There’s more news today about Cesc Fabregas and the heart wrenching decision he’s facing. Well there may be more news if the quotes are authentic. And he’s not really facing a decision because he’s signed to a long term contract. Okay, so maybe there’s nothing new going on with Cesc Fabregas, but that doesn’t fill column inches, now does it?
Some quotes appeared today that have been attributed to Cesc. Whether they are authentic, new, and unedited remains to be seen. The quotes seem to suggest that he has a love for Barcelona because he was a child there and that he has a love for Arsenal because he has become a man there. And he loves Arsene Wenger like a second father. Okay, does that clear everything up for you? Not exactly revelatory or groundbreaking stuff.
Here’s the part I still don’t understand: where is the intrigue? Cesc is staying at Arsenal where he will continue to be a fantastic player. Considering his tender age, and the developmental curve for players during that period of their career, it’s likely that he’ll be even better than we’ve ever seen him before. Some people want closure on this topic like it’s some kind of high school romance, but that’s nonsense. Cesc has stated that he is still an Arsenal player, Arsenal captain and has great respect for the team, its fans and his manager. That is sufficient. All we hear during the season is that football is a “results oriented business.” Then during the summer it’s all about sentiment and talk. Hogwash.
The media created this story before it ever existed. They filled their inches with quotes from peripheral figures who had no influence over the situation. Rumors swirled that Cesc wanted to leave and had said as much to the boss. But Cesc himself has never said that. Again, (and we’re covering old ground here) he never said that he wanted to stay at Arsenal either, but he doesn’t owe anyone that statement. If you think back for a moment, Cesc has been asked about a move to Barcelona before this summer madness. He was asked last season and he said clearly that he was happy at Arsenal, planned to stay, and wasn’t going to discuss it any further. Cesc tried hard to quiet the rumors last season. He said “no” to them in every way possible. He pointed out that he cannot control what others say. Now that he’s not denying the rumors openly, people want to criticize him. I say it’s asking too much.
Since the Cesc story bores me and he’s obviously staying with the club, it might be fun to talk about some other silly rumors for a moment. The transfer window refuses to heat up, but that hasn’t stopped the media from heating up the rumor mill. We are now “strongly linked” with Schwarzer, Mertesacker, Marchetti, Veloso, Jagielka, and probably a few other’s that I’m forgetting. If rumors are true that Manchester City are looking to sign Marchetti, then they’ll have a goal-keeper to offload and you can bet that we’ll be linked with him for better or worse.
I think we’ll sign Mertesacker. We need a CB and Arsene has acknowledged that we’re looking to sign one. He’s relatively affordable if what you read can be believed (loaded comment). But most of the links between the German and Arsenal are coming from fairly reliable sources. And we know that Gadzidis was in Germany last week so there’s some fire to go with the smoke. Mertesacker would be the perfect addition in many ways. He’s the right age, the right size, the right level of experience and he can start for us immediately. Some people I respect on Twitter have pointed out his deficiencies as a player. But my response is that every player has deficiencies and I would argue that his strengths match our needs. Moreover, we shouldn’t be dismissing Djourou and Koscielny. They are good players already at the club and Mertesacker will have to compete for his place in the starting lineup.
Signing Mertesacker would be a necessary boost to the defense, but I also think Arsene will spend a few more pounds on a goal-keeper. The links to Marchetti are getting stronger, but that could be media bluster. After all, he’s being linked to Manchester City which seems a convenient and lazy way to build a transfer rumor these days. My personal belief is that we’re still after Schwarzer. I’ve always thought that the delays in signing the Australian were down to Fulham’s lack of a manager. But now that Fulham have signed the odious, Arsene-hating, Mark Hughes, it might be more difficult to complete the transfer. There is a sense that any keeper would be better than our current options and I hate to admit that I’m in that camp. So if it’s not Schwarzer or Marchetti, or Akinfeev, or any other keeper linked with Arsenal, that’s okay as long as it’s some keeper not named Almunia or Fabianski.
Now we come to the part of the blog where I might have to murder Arsene Wenger with an ax. It would be unfortunate. I don’t want to ax murder Arsene. I rather like him a lot. But it may have to be done nonetheless. You see, Arsene Wenger has suggested that Cesc and RVP might not be ready for our match at Anfield on August 15. And here’s the part where I go apoplectic…
I think it’s great that Cesc and RVP had so much fun at summer camp. They got to put on their cute little football costumes and play for their country at some fun tournament in South Africa. Yay! Summer fun! But now Candy-land time is over. Boo! It’s time to go back to work and earn a living like the rest of the fucking world. That’s right, playing football is your job. Arsenal are your employer. And I don’t give a flying rhinoceros fuck about your country or the world cup. You will be ready to play at Anfield or you might as well give your fucking paycheck to the away fans.
If players had to choose between playing for their country or playing for their club, and they could only choose one or the other, then every player in the universe would choose their club. You know why? Because patriotic pride doesn’t pay the electric bill. And it certainly doesn’t buy Bentleys. There’s a reason that players retire from their national teams before they retire from club football. Because they like money. A lot. And so do the rest of us. That’s why we expect a lot from our players when we spend our money on tickets and shirts and expensive television packages and internet subscriptions. That money goes into the clubs’ pockets. Then the club takes it out of their pocket and puts it into the players’ pockets. And then they decide they’re not ready to play for the club because their feet are still sore from their playtime at South Africa camp. Well I say “fuck-off.”
You want rest? You want some recovery time from your summer exertions? How about you take two weeks off during the next international break just a few weeks after the season starts. How about you recover when you’re rested during the Carling Cup or FA Cup. And don’t give me any crap about the players getting injured if they play at Anfield because that’s bullshit. They’ve rested. They’re young. If it was the World Cup final they’d be miraculously ready to play. Well guess what? Our opening fixture at Anfield is bigger than the World Cup final because it’s their fucking job!
Maybe I don’t understand this because I’m American. This would never happen in American sports. I find it funny that Americans are often criticized for being overly patriotic, but we would never allow our favorite athletes to prioritize playing for the USA over their club. Can you imagine Peyton Manning, or Kobe Bryant, or Derek Jeter getting injured and missing time for their club because they were playing for the USA in some international tournament. It’s so impossible that just suggesting it sounds absurd. And it should be equally absurd in football.
Arsenal is a business that’s trying to succeed. RVP is part of Arsenal’s product. Without RVP, Arsenal’s product suffers and the business is threatened. Yet RVP was lost for most of last season playing for Holland. Can you imagine another business where one company would allow another company to damage their product without repercussions? Can you imagine Apple saying to Samsung, “here, take our iphone, redesign it with a bunch of defects, and sell it to the public.” Ummmm….No. (maybe that’s a bad example but this is a rant and I don’t have time to stop and work on my analogies.)
The reason I want to ax murder Arsene Wenger is that he shouldn’t even be suggesting this as a possibility. I’d much rather hear him say, “RVP and Cesc will be back August 5th and will have to work hard because I expect them to be ready for Anfield.” That’s what the customers (us) deserve and that’s what the employer (Arsenal) deserves.
Here’s why I’m making a big production about this. We have five very winnable fixtures after Liverpool. If we win at Liverpool it will lift the team, quiet the critics, engender optimism and possibly help push us on to victory in those next five fixtures. Then we travel to Stamford Bridge at 6-0-0, top of the table and full of confidence. That’s where we want to be.
But what if we head to Anfield without our two best players and lose? The critics will already be clamoring for change. There will instantly be doubts about our title credentials, and we will already have ground to make up on the leaders. All the concerns from last season and the season before will swirl around the team before we’ve even played in front of the home fans. And maybe that would have an impact on the players. Maybe we drop one of those very winnable five fixtures that follow our trip to Anfield. Then we head to Stamford Bridge with two losses, knowing that a loss to Chelsea in just our sixth match could already spell doom for our title chances.
Is that overly pessimistic? Probably. But that’s life in the Premier League. Calamity is a snowball that starts rolling downhill at light speed if you give it the chance. So we mustn’t give it the chance. We must get a result at Anfield if possible. And the best possible way to get that result is to put our best players on the pitch. So RVP and Cesc should play in that match. After all, it’s their fucking job.
And that’s all I have to say about that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stand by my front door until my RVP10 home shirt arrives. I can’t wait to wear it on August 15th. Hopefully I won’t be the only one.