Written by Oliver..

Two days after returning to London, Cesc Fabregas issued an official statement in which he committed his immediate future to Arsenal. He started off by apologizing to us Arsenal supporters for not speaking out earlier, stating he had not decided what he really wanted to do until “this moment”. He further indicated that he was (is?) seriously considering a move to Barcelona, and implying that the move did not happen primarily because of Arsenal’s refusal to sell. He paid tribute to Arsenal and us supporters and stated this issue is now closed and he will be completely focused for Arsenal, will not think of Barca and will give his absolute best for us. Here is the actual statement:

Firstly I would like to apologize to all the Arsenal fans for not speaking sooner about my future but I have not known what I was going to do until this moment,

‘I cannot deny that joining a club like Barcelona was not an attractive move for me.

‘This was the club where I learned my football; it is my home town where my friends and family are and a club where I have always dreamed of playing.

‘There are not many players in the world who would not want to play for Barcelona.

‘I have had many conversations with Arsene Wenger both in person and over the phone over the last few months and although the content of those conversations will remain private, the conclusion is that Barcelona have had two formal offers rejected by Arsenal.

‘I am a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal’s prerogative not to sell me.

‘I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new season ahead with Arsenal.

‘I can assure all the fans that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 per cent focused on playing for Arsenal.

‘I am an Arsenal player and as soon as I step out on to the pitch that is the only club I will be thinking about.

‘I am looking forward to the start of the season and putting this speculation behind me.’

So that is that, then….Or is it?

Not quite. I think this statement will disappoint many in that it is not unequivocal enough to prevent future speculation. Given Cesc’s established stance that he would like to return to FC Barcelona someday, I did not really expect a long-term commitment. Perhaps he could have committed for the length of his existing contract, but that would not account for changing realities from season to season. A situation may arise in the next season or two where transferring Cesc to Barcelona is in the club’s best interest. Nevertheless, there are several things that Cesc said provide some insight into how he feels.

Those who have read my previous comments here on Avenell know where I stand on Cesc: throughout the summer, I felt that Cesc was struggling with which team he wanted to join. He is Captain of Arsenal, the team that made him what he is today. But he is also very publicly being courted by Barcelona, the team he grew up supporting, the one his family supports, and the one he began his youth career with. Add virtually the entire Barcelona team whispering in his ear during the six weeks before/during the World Cup, members of his family/inner circle quite possibly trying to engineer a move to Barcelona and hearing the Catalan media talk about him “returning home” day in and day out, and it is not difficult to see how his emotions may have been pulled in different directions. I also felt that he deliberately kept his silence – and I am not talking about the media-twisted and distorted quotes held up as proof he wanted to leave us – because he did not really know what he wanted to do and was not willing to say anything to possibly give one side and advantage over another, should transfer negotiations ever commence. Finally, I felt throughout the summer that if everything were equal – no external perception issues, an atmosphere for good negotiations existing – he would prefer a transfer to Barcelona. His statement seems to corroborate some of that, but certainly not all.

From Cesc’s statement, I infer that while he did not decide his preference “until this moment”, he had “leaned” a lot closer towards Barcelona than Arsenal than I suspected. I say this because he implies that his decision was mostly due to Arsenal’s refusal to sell, while also emphasizing the attraction Barcelona holds for him. That debunks my premise that he was genuinely undecided for much of the summer. Indeed, his statement about “respecting (Arsenal’s) decision” – with nothing said regarding his emotion towards it – indicates he will not elaborate on how he actually feels about it. Take what you will from that.

Cesc and Arsene both admitted to talking over the summer. No surprise there. I had felt, however, with the premise that with Cesc remaining undecided, he had never actually told Arsene that he preferred to go to Barcelona. Taking his statement as a whole, I now believe there was a point – possibly in a later conversation, and not the first or second (which the media constantly says Cesc told Arsene he wants to leave) – where Cesc did in fact tell Arsene that he would prefer a transfer to Barcelona and possibly even asked Arsene to start negotiating. It is likely (although not 100 per cent certain) that Arsene did not negotiate. I now think that Cesc wanted a transfer more than I had previously thought.

With all of the above, it appears as this summer’s saga will end as I thought it would: Captain Cesc leading the Arsenal team out on the Anfield pitch on August 15th. I know this is not the end of the saga, just one chapter. I further think that we will have intense transfer speculation about another important player next summer, not only Cesc. I do not know who it will be, but I think several players will have very good seasons – and if we win something, that will fuel speculation even more.

As Arsenal supporters we now have a choice. Support our Captain, take his words at face value and cheer our team on, believing he is the professional he says he is: perhaps disappointed at not transferring this summer, yet able to completely set that aside and give everything he has in him to lead our team to success this season. Able to put the future where it belongs – in the future – and concentrate on the here and now, Arsenal. Or do not support him. Demand his relief as Arsenal Captain for wanting to transfer to Barcelona this summer, expect an un-motivated, sulking, malcontent Cesc, and see our season collapse around us. Most of us will choose based on how we view Cesc’s actions and non-actions over the summer. For myself, I believe Cesc is fully committed to us for this season and will do everything he possibly can to help us win something. I will worry about the off-season in the off-season. The way I see it, so many things can change between now and the end of May, that I do not feel it is necessary to worry about that now. For those who choose not to support Cesc, you may well be proved correct in the end. But at this moment, we do not know how this season – and Cesc’s performance – will turn out. He says he “owes us a lot”. I feel I owe him my unconditional support. It is my choice and I feel it is the least I can do.

(this would not be an oliver post without a reference to my struggling baseball team, the new york mets, but not today. it is all about cesc today).



  1. avenell says:

    Excellent post oliver.. the first of many I hope 🙂

    Sorry if the paragraphs ars spaced wrong I had to re-do them.. They don’t paste in very well..

  2. oliver says:

    thanks avenell. i hope so too. do not worry about the format, we can conveneiently blame ms word.

  3. oliver says:

    chamakh just scored to pull us back to 3-1 down at warsaw. what an absolute shambles. considering this match is being played as a contractual obligation to legia over fabianski’s transfer, our performance is quite appropriate.

  4. oliver says:

    gotta duck out for a bit.

  5. JonJon says:

    top article, well said..

    ive said for a while that cesc is already a barca player, but he plays in the red and white..

    as long as he keeps giving us his all i dont see a problem..if we want to win trophies cesc is the man so we need to stick with him..if we turn against him it doesnt benefit the club at all..

    im sure AW worked hard over the summer to keep him here, the fans have to stick with the manager on this one and not waste all his hard work in turning against el capitan and completely fucking it up..

  6. JonJon says:


    what was that score again??

    your joking??

  7. oliver says:

    jj, no joke we are 3-1 down at warsaw. we have looked completely, utterly inept so far.

    i really have to run now, i shall be back soon.

  8. oliver says:

    i will try and follow along with my iphone.

  9. JonJon says:

    laters mate, cheers

  10. Mustang says:

    I will be at the first home game at the emirates vs Blackpool and will give my 110% support to all the players wearing the shirt, no doubt about that and all real Arsenal fans will do the same, but the bad taste the whole saga leaves in the mouth will take a while to remove because deep down we know he’d rather not be here.

  11. agirlagunner says:

    oliver, the promised post. Fantastic! 🙂

    I tut-tutted at this declaration of Cesc’s:

    ‘I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new season ahead with Arsenal.’

    A reference to “their decision” doesn’t particularly command confidence. But then again, Torres set the bar high with his Liverpool love-in last week… Sigh.

    Having said that, he is staying, and until and unless he does something to sway the status quo towards a transfer to Barcelona, I cannot but support him.

    Hola, Ave and JJ. 🙂 You boys get rico back in here… 😉

  12. Red Arse says:


    Excellent post. Knew you had it in you! 🙂

    I think Cesc has been honest in his statement, but he makes it clear he only stayed because Arsenal and Barca had not reached an agreement.

  13. oliver says:

    mustang, I agree that he would prefer to be at camp nou right now – he all but admitted it in similar words. I am still confident he can put that aside for this season. it does bear watching.

  14. Mustang says:

    Where is Rico anyways?

  15. JonJon says:

    i think cesc doesnt mind being here though, mustang…

    its obvious he wants to go but he hasnt handed in a transfer request, he hasnt gone into an anelka like sulk hes willing to stay and win trohies..

  16. Red Arse says:

    The game against Legia is truly dreadful!

    Same old, same old, same old. Flappy is well named.

  17. arsenal passion says:

    I don’t know why we are worried it Cesc stays or go, my main worry is that without a Goalkeeper all our efforts will go down the drain.

  18. oliver says:

    hi ra and gag. kumusta? commenting from iPhone so this will be a bit sporadic.

  19. oliver says:

    agree with jj. i think cesc is all about winning and will do everything he can to make the most of this opportunity.

  20. Mustang says:

    Let’s hope players like Jack, nasri step up this season to take over when he leaves next season. I persOnally think Jack is ready for a few league games, the kid knows no fear.

  21. Shrek says:

    anyone still here?

  22. JonJon says:

    hi AGAG 😉

  23. Mustang says:

    It’s like walking down the aisle with your bride knowing your chilhood sweetheart is with someone else……

  24. Mustang says:

    that analogy probably didn’t come out well but get me meaning?

  25. JonJon says:

    arsenal passion

    i agree, i had this discussion with someone else earlier, i still think we need another keeper AND a CB minimum if we want to be serious challengers…

    if we get a CB it wont be enough because for a team of arsenals stature to not know who there number 1 is, is a huge tactical error..

    how many other top teams in europe dont know there number one??

    im worried to be honest..

  26. Mustang says:


    are we playing real badly or is legia good?

  27. JonJon says:

    lol mustang i get ya mate 😉

    im pissed off with him too but hes our best player and as long as he performs then i’ll be happy..i dont want to see no more badge kissing from him either but we have more chance of winning something with cesc, so we need to cut him some slack and get behind him..

    lets judge him next year..see what he does first..

  28. JonJon says:

    ive been reading around the blogs mustang and apparently weve been a shambles..

    im guna watch it now..

  29. agirlagunner says:

    Only too true, Mustang. I don’t think he’ll get stroppy though.

    ATVO chooses to stream perfectly for a game we are losing… Sigh.

    JJ and Ave, go get wooing. We miss rico loads. 😉

    Szczesny is looking good… That’s how you dive, Eboue. 🙂

  30. agirlagunner says:

    oliver, did you finally get your new phone? Excellent article.

  31. oliver says:

    hi agag and thanks. no i am still using a 2g iphone. i want to run this one into the ground because the data charges are $10 less per month than the 3g/4g versions. when it finally quits, i’ll get a 4g and cough up the extra data $.

  32. Mustang says:

    Hi AGAG

    how you keeping? Haven’t been on here for a while. Hope all is good. Looking forward to new season?

  33. Pat says:

    Bloody hell stop analyzing things to death. The man will play football for Arsenal for (at least) another year and leave some time in the future – nothing has changed…… pointless, internet blurb that is becoming a pain in the ar*e.

  34. anon says:

    his pathetic words are not enough to placate me. who the hell does he think he is? he sat on the bench for most of the world cup and would have been sitting on barca’s bench if he did not come to arsenal. he is supposed to be captain of arsenal yet wants to leave because he has lost respect/confidence for wenger, something i do not blame him for because i lost faith in wenger long ago.

    if wenger or the club had any balls left he would be stripped of the captancy and put on the bench. but we all know that will not happen because wenger and the club are a shadow of their former selves. pathetic.

  35. oliver says:

    so a 4-6 win. looked utterly dreadful first half. unbeaten preseason, but if we concede goals like this when the season stratus, we’re dead.

  36. oliver says:

    season ” stratus” lol… bloody predictive text!

  37. JonJon says:

    i dont agree pat..


    i watched some of the game, i saw jets goal and nasris but didnt see any of warsaw goals

  38. oliver says:

    i have no proble with pat says. his/her respective opinion. that is what these blogs are for, opinion and discussion, as I have done in the original post.

  39. oliver says:

    i am out of the house, did not see second half.

  40. agirlagunner says:

    oliver, you do that. No use replacing one which is working perfectly well. Or maybe, I like my jurassic gadgets too much.

    hey, Mustang. Howdy?

    Our defense is pathetic. Clichy was woeful…

  41. JonJon says:

    defensive frailties still highlighted..
    not strong enough at the back..

    the problems were glaring us in the face all last season and all preseason we have conceeded lots of goals..

    wenger has not got long of the window left, im hoping with the cesc thing put to bed he concentrates on bringing in some new players..

  42. JonJon says:


    bonjour AGAG,

    clichy hasnt been himself for a while though..if gibbs wants to take his place then this season is the perfect opportunity cos i think clichy is in decline..still a good squad player but makes too many bloopers..

  43. Mustang says:

    So we have a week to sort ourselves out or else we’ll struggle then

    Hi Agag – yeah me cool y’know, can’t wait for the big kick off, although not with the performance I am hearing.

  44. Red Arse says:

    Second half was much better. We got rid of Theo, who is truly abysmal. I am so sorry for him but he needs a couple of seasons in League 3. OMG.

    Hi Agag du lagag! 🙂

    Gibs and Eboue (what am I saying) ba;anced the team but the defence is awful. Bye bye Clichy. He is always caught out of position or passing inside,;;;;; for their 4th goal. For goodness sake!

    Wenger, we need a “big” centre back …….. please!

    Agag, my reception was good on the earlier pre-seasons but today in the first half, it was abysmal. Why can’t ArsenalKroenke get anything right? 😦

  45. JonJon says:

    we have a severe lack of depth in quality CB’s and our gk position is a joke..

    theres only two teams who dont know who their number one is..us and citeh..the difference is citehs gk’s are difficult to choose from cos they are both shit hot, ours are just shit..

    i cant think of another manager who doesnt know his number 1 and its unnaceptable..

  46. only caught the last 15-20 mins so have no idea looked like a testimonial

  47. Red Arse says:


    You saw the best bit. 🙂

  48. agirlagunner says:

    TV5 was lucky not to have conceded a pen, Clichy was doing his bet to let oppo win, Koscielny did one better (or worse) by gifting Warsaw one, Lansbury made a laughable clearance for Warsaw’s fifth… Yes, AW, our defense looks set to hand us the Prem…

    And how are you, RA? 🙂

  49. Red Arse says:


    We can’t take too much from this “friendly” game, but I am v worried about the ‘Pool game.

    I don’t honestly know what to make of what I have seen.

  50. avenell says:

    Evening AGAG/RA.. How are you both.

    Who scored our goals?

    This may be a good thing.. a kick up the arse is what we needed, all these luvvy duvvy friendlies make us complacent..

  51. agirlagunner says:

    hola, Ave. Here are our six goals, in order: Chamakh, Eboue, Eboue, Gibbs, JET, Sami.

    Our defense was nothing short of awful. Same old Arsenal, then. 😉

  52. Gooner_Hall says:

    i think we should look at the other pre-season friendlies and take all the positives from that. we also made a comeback when, excuse me when i say this, we didn’t need to and i mean i.e the game was just a warm up, no points or trophy was on offer and also they committed themselves just enough so that no 1st team players picked up any injuries. the midfield i thought was dead for the game. No likes of song and fab holding the ball as well as they too therefore help them into their goals so easily. The 1st 3 goals i think Fabianski was to blame for 2, the 1st and 2nd, and the 3rd Rosicky was not on the ball with marking the man who scored.

    Huge positive in the game was Eboue and JET scoring to boost his not so good performance at the Emirates I went to on Sunday. And Vela who put a ball through for a goal and too the set piece for Eboues diving header. But more positives over all the games more than negatives. When we get competitive we’ll shine through with our 1st teamers and our captin. No sweat.

    Although I think at least one established CB is needed and a safe pair of hands would be awesome. But with the season starting for us next sunday can we afford to not buy these two positions until January!?

  53. apparently eboue was amazing

  54. agirlagunner says:

    The first one was a diving header, no less… Maybe that’s what our dear Eboue has been practicing for… 😀

  55. kan alt says:

    vermalen is overrated! god in forwardruns but a bad defender!!!!

  56. Red Arse says:

    hi Ave,

    You probably know by now, while I was scoffing my curry …. yum, that the goals were scored by, Chamakh, gibbs, Eboue (2) Nasri and Jet.

    Going forward we were O.K. The defence simply seems disorganised. Oh for Bouldie to train them, but hold on ….. I’ve just seen a flock of pigs flying over! 🙂

  57. Red Arse says:

    Oi Agag,

    Just because I was a bit slow eating my curry, no need to whip in and give Ave all the goal details before me. 😦

    Overall, the pre-season has been positive, although the defense is a real worry.

  58. Suhail.TV says:

    Evening all.. Excellent article, Oliver. Hello RA!!

  59. agirlagunner says:

    rsd, lol. 🙂

    RA, you seem to love your curries and such. I had Chinese for dinner, yum.

    Hello, STV. Howdy?

  60. Suhail.TV says:

    Hello Agag Fine, How’s you. Its 00:30 here You’re having a sleepless night..Its

  61. avenell says:

    You guys are making me a tad hungry and er indoors isn’t in yet.. 😦

    I darn’t mention chinese take away, she will be gone like Theo Hamilton..

  62. avenell says:

    Sorry, Hi STV and RSD.. it’s like a secret code we run here..

  63. Suhail.TV says:

    Hello ave.. hoe ar U.. and where is rico,

  64. …./—–….—-

  65. agirlagunner says:

    Or airport stations, Ave. 🙂

    You’re right, STV. It’s almost 3:30 here. Yawn. I am off, all. Good night!

  66. took of my new #arsenal home top to find on the back of the badge is victoria concordia crescit chuffed no one told me about that

  67. Red Arse says:

    Hi Suhail,

    I have been watching MLB, Reds v Cubs, on ESPN. I want to bend Oliver’s ear tomorrow! 🙂

    I also love Chinese food too Agag.

    Ave who is Theo Hamilton. The local chinese chef? 🙂

  68. Red Arse says:

    Got to go guys, off to the West End (of london) for some fun and games!


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