Let’s Not Talk About Cesc…

Today’s blog is not going to be about Cesc. The will he, won’t he, should he, how could he saga of Cesc’s future at Arsenal has sidetracked us all from the main things to talk about this summer. And I for one am going to try my best to focus on the rest of the world of Arsenal. Despite new fresh rumours from the rumour mill saying a contract has been agreed and all that silly business, I still believe it’s a pure fabrication – if you want to discuss Cesc, click here. (I hope nothing bad happens overnight!)…

One final Cesc related note from barcelonafootballblog.com, about how Barcelona fans feel about Fabregas:

If Fabregas comes, he comes, but stop talking about him as if we have some divine right to him. We don’t. He’s a player who left the farm in search of greener pastures, and found them. He didn’t show any particular loyalty to the club back then, so I just don’t see any sorts of talismanic qualities present in him right now. All I see is a 50m benchwarmer. If he doesn’t start for Spain, what makes anyone think that he is going to be starting in our midfield, which is essentially the Spain starting midfield?

We need midfield depth that won’t grumble about sitting on the bench, and reliable excellence at right and left back. I’d rather splash for that, than for Cesc Fabregas, who certainly has an admirable skill set (no, that isn’t tapping up). But he would basically be sitting around, filling in a waiting for Xavi to retire.

So, in all this furore, it’s clear that Barcelona fans a) understand that there is no divine right to the transfer of Cesc and b) they aren’t really too bothered if he signs. One thing for sure, is that the campaign is very much media driven, and I’m not convinced that there is a genuine threat behind this. If Barcelona continue to do this every summer, then at 25 or 26, he will probably leave.

Anyway, we’re not supposed to be talking about Cesc.

Time to think about next season with Cesc… and what is going to happen in transfers in…

We already know that Maroune Chamakh is virtually an Arsenal player, which poses the question on whether or not we will revert back to a 4-4-2 and I honestly don’t believe we will. Arsene has adopted the 4-3-3 through the ranks and the youth team are currently modelling themselves on it, so having gone so far in believing in the formation, it’s unlikely that we would abandon it after one season.

David Seaman seems to think that Almunia and Fabianski will be our number one and two next season and that Arsene won’t be investing in a new keeper. I’d be surprise to a degree if that does happen but not overwhelmingly surprised. It may be a switch round that sees Fabianski take over as number one and Almunia drop down to number two. It wouldn’t surprise me in the manner that Arsene has expressed so much belief in the Pole, but it would surprise me considering the fan backlash that would happen if Arsene didn’t sign a new keeper. On current form, our top two keepers are somewhat maligned and completely devoid of all self confidence. Neither are punching at any weight and neither will turn into world class players over night. Has Almunia been at fault for the 40 odd goals conceded in the league this season or have our various back lines been at fault. In reality, it’s hard to know – but what we do know is that both have a mistake in their locker, and to win trophies, you need a consistent and effective goalkeeper at the helm. I would love to see a Frey or a Hart come in, and I really do hope that one of them will be signed. It’s time for fresh blood.

The priority in Arsene’s eyes will most definitely be a central defender with Gallas and Silvestre departing, one will be replaced by Nordtveit and the other

will be a new signing. That, I am pretty sure of. Depending on who the manager brings in, will determine who else he brings in. Despite the big move supposedly available, player contracts have been extended and more long term contracts will be signed by the beginning of next season. Will Jack Wilshere return to Arsenal and is he ready for first team action? That’s a whole other question and he has shown us that he can ply his trade in the Premiership and he looked pretty good up at Bolton.

Our midfield has a problem that we play 3 in midfield, but Diaby and Denilson are very very inconsistent and don’t quite have the something that would make them automatic first choices. There is space for a new midfielder, but who? At Barcelona, they play one defensive midfielder and two attacking ones. We have Cesc and Song, but the third spot is yet to be filled. But it could easily be filled with Nasri. A middle three of Cesc, Nasri and Song is a damn good middle three.

So, let’s take a look at our possible best eleven…

New Keeper (see above)
Almunia / Fabianski

Sagna – New Defender – Vermaelen – Clichy
Eboue – Djourou – Campbell – Gibbs

Song – Nasri
Denilson – Diaby

Van Persie – Cesc – Arshavin
Walcott – Rosicky – Vela


I’ve put Chamakh straight in there as I think he’s more of a finished article than Bendtner, but our first XI looks strong, and even stronger if the two players whom we bring in (GK and CD) are quality. The second XI does have a lot of talent in it too. Add into this mix, a third team consisting of Mannone, Traore, Nordtveit, Ramsey, Eastmond, Wilshere, Eduardo, etc and we do have the strength in depth required. But as a first XI, we do need two big players to come in preferably in the positions outlined above.

If Arsene chooses to keep faith in the goalkeeping department, we may see another midfielder come in. My dear friend, JAT, said the difference between us and the other top European teams is that – yes, we have a great first XI, but Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid have a great first 18 and that is what makes the difference. Every team has injuries, but when we have injuries, we can’t replace a top player with another top player, but instead a youth product or a reserve player.

Yes, we will be a better team next season than we have been this season, but as we have seen with Liverpool, if you don’t mix it up, spruce it up and try to improve your team, it can easily go downhill. I will be happy with a new centre back and a new keeper. If we sign those two players, I’ll be happy to go into next season and we confident that we can finally win a title. We don’t need to get rid of players like Diaby, Denilson and Vela, they are good young players whom have learnt a lot and can be very good squad players. But Diaby, for example, should feel that he has to work at his game to get into the first team.

The difference next season has to be in attitude – no player should believe that he can walk into the team (except for RvP and Cesc who are the two truly world class players) and each player should be on top of their game to get into the team. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson – both Nani and Valencia aren’t automatic picks and what that does to them is make them feel like they a) have to get better and b) have to be consistent. A small change in attitude and a small change in personnel will make all the difference, turning us from 90% of a complete team to 100%.

The change is down to Arsene. He should know what we have to do to regain a lost foothold.

  • Pete

    Good stuff Dev.

    I think Chamakh might be deployed on the right side of the front three, in the same way Bendtner was before RvP got injured. He poses the same aerial threat of Bendtner and is quicker than the young Dane, so he’ll definately be a good signing.

    I also think that Arshavin will have a much better season too. Although it’s disappointing that Russia didn’t reach the World Cup, it works out well for Arsenal as it give him a good rest before pre-season.

    Dev, I know you’ve written about the subject already, but regarding the “home grown” rule that come into play next season, how do the other top teams squads compare to ours with this new rule applied? I’m still a little confused about how it works. From what I can tell, Spurs and Man United look like they’ll be ok, but Chelsea, Liverpool and City don’t seem to have enough youngsters in their squads.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether or not next season will be even more difficult than last year. Seasons following international competitions tend to throw a few surprises, particularly in the latter stages, as the fatigue from the previous summer starts catching up on players. The only Arsenal players I’m a little worried about in regards to this is Theo, as this will be his second summer in a row where he’s played an international comp.

  • parsi

    this cesc talk is just boring zzzz
    its obvious they cant find anything to write so now they come up with crap like this…

    i mean how much more can they say – already they have claimed that cesc has signed for barca and he had showdown talks with wenger yesterday when wenger wasnt even in the country..

    honestly these braindead people need to get a life.

  • albela

    @dev – Whoever wrote that doesn’t know there football. I see there Spanish is also quite good as well!
    Cesc is a Spanish starter and as mentioned Barcelona need strength in depth. if, IF it happens there will be rotation of players. So don’t be surprised to find Xavi on the bench for a game or two.

  • Yemi

    Talking about liverpool drop, i can see also how easily eduardo has dropped from first team to …….3rd team in your setup !!!!

  • Leeroy.N2

    I’ve always believed that the main thing our team needs is the right attitude and mentality. I think some of the crucial games we lost or even ended up with a draw is because of that. I’ve expressed many times, with a little fine tuning, a little concentration and with going over individual mistakes . We have seen the same thing happen to us over and over again at crucial times in a game, such as swtching off just after we’ve scored, ball watching, not picking up a free man running into the box and not being more aggressive in the box to name those few. I would bet working on those would save us at least 10-12 points per season. A couple of individuals do walk into the squad to easily. We have to create competition, which will breed desire and that will produce better results eventually. IMO

  • devday

    @ Yemi:
    In the 4-3-3, the player group is surely: Chamakh, Bendtner, Van Persie, Vela, Arshavin and Walcott… and Eduardo, right? Who would you drop to have Eduardo in there? Most likely to drop Vela, but on his current form and probably world cup form, he is raising his stock! Whereas Eduardo’s form has been pretty bad!

  • Berth

    I like the tone of your voice Dev. Am glad u understand that Fab leaving will be a disaster for the team and for the club, because it will show lack of drive and ambition from the club.

    The club, our club is becoming so annoying and turning into a massive joke – it still remains Wenger’s duty to restore pride and prestige by seeing this fabs issue through. If he can’t then he is telling us that his philosophy is just about making money and not growing players and of cos it will be time to say goodbye.

  • devday

    @ Berth:
    If Cesc does leave, with I really don’t think will happen – considering he is our best player – it will be a big step backwards.

    Personally, I don’t believe he will leave. I can’t see Arsene selling him.

  • devday

    @ Leeroy.N2:
    Exactly – the desire and attitude has to be right. Kids being fast tracked into the team and being allowed to make mistakes doesn’t create the correct attitude. Arsene needs to fix that. Players like Sol Campbell will have a go at someone if they’re not doing their job.

  • devday

    Arsene Wenger on Cesc: “The chairman told you the story. We are not remotely interested in selling him.”

  • Gooner Get Ya

    It seems all transfer gossip relating to Arsenal other than the Cesc story has disappeared. Are we actually going to sign anyone other than Chamack on a free? AW said he wants to move before the World Cup!!

    Why is the Chamakh deal is taking this long to complete!!

  • LeeroyN

    @ Gooner Get Ya:

    It said supposedly that Chamakh can’t sign a contact with Arsenal until his Bordeaux contract has officially expired or upto a certain date.

  • LeeroyN


  • devday

    @ LeeroyN:
    Technically he won’t be an Arsenal player until his Bordeaux contract runs out but if a deal has been agreed, it can be announced. No problems. Clubs are free to negotiate with players whom are in the last 6 months of their contracts.

  • devday

    Arshavin Weight Problems Getting Out of Hand


  • Mehedi

    Guys good news cesc is not going

    Barcas some important-high rank fucker said they are in a huge debt and they can’t afford cesc, huahahahahah

  • terren

    I want you all to cast your mind back before the election in the UK. Gordon Brown is on a loser and he knows it. He is willing to make any play that has the potential to paint him in a popular light so he turns his attention to football. I’m sure that he decided that as football is a national obsession in the UK and pretty much everybody has a team that they support on some level, suggesting a policy change that would appeal to the majority of them was a sure fire winner.

    On many levels he was correct but it would appear that he failed to factor in how unpopular his government had become and so his proposal that this same government would implement a programme that would eventually leave 25% ownership of every football club in the hands of their supporters (presumably through the mechanisms of supporters trusts) at least for now, came to naught.

    Now it was a blatantly populist move with absolutely no thought as to how it could ever be achieved, but it did at the time send a chill deep into my very soul.

    Forget for now the mechanics of how this would come about. I am more interested in the philosophical perspective of the idea……and how darkly dangerous it is.

    On the face of it, it is fair to say that most fans would like the “idea” of being involved in the ownership of the club that they support. That being said, it is also fair to say that they wouldn’t want to have to pay for it otherwise they already would have.

    The problem from my perspective is that the vast majority of fans aren’t very bright and in some cases they are thicker than two planks. One only has to see how easily that they are led up, down and around the garden path by the mainstream media especially in the last couple of days, to have that point confirmed.

    Imagine if you will, the population of LeGrove, the guys that jeer our own players during matches and the people who thought it would be a good idea to leave messages on Cesc’s sister’s twitter calling him a c*** for wanting to leave, all having an input into how our club is run.

    “This wouldn’t happen!” I hear you say. Wrong. Dead wrong. It was only last year at the shareholders meeting that Arsene Wenger had to put up with cheap shots at his players and the club’s policies which caused me to write my first article on this site calling for everybody to get behind the club and the team.

    The problem with these types of meetings is that people tend to get an over-inflated sense of self and their own position. Just because owning 1 share allowed them to attend the meeting, they took a liberty off of the back of this to express their own minority view in an insulting and unconstructive manner.

    Had I been Arsene Wenger at that meeting I would have offered to purchase his share on the spot given his unhappiness with the club. That would have shut him right up.

    It is worth noting that the club has postponed the next similar meeting no doubt to avoid what is certain to be a more vicious repeat of last year’s events.

    There will be a cretin sector of the supporters who will say that they have the right to express these views in whatever manner they choose because it is “their” club. To put it quite simply is is most certainly NOT their club. The club belongs to the major shareholders and not to a bunch of malcontented morons with no business acumen, no historical perspective and no common sense. Dear GOD! what would happen if this ilk of so-called fans had the influence behind them that a 25% stake would afford?

    Now I know that there are many AST people who post comments here and for the most part they seem decent and reasonable supporters. It should be remembered however,that were the Supporters Trust to grow from its paltry few shares to a major shareholding stake, it would not be these reasonable well intentioned people who would be sitting at its head but rather the power-hungry, agenda-bearing, political self publicists that these organisations always draw as they gain momentum.

    Give me an AST with 25% stake with Consolbob anyday because I know what I am getting but I think we all know that instead it will be somebody who will greedily consolidate their own position to make it almost impossible to shift them short of dynamite. You can bet it wouldn’t be somebody who had personally contributed heavily from their own funds to acquire the shares either. Members who did in fact own shares would find themselves watching others wield them for their own ends with little hope of change.

    I am not specifically having a go at the AST here because generally speaking they are at best genuine supporters and at worst harmless in their current incarnation because they possess very little shareholding, but how benevolent would they be with a large shareholding?

    One only has to look at the insanity that occurs at Real Madrid and Barcelona every election year and indeed every season with managers being sacked who “only” win La Liga but not the Champion’s League. All to please the supporters by making popular political decisions which become more important than long term planning that ensures sustainability.

    It is only the inequity of TV money distribution in Spain that perpetuates the hold of the these two clubs. Were they ever to have to rely on sound decision making for success on a level financial playing field they would be badly hampered to the point of dysfuntionality by their form of ownership. Would you like that bedlam year in and year out at Arsenal because I certainly wouldn’t.

    Some will point to the examples in the Bundesliga where supporter ownership has a much higher profile with Bayern Munich as an example. Bayern’s debts like those of Madrid and Barca are there to make my point for me. Success that puts the future of any club at risk is no success at all. Portsmouth may treasure their FA Cup but they do so from the championship next year and may be doing so from league1 the following year, if indeed they survive at all.

    Our club may have had half a decade of no trophies but in that time they have made vast stride in terms of infrastructure and financial clout. This has in turn raised our profile on a global scale. We have held fast in our league standing against a ridiculous level of financial doping from our competitors and it finally looks like they will be called to account by either administrators or UEFA leaving us in an almost unassailable pole position. This has all been carefully engineered and shepherded by both the board and the manager and those who criticise them for it are bereft of sense and reason.

    Long may it last that they are also bereft of ownership.

  • Nick

    I just read that Barcelona are gonna make an official offer of 30 million on Monday and leave it at that. It’s all they can afford thanks to their “stratospheric debt”. In the end it’s all up to Fabregas. Go play for less than your worth and split time (if that) with Xavi. Or stay at Arsenal where you are captain, beloved by all, and the most important man on the squad. What would you pick?

  • goonerman

    If they are really only prepared to offfer 30 million for cesc fabregas and leave it at that then i would rather see cesc fabregas stay at arsenal for 4 more years and then let him go for free becuase for us to sell one of the best players in the world for such a pathetic amout of money would just make the club look like complete idiots and pushovers, i was thinking of a player like kaka he was brought for 56 million by real madrid and this season he has been half the player cesc has so for him to go for less that even 50 makes a joke of the club and even him, he will be thinking to himself how am i only worth 30 million pounds and like people say there are not even guarntees cesc will play week in and week out!

    barcelona are turning into a really badly run club with no class or respect and i think wenger needs to dig his heels in and show that we will not give up our captain for a laugable amount of money!

  • Walter Broeckx

    zzz cesc zzz

  • Walter Broeckx

    How to beat Barcelona off without getting Messi;

    Set the Groundwork

    Sign your prized assets to long-term contracts. Wenger astutely did this back in 2006 when he penned Cesc to an 8 year contract which lasts until 2014. There are rumors that Arsenal also did a one-off deal for Cesc last Summer which gave him £3m in lump sum and raised his pay from £80,000/wk to £110,000/wk. Those “golden handcuffs” are supposed to show the player that you value him, while at the same time making it very difficult for him to leave because the money is good and the contract is long-term.

    Buy ‘em Young

    Young players with a lot of experience who are on long-term contracts are more valuable than 28 year old’s who are at the pinnacle of their career. I’d say they are worth at least double because a 22 year old has 8 great years left in him and a 28 year old has 2, maybe 3 before production drops off (unless you’re at AC Milan, who have the world’s best medical staff).

    Make Sure Your Club is Financially Stable

    If your club is basically bankrupt, like Liverpool, and a club like Barcelona offers £70m for your best player (Torres) it’s very, very hard to resist. However, if you run your club in a financially responsible manner, pay off your debts, and build a surplus you can literally laugh in the face of anyone who thinks they are getting one of the world’s best players for the bargain basement price of £40m. Especially if they just signed a 28 year old for £35m.

    Take the Moral High Road

    I did a little research on the dot.com this morning and the number of times that Arsene Wenger told people at a press conference that Cesc was not for sale this Summer is quite shocking. It’s no exaggeration to say that pretty much every press conference from January to the last game of the season someone asked about Cesc and Barcelona, until Wenger finally said this:

    Every week, in every press conference, I get asked if Fabregas will stay or not. Frankly, I believe it is not serious. The players are under contract and I always have to answer this.

    If the players are free, I will tell you. Gallas can sign where he wants. We are trying to re-sign him but he is legally free to sign where he wants so I can tell you I don’t know where he will go. Maybe he will stay, maybe he will go. But when the players are under contract, why should we answer the same questions? Every week, it is exactly the same with Fabregas. Why? I don’t know.

    When you sign a contract with a player, he commits his future to the club and I am surprised that you question the contracts of the players. You act as if the contract doesn’t mean anything. In what kind of society do we live?

    Nobody puts a gun to your head when you sign a contract. We have more players who want to join us than players who want to leave us but you always put us in a position where we have to defend the players we want to keep who are under contract.

    It should be absolutely logical to you that a player who is paid as he is paid respects his contract. I respect my contract because I have loyalty to the players so why should the players not respect theirs?

    We have gone for a policy of development of the team over a longer period. We have stood up for these young players so it is down to them to pay us back, stay together and show that we can be successful together.

    The items in bold are important because they pretty much highlight what the boss thinks about contracts and loyalty. That he said them publicly was actually kind of smart: he laid down the gauntlet for any of the players who want to come and talk to him about leaving. Contracts are about free will, honor, loyalty, and teamwork — do you really want to publicly break that?

    Set a Price and Stick to it

    With the upper-hand gained in terms of length of contract, you can now set the price you are willing to sell your player for. Word is that Arsenal are now telling people that £80m is the asking price for Cesc Fabregas and that they don’t need to budge.

    After all, they have a 23 year old player, who has 4 years left on his contract, he’s paid handsomely, the club is financially stable, and they have publicly made a strong argument for players and coaches to honor their contracts. £80m is cheap.

  • dampatti

    if cesc does leave us for barca in the coming days/weeks then i can see the russian cry baby arsharvin knocking on wenger’s door and also wanting to move.well-no disrespect arsharvin but unlike cesc you havn’t done squat for arsenal yet, so losing you aint going to keep us a wake at night.i think it’s very important that if it’s going to happen,then it should happen asap so we will have plenty of time to regroup and get the players that we need in plenty of time for the new season.i hope to god that gazidis and wenger are working hard behind the scenes to get the players required.i dont know what other gooners are thinking,but i could do with a big signing right now like a buffon,just to make a statement of intent,but i’m not counting on it?

  • edison

    I urge everyone to watch the 20 goals of the season:


    With Chamakh now in the mix, do we really need to add anyone else to our squad other than an keeper and defender?


  • Yemi

    Lets not talk about cesc !!! He ain’t going anywhere yet. Lets not talk about transfers !!! You can’t predict wengers policy so wait till the end of the season to see who has come and who has gone.
    Lets talk about the world cup,
    Lets talk About our players that are far from fitness, Lets talk about the pre season.

  • Yemi

    I was just watching the top 20 goals on the official website and i notice two things

    1.) Most of the Goals scored in the early part of the season were scored by the players that got injured last season. Verm, RVP, Cesc, Denilson, Arshavin etc

    2.) Most of the goals came from outside the 18yrd box or close to the edge.

    3.) Most goals were initiated from wide arears

  • Pete

    Breaking news: We’ve officially signed Chamahk :)

  • Pete


  • Pete

    From Arsenal.com.

    Marouane Chamakh completes move to Arsenal

    Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Moroccan international striker Marouane Chamakh has joined the Gunners on a long-term contract.

    Chamakh (26), who joins Arsenal from French side Bordeaux, made a total of 293 appearances, scoring 79 goals during his eight years with Les Girondins.

    In the 2008/09 league campaign, Chamakh scored 14 goals, helping Bordeaux win the French League title, thus ending Lyon’s seven-year domination of Ligue 1. The Moroccan striker’s fine form continued last season, playing an integral role in helping Bordeaux reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, where they finished above both Bayern Munich and Juventus in the Group Stages.

    Born and raised in France, but playing international football for Morocco through his parentage, Chamakh has made 53 appearances for the north African country, scoring 27 goals, and was part of the side which reached the Final of the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations.

    Manager Arsène Wenger said: “We are delighted that Marouane Chamakh has joined us. He is a player we have admired for some time now and I know he will provide our squad with great quality. Chamakh has proved he is a great player with his performances for Bordeaux and Morocco in recent seasons and we’re all looking forward to him joining us.

    “Chamakh is a striker of real quality and has all the attributes suited to come to England and do very well. He is also a fighter, not only a good football player, but a fighter as well. He is very good in the air and also a good team player. He is a great addition to our squad.”

    After completing his move to the Gunners, Chamakh said: “This is a dream come true and a great joy to be joining Arsenal. My goal was always to play in the Premier League and Arsenal was the choice of my heart.

    “Without any hesitation, Arsenal was my preferred club. The team and history of Arsenal, they make me dream. My goal was to join Arsenal out of the all the English clubs because it is a club that makes me dream and I have been a fan since I was a child.

    “I’m very excited about playing at Emirates Stadium in front of the Arsenal supporters. I have heard many great things about the stadium and I cannot wait to be playing there in an Arsenal shirt.

    “I will give my best to this Club, the Club that I used to support. We have many great players at Arsenal and I will be giving everything to help the team win trophies next season.”

    Ivan Gazidis, Chief Executive of Arsenal Football Club added: “Arsène has been following the progress of Marouane Chamakh for some time and has identified him as a player that will add significant strength to our squad. We’re delighted that Marouane has chosen Arsenal ahead of the many other clubs that were interested in him.”

    Chamakh, who will wear the number 29 shirt for Arsenal, will join up with his new team-mates for pre-season training in July.

  • jeffvip

    how much is his wages?

  • Gooner Get Ya

    AW has said he wants 1 or 2 more players. One has got to be a CB and I hope the other is GK. Plus if anyone leaves from midfield he should replace.

  • Berth

    No disrespect for this site Dev; but we had a f****ng signing why not just write something anything.Congratulate the guy; is not easy being an arsenal player. I have been refreshing the site since last night to see any changes.

  • Tm17

    The funny thing is that,watching the build up to
    the final, suddenly it seems that football
    is all about tactics.
    What happen to ” anything can happen in football”
    I am predicting (and hoping) a surprise win for bayern !!!!

  • Berth

    Interesting link folks http//www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2557/news/2010/05/23/1938287/manchester-united-boss-sir-alex-ferguson-insists-jose

  • yemi

    where is the whole team? why is WOA so silent? dev, jat, debs, will scott! have u all gone on holidays at the same time?

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Merida has gone to Athletico Madrid on a free. Good luck to him I say as he never really had a chance with cesc around. Maybe cesc should take note as he will the Merida for Barca for at least a season!!!

  • devday

    @ yemi:
    Hey Yemi – just popped to Berlin this weekend and my stand ins have all been unavailable, but just posted my view on Chamakh and the world of Arsenal, take a read!