Cesc: I’m loved more at Arsenal than I am in my own home.

Coming to a football club near you this summer is “The Cesc Saga”… a full action packed thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat all summer. And yes, this summer it’s all about Cesc. So, before I go any further, let’s listen to what the main man had to say today on Sky Sports News…

“A World Cup is too important to be thinking about other things. I am concentrating 100 per cent on recovering from injury. I have great respect for Arsene Wenger. I have great respect for the club and the fans. Sometimes not even in my house have I felt more loved than I felt at Arsenal.  I have had a long conversation with Arsene. It was probably the greatest conversation I ever had with someone in my life. I respect him so much and do not want to say too much. He told me to concentrate on my football and the World Cup. He told me to leave it in his hands and he will deal with my future. It is not up to me anymore. It is now about Arsenal and whoever it has to be. I do not want to say anything else.”

Or watch it yourself here:

There we go, Cesc has spoken and let’s try our level best to analyse this…

Cesc has said some very interesting things in the interview, but still hasn’t done much to clear up what is going on, which makes me believe that there is indeed something happening behind the scenes. My belief is that the Spanish team mates have really been trying hard to sway Cesc’s head and make him believe that Barcelona are the best in the world and Arsenal are the worst and that a move would be in his interest.

Now we know the dialogue from Barcelona’s end has been how much they want the player, but at the same time, they’ve basically used every tapping up trick in the book (surely Platini has to get involved?), but of course, there are two major obstacles in their pursuit:

  1. Arsenal don’t want to sell
  2. The player “didn’t” want to go

Whether or not the player does or does not want to go is uncertain, and the statement from his father said something which makes me think it’s not entirely true…

“I understand that people are all discussing this, but one has to understand Cesc’s circumstances. When he first left he said he would not go back, but things happen. Now this interest is mutual. A valuation is the difficult part. I am in the middle.”

And why the sudden change of heart? Well, maybe it comes down the fact that he has a plethora of friends at Barcelona who are winning championships and have also won one or two Champions League medals. Maybe it comes down to the fact that his family, his siblings etc are all based in Barcelona and he goes there a lot. Maybe it comes down to the lack of quality players that he plays with at Arsenal.

What would you do if you were playing with Denilson on one side of you, Diaby on the other, a broken Rosicky on one wing, a still being educated Walcott on the other and a striker in Bendter who can easy just miss 7 open goals against Burnley… You would probably consider your future too… I know a lot of people who are considering their season tickets now (justified or not, a fan should support his team through thick and thin!), but they are, and so is Cesc…

The question behind of all of this, is what happened between Cesc and Wenger in that conversation? Will we ever know?

Two things must have happen. Firstly, Cesc must have admitted that he isn’t sure about his future at Arsenal and of course the topics surrounding that, and secondly, the player – if he were to stay at Arsenal – must have seeked reassurances about key signings in key places this summer.

There is an interesting part of the statement, reading “he told me to leave it in his hands and he will deal with my future”, which means that the relationship between Arsene and Cesc is strong and possibly stronger than we believe. This works two ways – it means players play for Arsene in a different way but it also means Arsene looks after his players futures, even if they aren’t to be at Arsenal. Cite Henry’s departure.

I think the statement is positive in the respect that Arsene is the key man to conclude the process – something I fear will be a subplot to the whole summer – but one thing I think is clear – Arsene is looking to bring in re-inforcements to protect his top talents. Cesc and Song should be playing alongside a superstar established player – and our backup players need to be able to do a job.

Whether Cesc will be with us next season is something neither him or us know. But, I do strongly believe, with Arsene at the helm, we will do what is right by the manager, the club, the player and the fans… For now, I hope we can all do what Cesc says and concentrate on the World Cup… but something tells me, I might be talking about the same subject tomorrow!

And yes, Cesc… you are more loved at Arsenal than anywhere else…

  • devday

    On the whole thing about being asked if he is guaranteed to be at Arsenal next season, he didn’t say no, he just said he’s not going to talk about it anymore having just spent 3 minutes answering the very same question (you can see in in the video)

  • Yemi

    @ devday:
    You are the MAN. Thanks

    @ Pete:

    Thanks for being so alert. and for alerting others.

    Now to the matter at hand, I have always said cesc will be at arsenal next season. Wenger cannot afford to let him go. Not only because of him, but pple like arshavin, and RVP. Remember that it was the fact that wenger promised some players that made RVP stay(or so we heard).

  • devday

    @ Yemi:
    The truth will come out when Arsene next speaks…!

  • Francis

    It’s all in Wenger’s hands right now…i guess will wait and see what happens

    for sporting reasons and other players like RVP, Arshavin, Song, Wenger might not sell

    if barca offer stupid money (80-100 million) and Wenger accepts it, then he has a job on his hands to convince other players to stay

  • amar

    think wenger has promised him signings

  • Pete

    Dev, good stuff as always mate.

    Yemi, no probs pal! :)

    Seems like Cesc is at an important crossroads in his career, even at such a young age. Kind of remings me of the “Steven Gerrard to Chelsea” saga back in 2004, which went on for ages. Whats encouraging is that Arsenal seem to be in the driving seat, or so todays interview would have you believe. I’m starting to feel more confident in Cesc being at the Grove next season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if all of a sudden our transfer policy changes and we start signing older, expeerienced players.

    Also, not sure how many people realise this, but this World Cup will be Cesc’s 3rd summer in a row where he’ll be playing for Spain, having played in last years Confederations Cup and Euro 2008. So what you may ask? Well having players like Puyol, Pique, Iniesta, Xavi, Abidal and now David Villa in your ear about transfering to Barca three years in a row would probably wear out any player eventually. Actually, since the 2006 World Cup in Germany 4 years ago, Cesc has had only the summer of 2007 off from international football, and more importantly for Arsenal fans, time away from the Barca players in the Spanish national squad. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but perhaps all that time spent in the Spanish national squad in recent years might have had an effect and shouldn’t be underestimated.

  • Nick

    Great post devday. As I said the other day, Wenger holds the key to all of this. I think the relationship Arsene has with Cesc is the most important aspect of this. Honestly, Cesc is probably one of the main reasons Arsene didn’t leave to take the job at Real Madrid last season. I think Arsene actually said to him “I know how hard this is for you. You are getting pressure from both sides and you have to do what is best for you. If I’m not helping in that please tell me what I need to do to help me make Arsenal the best place for you.” That’s what I would’ve said.

    You do have to feel deeply for Cesc at this point. I think there’s more stress about this than the WC and that’s not healthy. He realizes how much he is loved at Arsenal and how do you hurt all those people? His family and childhood love is Barcelona and they won’t stop telling him to come back. How do you deal with something like that? I wish him luck in dealing with this huge burden and I hope Arsene does everything he can to improve Arsenal for Cesc and for all of us.

  • devday

    @ Francis:
    But if were to spend £50m on three awesome, experienced and hungry players then surely the existing group would want to stay?

  • sid

    Its common knowledge that Cesc will one day go back, I think he is doing us a favour by making the club react to losing its most important player.

    His comments indicate that its up to Arsene what happens next.
    A) Cesc could stay with no improvements to the team and all this will start again next summer.
    B) Arsene reinforces the team adequately and along with Cesc the team perform in a similar manner Bayern did and non of this has to happen again.
    C) Arsene allows the transfer to happen and obviously Cesc has no problem joining Barca but what will that say about US

  • parksy

    I have said at the begining and will say again that Cesc will be in an Arsenal shirt next season. Nothing i have seen or heard from Cesc says overwise.

    It is quite clear he has a huge respect for Arsene, and if true he feels more love from the Arsenal fans than at home then surely trying to leave would be made more difficult.

    Maybe he is trying to force Wengers hand in the transfer market, a warning shot accross his bows perhaps ?

    But as it as been alluded to on here anybody can edit a shot to say what they want you to hear, Cesc clearly did NOT say NO to being at Arsenal next season, as reported on sky shit stiring news..

  • Vishoka

    Here are my 2 pence, if Spain does win the world cup, the excitement and euphoria might see him leave, just to make winning a commonality. On the other hand, it could make his will stronger to win one for Arsenal, though the possibility of the latter seems non existent. Let’s hope for the best.

    In Arsene we trust! Go goooooooners!

  • devday

    @ Pete:
    Interesting comparison to Gerrard, I can see how they are related. The differnce though is Gerrard’s from Liverpool’s academy – doesn’t bode well!

  • parksy

    What do fans expect Cesc to say?

    Of course he wants to play for his boyhood club at some point in his career, so he’s hardly going to publicly snub them.

    He’s had another disappointing and tough season, whatever you’re views on the club and the players, we’d probably all agree he’s been let down by the effort and overall quality of a few of the squad players.

    He probably wants more money, he probably wants to see Arsene strengthen the team (don’t we all?)

    There is no story here. The press are pretty much all hacks scrabbling around recycling second hand quotes to back up tepid little stories. Best to just ignore this and don’t feed the monster with more print wasted on a pointless story (I’ll take my own advice shortly)

    The facts we do know: Fabregas is an Arsenal player on a looooooong term contract.

    Barcelona are a bit strapped for cash and they have made no formal offer for our player.

    Cesc loves Arsenal, Arsenal loves Cesc (direct from the player’s conference earlier today)

    Everything else is just flimflam.

    I saw some prat named Myles Palmer offering his insight into the situation yesterday. He claimed Arsene had lost the plot and Cesc had no respect for him and his plans for the club. Cesc today is quoted saying he has immense respect for Arsene and Arsenal.

    Probably best to keep one’s opinions to oneself when they are utter bollocks.

  • sid

    It’s a typical Sky sensation. Cesc is an intelligent young man and handled himself well in the press conference/interview. The no guarentees quote was in answer to being pushed on his future after he felt he dealt with it. There are no guarentees that he wont be at the Grove in August either. Sky have just headlined this by saying that Cesc admits he doesnt know if he plays with Arsenal or Barcelona next season. Barcelona are obviously the alternative but Cesc didn’t mention them in the interview.
    I am also amazed that people can make quotes from his conversation with Wenger, when it.s obvious they respect each other so much and therefore neither would divulge the details.
    Cesc may be clever by trying to protect himself with us Arsenal fans, by A) Saying its up to Arsenal, if he leaves it’s their choice and B) if he doesn’t leave then he will still be in the fans good books.
    Personally I am more confident of him staying, than any time recently.

  • devday

    @ sid:
    I hope he stays and then we sign loads of players and then he signs an extension…!

  • sid

    Cesc said that he had the greatest conversation with Arsene that he’s ever had where the Lord Wenger concluded by saying that he’d take care of everything that transpires and that Cesc should focus on his World Cup.

    When the scummy hack from Sky Sports asked Cesc if he’d still be at Arsenal next season and he didn’t guarantee that he’d be staying, nor that he’d be leaving, then it’s still being portrayed that he wants to leave. Also note that Torres also said in the same press conference that he doesn’t guarantee that he’ll still be at Liverpool next season either, which contradicts what his agent has already said, yet that’s not being reported so avidly. I guess they just wouldn’t sell so many papers or get so many viewers watching!

    I don’t blame the Cesc, after all the bull that’s been invented and perpetuated over the past week or two by Barcelona (i’ve lost all respect for that club now), whatever he says now will offend one of the clubs that he loves and will affect his performance in the World Cup (should he play in their already packed midfield!).
    What’s now clear is that Cesc wants the media to leave him alone and if they want to talk to someone, they should talk to Wenger and Arsenal before they make up more crap to sell papers.
    All the cards are on our table and whether Cesc will stay or go this Summer (and i don’t actually think that he’ll be leaving) will be up to Arsenal and on their terms, rather than the “done deal” being reported by those so-called “Spanish football experts”.
    By the way, it actually now seems that Arsene and Cesc only spoke about this farce for the first time after it had all began in Spain rather than the rubbish we’d initially been fed about how he flew to London and had a conversation (where Arsene was apparently furious and livid!) requesting the transfer.
    Strength and Honour Guys!

  • sid

    dev- my friend we can only hope

  • JAT

    From Cesc’s comments and Dev’s article we can draw some interesting conclusions:

    1. Cesc has left his future in Arsene’s hands
    2. Arsene has a paramount duty first and foremost to act in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club
    3. Arsene takes care of his players and is always interested in the wellbeing of their careers.

    Inherent in 2 and 3 is the fact that Arsene will sell players where it will benefit their careers and Arsenal FC. He has let many top quality players leave Arsenal in pursuit of 2 and 3. This includes young players who have been at the club for many years but cannot break through into the first team for whatever reason (I don’t need to reel off the list of these players but we all know who used to play for us and now play for other Premier League teams or top teams across the continent). Additionally he will sell players who, for whatever reason, cause an unhealthy imbalance in the atmosphere at the club (Ade and Toure spring to mind). Cesc cannot be said to fall into either of these categories.

    Therefore, in applying these conclusions to Cesc’s situation I am confident most people will agree with the following:

    1. It is not in Arsenal’s best interests to lose Cesc this summer. He is irreplaceable and we aren’t ready to compensate for his loss – players like Ramsey and Wilshere aren’t yet ready to fill the void Cesc’s departure would leave.

    2. It will not harm Cesc’s career to stay at Arsenal for at least another season.

    Indeed there is an argument that if Cesc leaves it would be detrimental to his career – it has been said many times that Cesc would struggle to get into the current Barca first XI, and I find it difficult to see how it would benefit him to be a benchwarmer, other than to be able to train amongst some of the best players in the world.

    Meanwhile at Arsenal he is captain of one of the top Premier League teams, who are trying every season to win the best honours out there. Cesc is already a fantastic player who improves each year at Arsenal. He has a decade, at the very least, left in his career.

    Cesc’s value will not diminish next summer (he will still have four years left on his contract so we will still have enormous bargaining power when it comes to negotiating a transfer fee) and Barcelona will always be keen on signing him, whether it be next year or the year after that etc. Turning them down this summer will not cause the boat to sail. Unless Barca can conjure up an overwhelming offer (unlikely given recent revelations about their financial problems), it is unlikely Arsene will consider an approach seriously.

    The moral of the story is that with all these factors borne in mind, you have to think that Cesc will be an Arsenal player on September 1st. The only concern is the influence of the media and his Barcelona-based teammates in the Spanish national side, all of whom are doing their utmost to be destructive. However, Cesc has a great deal of respect for us as a club and as supporters, and more importantly a sensible head on his shoulders. We have to believe that he can see past the actions of the media and his teammates and he knows that in leaving his future to his ‘footballing father’, the best outcome for all will be realised.

    Cesc is still our captain and will remain so.

  • Francis

    @ Dev

    Good question …i have been thinking about it…of we get stupid money what kind of replacements can Arsene bring in to convince the likes of RVP, Arshavin, Song, Nasri et al to stay. I admit its not that easy…

    Henry, Gilberto and Veira’s situation is different from this one.

    Maybe Arsene has a master plan that we are all not aware of…i hope so

    knowing Arshavin…he wont take it lightly if Cesc is let go…i can see RVP having second thoughts as well.

    Dev …(theoritically) do you have a shortlist of experienced players who can take arsenal to a higher level than Cesc could ever take us?

  • fan

    nice post dev. I really hope Cesc will stay and hope this saga will force Arsene and the Board to splash the cash and bring in some big timers.

  • Sam

    Cesc is immensely mature. He’ll do what’s right for him & club… That means holding till he’s worth (I.e. Barca fork out) $hit load of money for him.

  • devday

    Cesc’s odds on leaving have gone from 1/8 to 1/10. Betting interpretation differs from fans, who are more confident of stay after interview.

  • devday

    @ Francis:
    There is a fine line between great players and world class players. Cesc is world class.

    So how do you replace world class. Well, for starters, it’s expensive.

    The issue is how we rate other players in the squad, so for example:

    Song + Diaby + Cesc could be assilimated ratings out of ten.
    To 8 + 5 + 10 = 23

    If Cesc were to leave but we replaced him an added to the squad, then we could end up with a decent midfield or better if the signings are right:

    Song + [new player] + Nasri could be: 8+8+8 = 24

    Basically my point is that we need to improve our squad as a whole. We can get away with a poorish squad because we have big players who carry the team in Vermaelen, Song, Cesc and Van Persie and sometimes Arshavin.

    So, back to your question, which players do we need…

    If we keep Cesc and have a genuine desire to challenge at the top of the European scene, then:

    - a partner to partner him and Song
    - a right sided winger
    - a new centre back
    - a backup defensive midfielder
    - a new goalkeeper

    If we lose Cesc, then we would also need a midfield maestro (very hard to come by)…

  • Francis

    I agree with you…but then it appears as though we need to make wholesale changes to the squad. To add more than 3 players to a squad would be to take a technical and tactical risk esp based on the formation that Wenger plays i.e. 4-3-3 that morphs into 4-5-1. Not to mention the adaptation period required esp if the players are not england based players.

    I don’t see Wenger bringing in more than 3 new players this coming season..he’s already brought in Chamakh so that leaves us with 2 players. If i’m right Wenger will sign a defender for sure. So could the other signing be a defensive midfielder or a goalkeeper?

    i guess lansbury, wilshere, eastmond & co are some way off

  • Francis

    My last post was a response to Dev

  • Francis

    maybe we could pick up a few bargains from Madrid if Mourinho takes over….as he is bound to make wholesale changes…..seeing how bayern and inter profited from madrid’s transfer insanity.

    bayern got robben, whilst inter got sneider…both players were integral to their teams making it to the finals….

    maybe mamadou diarra could come in cheap….who knows, he would be a great addition to our squad.

  • sid

    Could it be that Wenger raised the exit stakes when he improved Cesc’s salary recently and backdated it and got Cesc to pen more years in his contract?
    Could it be that Cesc chose a bad time for Barcelona to make his desire to return known – after all the years of long distance flirting?
    It seems to me that Barcelona, now faced with the facts of what is required to get Cesc back, just realized it would cost too much in transfer fee and Cesc’s salary. Few clubs rate any mid-fielder and pay any mid-fielder of Cesc’s age as high as he already makes in Arsenal.
    For the role Cesc can play in Barcelona, I don’t think they rate him as high as they will realistically have to offer to Arsenal to see the deal through. Mind you also, Barcelona has to worry about what comparable players that will be competing with Cesc currently earn in comparison to what Cesc is already earning – as it is inconceivable that Cesc will seek a salary cut either to save the deal or just to play for Barca.
    In his conversation with Wenger, the old man may have convinced him that he will negotiate in good faith with Barcelona but will not agree to a fire sale merely to satisfy his desire. He may also have pointed out to him that the deal may fail in the end on account of Barca balking on what Arsenal fairly and realistically must seek to obtain as transfer fee. He may have convinced him that salary-wise and footballing wise he commands more in Arsenal than he will command in Barca.
    So, Cesc is preparing himself and the media for a failed deal and a no backlash return to Arsenal – provided Wenger shows good faith in negotiating if or when Barca shows up at the door.
    On the other hand, Barca may rate Cesc as highly as we do at Arsenal and may be able to raise the money to fairly meet Arsenal’s expectations. What Wenger owes Cesc and their father-son relationship is NOT to be intransigent.
    To me, its a win-win for Arsenal: he goes at a fair price or he doesn’t at all. If he goes at a fair price, I would be surprised if Wenger doesn’t have 2-4candidates to vie for as his replacement.

  • sid

    Guys have heard that Joe cole is signing for us and is to be unvelied on Sunday. I heard this from a fellow Arsenal fan in my work, I don’t doubt his source either, he used to be on the Arsenal books in the early 80′s. (says it’s going to be announced this Sunday)

  • Josiah

    Sounds good, where will he play?

  • Nick

    Sounds promising. Joe Cole is quality and has a good deal of experience.

    I’m very sad that Arsene isn’t pushing to keep Sol another year. I’d rather see him at the Emirates and not Celtic.

    I think with Mourinho taking over at Real last night it’s gonna lend a golden opportunity to poach some players. I’d love to move quickly on either of the Diarra’s, Royston Drenthe would make a welcome addition to the back 4 with his style of play. Guti, Raul, Higuain, etc. may all be on the way out as well. Gonna be very interesting.

  • parksy

    This is amazing – i was literally coming on to write the very same thing!

    Had a client dinner last night, got sat with this mad gooner, anyway he was banging on and on about how he knew people in the club etc, and said this very thing! Apaprently 120k a week, was all sorted last week and will be announced by next Tuesday on expiry of his contract (given the bank holiday)

    I thought it was a drunk man rambling, but looks like there could be some truth in this if we are all coming to the same conclusion?

    As for Wilshire…season long loan at Bolton in return for Cahill at £10m? Id be happy with that!
    _________________
    If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain – do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she’s just a big pair of tits.

  • pissed off

    I actually heard the news from a top Arsenal man. But he also said that Arshavin was leaving to create void for joe cole. I dont know how true that is.

  • Sam

    @ pissed off:
    It would make a lot of sense to replace our little Russian. Arsh has only a year left on his contract, so it’s best to sell him this season to extract some value out of him!

  • Suryabharti

    After returning from a week in Madrid where I was off to see the Champions League Final, whereon I was obviously hoping it was Arsenal in the final, but that being put paid to I sat and watched one of the most awesome defensive displays first hand in quite some time. Maicon, Samuel and Lucio. What an absolute corker of a back-line. Pace, Power, Aggression, Determination!! These are the type of players Arsenal need to climb back to the summit of the Premiership, oh and not to mention a world class goalkeeper. I managed to get Julio Cesar, Walter Samuel and Wesley Sneijder’s autographs, pity I couldn’t have got them on a piece of Arsenal Official Contract Paper

  • Francis

    i thought arshavin had a 3 and half year contract. he came in mid of the previous season plus last season will leave him with 2 seasons left???? is my math wrong?

  • Josiah

    No your right and I don’t want him to go