Morning all, welcome to Friday and it’s with Cesc we’re starting today.

It seems Barcelona have made their first bid for the captain, a measly €30m. Rightly enough Arsenal have told them to ‘get real’ and come back with something more suitable.

Catalan daily Sport are reporting that Barcelona’s vice-president of sporting stuff, Josep María Bartomeu, went to London this week to meet with Ivan Gazidis. It’s hard to fathom why, if the two men did meet, that Barcelona’s opening gambit was so low. I’m pretty sure Arsenal will have made their position very clear. Let’s face it, we all know what it is, yet Barcelona continue to think they can try and low-ball us for Cesc.

I realise their finances are tight, just this week Sandra Rosell made it quite clear that they would not make a bid any higher than the one they made last summer. However, you’ll remember that was not acceptable to Arsenal back then, and the valuation we put on our players is not influenced in any way by how much money interested parties have to spend. That’s entirely up to them.

We’re talking about one of the most talented midfield players in the world now. One who scores, one who creates, one whose stats outstrip most others on a consistent basis – even during seasons blighted by injury he’s up there with the top performers – and Barcelona are making bids as if he was some media-rated, vaguely effective darling like Luka Modric.

Barcelona know that if you want the best players in the world you have to pay for them. They did it last summer with David Villa, paying €40m for a 28 year old. They splurged €45m + Samuel Eto’o for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They’ve offered Udinese €30m + for Alexis Sanchez who, while talented, hasn’t done it season after season like Cesc has. Yet they continuously undervalue Cesc Fabregas.

It’s insulting to Arsenal and insulting to the player. It doesn’t matter if there’s only one bidder, it doesn’t matter if there’s only club Cesc would go to, you simply cannot expect to get a player of his calibre on the cheap. I’m sure Arsenal have made this abundantly clear to them. I’ve said before I believe that while we’d much prefer to keep him, there’s a willingness to let him go should the offer be acceptable.

I’m also sure Barcelona know this, they know there’s a point at which we’ll green light the whole thing, but they’re not willing to reach that point. They would prefer to drag this out over the duration of the summer, frustrating everyone involved, and turning it into another messy saga which they will try to make hay out of. And if it’s frustrating us then I do wonder how it must feel to be the player in the middle knowing that the door has been left open, only to find the buying club unwilling to make the deal happen.

Once again we’re at this point:

CUOCO - Cough Up or Cock Off

Elsewhere, Christopher Samba says he wants to leave Blackburn, with Arsenal rumoured to be interested. He said:

I know there are discussions with some clubs. For four-and-a-half years I have been at Blackburn and fought against relegation.

If a good opportunity presents itself, I want to take it. I hope the club will understand if I want to make the step up and not prevent a deal.

Which sounds fine, in itself, but when you remember Samba signed a contract extension in January it’d make you wonder about the intelligence of the man. If he really wanted to leave Blackburn he should not have signed that deal. Perhaps there was an agreement with the club, that he’d sign to ensure they got the maximum return on him, but with Phil Jones gone to United for upwards of £16m, Blackburn have no need to sell, and have a strong hand when it comes to any negotiations.

To be honest, I wonder if we have any real interest in him at all. He’s become one of those mythical transfer targets. His name has been mentioned so many times in relation to us it’s become conventional wisdom that we’re after him. Personally, I think he’s a very tall, fairly average player, who wouldn’t have been thought of as an acceptable purchase not so long ago.

Now, I know times have changed and our needs are different right now, but I still don’t see him as an Arsenal player. I’m hoping the whole thing is a smokescreen to ensure people aren’t aware of our real target(s). Who they might be, your guess is as good as mine. Is Gary Cahill the only other centre-half in the world right now? Are we strictly limited to just Samba or Cahill? I don’t think so, although I would much prefer the latter to the former.

There is chatter that we’re firming up a number of deals – whether they’re for players coming in or going out (or both) I don’t know – but I remain relatively patient at the moment. I know there’s a measure of frustration when fans see Ashley Young go to United, for example. Not so much because it’s Ashley Young, but because they’re out their doing their business. And I understand that.

All the same, we can’t base our transfer business on what other teams are doing. Just because United announce a new player doesn’t mean we have to, regardless of fan pressure. Making a signing just to ease the vexation of supporters is the worst possible reason for making a deal. It’s important that we judge what we do on its own merits, on how signings fit the needs of our team, and not relative to other sides and their needs.

So far there’s little to judge. I’m 100% positive that this time the silence is deliberate due to work being done and not because there’s nothing going on, so I’ll wait and see and when the time comes we can discuss the pros and cons of what’s happened.

At this point, Arsenal are the footballing equivalent of a watched pot. It has to boil at some point but the longer you stare the longer it seems to take.

Right, that’s that. The weekend is almost upon us. Have a good Friday – the sun is out thus far – back tomorrow with more nearly boiling water.


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