If Arsenal Sell Fabregas… It Should Be To Madrid!

In the “Cesc Fabregas Transfer Saga” an article from Darren Lewis from the Mirror struck me as very interesting.

Why should Arsenal bow down to the demands (and quick frankly unscrupulous tactics) of Barcelona, who have clearly tried to unsettle our captain and drive down the price.

If Fabregas craves success in Spain and Arsenal are resigned to losing him, then why not sell him to Real Madrid?

It would be the least Laporta and Barcelona deserve, losing their prized target to their direct rivals. And Real Madrid (after forking out an estimated 56 Million Euros for the signature of Jose Mourinho) would be more than capable of giving us the market value of Cesc – especially when it would represent a massive coup against their title challengers Barcelona.

And maybe Arsene Wenger’s “inspiring conversation” opened Cesc’s eyes and made him realise that it is Real Madrid who will be the biggest club in Spain over the next few seasons.

After all, “The Special One” Jose Mourinho will be there and whatever you say about his arrogance and boring football philosophies he wins football matches and trophies. Don’t get me wrong, I personally can’t stand Mourinho but his achievements speak for themselves.

His record in Portugal, England and Italy is nothing short of remarkable and for my money, I would class Real Madrid favourites for La Liga and The Champions League next season. If you told me Inter Milan would win The Champions League last season I would have laughed. Inter are the team that always bottle the big games in Europe but here we are and Inter are European Champions, having knocked out teams like Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich – the champions of the other 3 big European leagues.

Maybe the “greatest conversation” in Cesc’s life is the big realisation that going to Barcelona isn’t such a great move after all.

What Do You Make Of Cesc’s Comments?

Well after weeks of speculation, and no word from Arsenal, Arsene Wenger or even Cesc Fabregas the Arsenal captain has come out and said he had an “inspiring talk” with Arsene, which he described as the “greatest conversation I have had with someone in my life”.

BBC Sport has the article in full, and Cesc said the following at a Spanish press conference:

“It was probably the greatest conversation I have had with someone in my life.

“I respect him so much. He told me to concentrate on my football and the World Cup and he will deal with whatever happens in my future.

“It’s not up to me any more. It’s just now about Arsenal and whoever it has to be and that’s it. I don’t want to say anything else.

“I just want to be focused for the World Cup because it’s the most important thing. The rest, the future, I’m not interested in the future.

“The only important thing is to form part of this team and play in the World Cup.

“When I play it’s always to win and help my team-mates. I will give everything to help Spain be champions.”

But the big question is what was the conversation about?

Reading in-between the lines, you could possibly make a case for a deal being made. Why else would be say:

“It’s just now about Arsenal and whoever it has to be and that’s it. I don’t want to say anything else.”

That’s the line in the interview that worries me the most.

To me, Arsene has either said he’s going to spend big, bring in top players and give Fabregas the team he deserves around him to win things. And that he will become one of the greatest players to wear the Arsenal shirt.

Or, he has decided that he will let Cesc go to Barcelona and has promised him that a deal will be done after the World Cup.

What do you think?

Update: If Arsenal Sell Fabregas… It Should Be To Madrid!

The Future Of Arsenal Is In Cesc’s Hands…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you would have heard about Cesc possibly moving to Barcelona.

Depending on who you believe, he has either told Arsene Wenger that he wants to leave, or Barcelona are up to their usual tricks and trying to lure the player into admitting he would like to move, and reducing any potential transfer fee.

But whatever the exact ins and outs of the situation, it’s funny to see how Arsenal fans are reacting to the news.

The fact is Cesc Fabregas is the best player at the club. And the problem is, only Robin Van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna could be considered anywhere his level. The rest of the squad is filled with mediocre players who aren’t motivated and are over-paid. They might be talented individuals but they are not winners like the players I’ve just mentioned.

This Arsenal team is full of deficiencies all over the pitch and the biggest problem in Cesc’s eyes will be the lack of strength in the squad. We started the season excellently but as soon as Van Persie and Fabregas got injured we struggled. The rest of the squad performed admirably at times, but at others such as Wigan and Spurs away, let down the club with a lacklustre performance. There’s no doubt in my mind that with a fully-fit Van Persie and Fabregas we would have won the league, and that’s the problem.

The latest Premier League season has been the weakest in a long time. We narrowly missed out with a few games to go but with a more experienced squad we could have pushed even further. The fact that a club of Arsenal’s stature had to heavily rely on Sol Campbell is a damning indictment of how poor our squad actually is.

But with Arsenal over the last few seasons, it’s all been about ifs and buts. We could have won the Champions League with a bit more luck, we could have won the Premier League Title in 2008 and we probably could have won it this season. But our squad hasn’t been good enough, and unfortunately that blame can only be placed at the hands of Arsene Wenger.

Cesc knows the club more than most, and I have no idea what he must think about Arsene bringing in “superstar signings” like Marouane Chamakh on a free from Bordeaux. I’ve never been a fan of wasting money of superstars but how long can Cesc be sold the future based on “promising players”, especially when he has a golden chance to play for one of the best teams in the world.

And because of this Arsenal fans wouldn’t blame him if he left.

If this was Steven Gerrard and Liverpool, the fans would be begging for him to stay. I don’t think you would be able to find a single fan that would want Gerrard to leave. But with Arsenal, we wouldn’t blame him.

We see the Fabregas has to carry the team time and time again. And while he’s been at Arsenal he has been the consummate professional and extremely loyal and respectful. He’s only won the FA Cup despite playing in the first team for 6 full seasons now and Arsenal fans recognise that a player of his special talents should be winning trophies. And we also recognise that it isn’t going to happen at Arsenal any time soon.

So whatever happens this summer, we will be wishing the little Spaniard all the best.

But if he does leave, then where does that leave Arsenal?

Well it would be the final nail in Arsene Wenger’s coffin. In his crusade to prove that you can win things with talented and promising youngsters Cesc Fabregas is the icon. Cesc is the mouthpiece for everything Arsene is doing and believes in and if he leaves, then the whole project has collapsed in one fail swoop.

If Arsene can no longer sell the project to his star pupil, then how can he expect the fans to believe in it as well?

What little belief the Arsenal fans had in what Arsene Wenger is doing would evaporate. Because we know if Arsenal lose Fabregas then it would take some monumental signings to cover his absence, and we all know that wouldn’t happen.

And what would our other star players such as Robin Van Persie think?

Losing Cesc would be more than losing a very special player. We would lose our influential captain and any chance to progressing in the next couple of seasons.

And who knows what would happen with Arsene.

We can’t be told the same spin if Fabregas does go to Barcelona. After the sale of Patrick Vieira, we were all told we would be stronger than ever. The same happened when Thierry Henry left, but the simple fact was we ended up trophy-less and have done ever since.

Don’t make me laugh and tell me “we’ll be stronger” without Cesc because that just won’t cut it.

Has Arsène Wenger Finally Been Exposed?

When you ask Arsenal fans what has been the biggest problem this season, they will point to the horrendous injury list we’ve had this year, including the likes of Robin Van Persie, William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas and Thomas Vermaelen who have been out for a decent number of games.

But other things high up on the list, especially recently, would be the lack of fight, lack of unity and the basic desire and determination to win.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a squad player or a first team starter, you should have pride wearing the Arsenal shirt. And the fact that you’re paid handsomely is just one of the other reasons why you should never lack balls when it comes to playing for Arsenal.

Just take a look at Manchester United. They lost Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez in the summer and are effectively a one man team now, heavily relying on Wayne Rooney. But look at them, despite the weakest squad they’ve had for years, they are only a single point off the top of the Premier League.

And why is that?

Their squad might not be full of world class players but they are winners. They have the f*cking balls for a fight.

Veterans such as Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have been integral players for Manchester United this season, despite being in the twilight of their careers. Despite the fact they are almost on their last legs they want to win, whatever the cost. You might take the p*ss out of players like Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Nani and Gary Neville but they want to f*cking win. You see it in their performances, and you see it when they score.

The ethos at Manchester United is win at any cost. Their squad is full of winners, who are hungry, determined and have experienced winning countless times before.

And what about Arsenal?

From our entire squad, I would only consider Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Vermaelen and Sol Campbell as winners. They are hugely loved by the Arsenal fans because they want to win as much as we do. They have the balls for a fight and know what it means to win.

Unfortunately, the rest of the squad are over-paid, pampered losers who are amazingly rewarded for consistently losing.

What other “top club” in European football would repeatedly give pay rises and improved contracts for not winning?!

Who should be hungrier for success? Players like Ryan Giggs who have literally won it all, or players like Abou Diaby who have yet to win anything?

Unfortunately, this sad state of affairs has badly exposed Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal’s biggest problem ever since their last trophy in 2005 is not the quality of player brought it, or the lack of transfer funds available. It hasn’t even been the injury problems. The biggest problem is that winning mentality.

When Arsene Wenger took over the reigns in 1997, he inherited a squad full of winners.

David Seaman, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Martin Keown, Steve Bould, Paul Merson and Ian Wright had won things with Arsenal before. We even had David Platt and Dennis Bergkamp who had won things in Italy and Holland respectively.

As the season’s progressed, we had players come in and replace the old guard but they had a chance to play alongside the original winners. Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars played with the famous back five, Sol Campbell played alongside Tony Adams and Martin Keown when he arrived and later on Lauren, Ashley Cole, Gilberto, Fabregas and countless others came in a played alongside winners week in a week out.

Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Jose Antonio Reyes and Freddie Ljungberg were all winners. Just look how they celebrated when they scored. Arrogant, determined and full of passion – scoring meant everything to them. Scoring and winning was a big f*ck you to the opposition.

Players coming in since 1997 had a chance to live, breath and work alongside born winners. It clearly rubbed off since they Arsenal won trophies for the next 8 years.

And it’s these relationships that have been integral to Arsenal’s success.

But after the 2006 Champions League Final, the last of the latest breed of “winners” was too weak. Only Gilberto, Thierry Henry, Jens Lehmann, Kolo Toure and Freddie were left from the Invincibles team of 2004, and even those players were seeing out their careers at Arsenal. Dennis Bergkamp retired, Bobby went to Villareal, Ashley Cole went to Chelsea, Sol Campbell went abroad to Portsmouth, Jose Antonio Reyes left for Madrid and Edu went to Valencia.

The whole winning mentality and “mental strength” Arsene Wenger keeps talking about pretty much disappeared in one summer.

And the sad fact is, Arsene Wenger hasn’t been able to instil this winning mentality into an Arsenal squad ever since.

And you don’t have to look further than the football pitch for the proof.

Abou Diaby strolls through games with an alarmingly lazy approach. He doesn’t just stroll around the pitch like it’s a training session but he is mentally off the pace. Poor decision making, the inability to track back or basic things like mark opposing players at set-pieces are just some of things he is guilty of.

We all remember the ridiculous headed own-goal he scored at Old Trafford at the start of the season. Would you ever see Vieira or Gilberto do something like that? Of course not, they’re focused winners who are switched on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they made mistakes now and then but for the life of me remember any as ridiculous as this current squad make.

Look at Manual Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski. They’re not winners, at best they are backup goalkeepers. The amount of mistakes they make is staggering. But you can’t blame them – Arsene Wenger is a manager that rewards mistakes. He is the man that is selecting these kinds of players so the blame has to laid at the managers doorstep.

What did Alex Ferguson do when Fabien Barthez made a few mistakes? He shipped him off to Marseille. Manchester United also had error prone goalkeepers Mark Bosnich and Massimo Taibi at the club but showed them the door once they showed they weren’t up to the task.

So the big question is can Arsene Wenger build a team of winners in the future?

A team of players that will fight until the end, never give up and not think performances against Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers are good enough?

It’s all well and good performing when things going well but the real character of a squad is shown when you’re not playing well and need to grind out a result.

The solution

As I have mentioned before, Arsene Wenger can help himself by taking the FA and Carling Cups seriously.

To win a cup competition you need that siege mentality, and that determination to win is severely lacking in most of the players at Arsenal. You play one off 90 minute games and the focus is getting through the match with the win. What better than trying in these competitions to get the squad that mental strength? You need character to win any cup competition and you’re tested all the time – there are many highs and lows in the cups and the players could do with being put in this high-pressure environment – where all that matters is winning.

Well you don’t need me to tell you this – look who were finalists/winners for this years Carling and FA Cup. Manchester United and Chelsea.

And would Arsenal fans mind a trip to Wembley and a trophy to celebrate?

Would they hell.

But is Wenger too stubborn to change his ideals? If so, he could be in for a very uncomfortable 12 months next season because the patience of the Arsenal fans is becoming to wear a little thin.