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Wenger on Barcelona’s transfer / youth policy and their lies about Fabregas

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Following on from yesterday’s article looking at Barcelona’s hypocrisy, it’s worth looking at Arsene Wenger’s reply to comments made by Barcelona’s ex-president Joan Laporta and current VP Javier Faus about Cesc Fabregas.

While Faus was only talking about how much money they have available for transfers, Laporta went a step further, talking about a sense of ‘entitlement’ with Fabregas – “It’s an issue of justice, we now want to recover them,” he said.

He also said: “The English come here to do fishing. They came to fish for Gerard Piqué [the former Manchester United defender who has since returned to Barcelona] and Cesc.”

Wenger’s reply is spot on:

“It’s part of the game. Where do they get their players? Where does [Lionel] Messi come from? Barcelona? [Newell's Old Boys in Argentina] At what age did they take him? Twelve years old. There’s no reason for any bitterness because we did nothing illegal. Everything was legal. We did not force a gun somewhere. We respected the rules. They could come and take our players, we accept that as well.

They take their players from all over the world. Don’t expect them only to get players from Catalonia.”

He was far more gracious of Barcelona on the pitch though (a far throw away from the aftermath of the 2006 Champions League final):

“Barcelona are certainly the best team in the world at the moment. They’re the best club team I’ve ever faced. And any club team at the top level is better than every national team. I would not deny this Barcelona are one of the best teams ever but my team wants to show we can beat them. I believe personally that we can do it. Barcelona are certainly the team to beat if you want to be the best. If we knock Barcelona out, we straightaway have a good chance to win the tournament. It is until now the toughest test for us in the European Cup.”

This ‘he belongs to Barcelona’ story is just a front for what’s really going on – Fabregas looking at a club winning titles every year and wondering if he should go, and Barcelona looking to their future and seeing Fabregas as an ideal part of their central midfield. Barcelona know that if they play the emotional card, they won’t cop as much flak in the press when they go on and on about why ‘Fabregas should come home’.

The good thing is, like Wenger or not, he’s talked sense into Fabregas about what’s really going on and what Barcelona (and especially the top brass) are using him for – a PR tactic. In some ways, Barcelona are better off portraying themselves as the ‘victim’ and perpetually chasing Fabregas than actually putting up the cash and signing the player, thus putting an end to a positive PR story and having to deal with a) spending a lot of money that they can’t really afford for a player they don’t really need and b) enduring comparisons with Real Madrid for poaching top players from other clubs (which they’ve been doing in any case).

Barcelona don’t want Fabregas (yet). Barcelona don’t need Fabregas (yet). Barcelona just need the idea that ‘Fabregas is theirs’, because it helps them look good, and it helps maitain the illusion of Barcelona as victims. Guardiola and Xavi and Messi may want him back for entirely selfish reasons, but they aren’t the ones pulling the strings, nor are they the ones calling the shots. Pique was cheap (and easy). Fabregas has been more difficult to prise away, but you wonder if Barcelona really want him back, or just like to mess around, like that ex-girlfriend who’s just jealous you’re trying to move on with your life.

A very hot ex-girlfriend, mind you.

Also See: Arsenal v Barcelona Champions League Preview.

Comments (12)

  1. Barcelona’s hypocrisy? What a joke. You’re the hypocrites. Wenger poaches young talents from Barcelona’s academy not the other way around.

    Whad a bad comparesion about Messi. Barcelona didn’t unsettled him, they didn’t go behind any club’s back as Arsenal always does. Messi arrived to Barcelona at the age of 12 with his father and asked for a trial.

    • Actually, Barcelona offered to move his family to Barcelona and pay for his growth hormone treatment, which is why he left Argentina to go to Barcelona.

      Wenger’s point is that everyone picks up talent from around the world, it’s not just Arsenal. Barcelona do it too (Iniesta moved to La Masia at 13, Messi at 12 – at what age is it OK to move a player from one city to another?).

      And to be fair, there are plenty of other football players who have left their boyhood clubs, but don’t go back because they’re at a better club. In Fabregas’ case Barcelona are actually doing much better than Arsenal. The ‘history’ bit is just BS, if Fab wants a move, it’s because of the titles first, family second.

      • To “Ahmed Bilal”:

        Barcelona offered to pay for Messis treatment and move his family…..because…..he was a really nice sweet, 12 yr old poor boy?

        Or because he was a monster talent that they wanted to steal?

        I dont know why you bother to comment and try to distort. Obviously is not the kind of blog you can get away with such nonsense.

    • If Barca had believed that Cesc would become the talent he is today, they would not have let him go in the first place. It’s Barca’s fault for not cultivating their own kid…Wenger believes in young players and puts in the time and effort to develop them. Why should Barca all of a sudden be entitled to having him back?

  2. Ahmed, Marc’s reply is exactly the problem: Barca fans cannot “see” anything except their own opinion: they’re obtuse. I know all fans are 100% behind their teams and are ‘blind’ to poor descisions in their favour or ignored fouls etc but the ‘cules’ have a much more engrained sense of victimhood (bit like Liverpool!hahaha) It’s the same with all Barca fans. Barcelona FC is a great club, “mes que un club”, a great philosophy, a great academy etc but the fans are completely lacking in any sort of idea about how football works.

  3. Actually an excellent point. And Barca don’t just have 90 minutes around them of Spain to look at either – they can scour the whole country for the talent, thus taking players that in England wouldn’t be so easy to snatch up. I mean hell, have you seen the type of side that the clubs in the north west could put together if they had the same kind of power? Scholes, Gerrard, Rooney, Owen… a long list.

  4. “A very hot ex-girlfriend, mind you.”

    haha, an excellent metaphor.

    anyone happen to catch fabregas giving gerard pique a slight push in the back as pique shepherded out an innocuous ball over his endline? (it happened rather late in the second half)

    wasn’t at all malicious, but so unnecessary that it i thought it was pretty transparent that Fab was just using it as an opportunity to show arsenal fans that he wasn’t taking it easy on his adolescent (nou) camp buddies.

    i think Pique’s response was just right: he gave Fabregas a confused facial shrug, as if to say, “what do you think you’re doing there, little buddy?”

    ha, also, i think it’s quite benevolent of you to even bother responding to comments like the one from marc.

    “You’re the hypocrite!” ?

    good comeback.

  5. Barca, victim? Hang on. Overmars, Sylvinho, Hleb, Thierry Henry, Van Bronckhorst, Petit. These are the players who left AFC to BFC. Who’s the freakin victim now?

  6. Barcelona is a great team. But the people who manage it are very cunning people. The point is- if they create an emotional imbalance in Fab’s mind then he’ll himself urge to leave ARSENAL and the deal will be very cheap for BARCA. But the catch is that BARCA simply doesn’t need Fab. They’ll just add him to the bench(Just think- who will be possibly replaced by FAB?? Iniesta??NOPE Xavi??? NOPE Busquets???? hell NO cuz Fab doesn’t play defensive mid). At Arsenal he is a PRINCE. A captain. He deserves to play and not sit on the bench watching other greats play. That’s what I gotta say.

    • You are totally right there!. I feel Fabregas will replace Xavi in 2-3 years and Arsenal wont get a pound for his transfer. Fair enouhg.

  7. This is not a discussion about which club has stronger “moral rights” on the players, its about what players want. Fabregas is a Barça supporter and wants to leave his todays company. He will do it sooner or later, swallow it. No money can keep him in England. Messi is quite the opposite, he never got in the Argentina the expensive treatment he needed and played for such a short time in his birthplace that Barça is Home for him. No money can take him away from Barça.

  8. Span Ows, stop, please, you are ridiculous.