manager has had his eye on for some time. The latter more likely than the former but still not that likely, in my opinion. It would require a Diabpature for it to be realistic, I think.
Apparently Alex Song has had some kind of Nasri-esque bust up with Samuel Eto’o on international duty and been dismisssed from the Cameroon squad. I don’t have much interest in this, to be honest. I know some people might suggest that Song, being a young guy who has won precisely fuck all in his career, ought to be more respectful of a guy like Eto’o who has won quite a lot, but then who really gives a shit what any of them do on international duty?
Plus I can never think of Eto’o without thinking of this and it always makes me laugh. Any excuse, I know.
Bonus reading: Tim Stillman knows what this country really needs.
Till tomorrow, people who make a sound like a walrus having anal sex when they cry (there’s no short term for that, sorry).