If FC Barcelona are a disgrace, then what does that make Arsenal FC?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, the Hypocrite.

 

Despite my last article backing up Xavi, and the actions of both him, and FC Barcelona, there are still some who fail to see the light of day. They argue that Barcelona and their actions are nothing short of deplorable. Any neutral who says this is fully entitled to their opinion, as are Arsenal fans. However, the latter should really take a look at this, and reconsider.

The following are incidents that certainly fall short of ethical practice, and all were executed by Arsene Wenger and Arsenal FC.

I advise you to click on every link, as I have thoroughly checked my sources with this, and I am just going to ignore people questioning the validility of these facts.

The transfer of Mathieu Flamini

Flamini was signed in the summer of 2004, from Olympique Marseille. There was no fee paid, as Flamini was not under contract with the French club, so all would appear to be in order. So then, why was it that after Flamini had made his official debut for Arsenal, there was action taken against Arsenal?

Despite the English FA holding a consultation with FIFA to sanction the transfer, Marseille were unhappy. More than that, the French Football Federation were also less than pleased. They – after Flamini’s debut – refused to sanction the deal. This is because the president of Marseille, and one of the coaches lodged an appeal to the LFP. This appeal was to block the transfer, and the LFP agreed. Not only that, but the national union for professional clubs gave their backing, along with fellow French sides as Auxerre, Saint Etienne, Le Havre and Metz.

Of course, Arsenal got off relatively scott-free in the end, but can their actions be described as ethical? They may not have broken any rules, but they certainly didn’t make any friends in France with their actions. After all, the French Football Federation don’t just block transfers for the sake of it.

Fran Merida

I won’t bore you with the details, as everyone from Barcelona and Arsenal have heard of Fran Merida. Signed by Arsenal a few years back, he was a La Masia graduate, who was free to leave, as Barcelona could not offer a contract.

He was offered more money than he would have got from Barcelona, and was offered the chance of first team football. With hindsight, we can deduce that money was the only thing Merida gained from the experience.

Arsenal on the other hand, lost a lot of money.

The idea was to sign Merida as he was not under a contract, and avoid paying compensation. That would not pan out, as Arsenal were taken to court, where Merida ordered to pay £2.2 million in compensation for "failing to meet the terms of a personal pre-contract with Barcelona."

Of course, Fran Merida would not have £2.2 million spare, so one can assume that Arsenal paid that off.

Once again, no rules were broken, but the actions of Arsenal were not entirely ethical, and ensured that Merida had indeed broke the law.

Unsettling quotes

"We are following him (Hazard). Personally I think he has real talent and the level needed to play at Arsenal," Wenger said. "At the end of the season we'll have a look at the situation."

As you can see, this quote is about Eden Hazard, and is by Arsene Wenger. While it doesn’t compare to the "constant cacophony" from Barcelona about Fabregas, it could be unsettling. Hazard may see this, or hear this, and become excited about joining Arsenal. Whether he did or not, I cannot say, but the principle is the same. He is declaring an interest, just like Barca are doing with Fabregas.

"Bit of golf with big Gaz Cahill...trying to convince him to join me at Arsenal, haha"

That was a tweet from Jack Wilshere, clearly tongue-in-cheek, but the fact remains: This shouldn’t be joked about.

Maybe he did talk to him, probably not, but is that model behaviour, especially at a club that prides themselves on being the victims? Wilshere has had his say on Fabregas, and is probably not a fan of the "tactics" being employed by Barcelona, yet there he goes, with a quote like that.

It is hard to convey tone via the Internet, and his quote could easily be twisted, just by leaving out the "haha" at the end.

The transfer of Sebastien Squillaci

Squillaci was signed by Arsenal last August, but the move was not well-received by the Sevilla management. After all, Wenger’s interest ensured that Squillaci did not play in Sevilla’s tie against Braga in the Champions League, which the Spanish side subsequently lost. This resigned them to a place in the Europa League, and with the sorry state of Spanish football and its finances, perhaps influenced the sudden drop from the £8 million asking price for Squillaci.

That is probably too far to look into it, but Squillaci’s transfer did not endear Wenger to the Andalusian side.

The Julio Baptista incident

"Arsenal have not been given permission to have contact with the player.

"If they have done this, they have acted outside the regulations laid down by FIFA."

The following was an excerpt from The Sun (while not a reliable news-source, these quotes were also in a World Soccer article that there is no link to) which details the reaction of Sevilla president Jose Maria Del Nido to Arsene Wenger holding a meeting with Julio Baptista. Also there is the quote from Julio Baptista on the meeting.

Baptista was quoted as admitting: "Wenger wanted to get to know me as a person and spoke to me about Arsenal and his team."

Well, Arsenal got the FA to throw the book at Chelsea for holding a meeting with Ashley Cole while he was under contract, so why is this any different? 


That was a quote from Wenger on the meeting, and yet he gets so angry with Barcelona players talking to Cesc Fabregas.

A touch of irony.

Rafael and Fabio da Silva

"We were not too happy with the way he approached us," Rafael is quoted as saying.

"The scout said he was from Arsenal and invited us to come and train. At that time we had already been to see Manchester United and train once with our club’s permission. But this man wanted to take us to England and say nothing to Fluminense. We disagreed with that principle. Fluminense was where we started, we had been there for years and they looked after us."

Fabio added, "It was upsetting. We could have signed there and then and taken all the money and Fluminense would have got nothing.

"But our mother said, ‘No, Fluminense have been good to you. You went there when you were 11. I want you to do everything right. So we said we would sign for Manchester as it would be the best thing for us and Fluminense. So we signed and ignored the man pushing Arsenal."

This is an excerpt from an article on Goal.com, where a scout claiming to be from Arsenal, tried to tap-up 15 year-old twins Rafael and Fabio da Silva. While there is no evidence of the scout being from Arsenal, there was clearly a person who attempted to tap-up Rafael and Fabio.

These quotes are genuine, and therefore, the meeting clearly took place. The only thing in doubt is whether the scout was from Arsenal. But realistically, there is no reason why not. Why would a person/scout claim to be from Arsenal and then act this way? Why would Rafael or Fabio lie about such an event?

So we cannot know for sure that the man was from Arsenal, but logic points to it being the truth.

Of course, Arsenal failed to sign the twins, but the actions of that scout cannot be excused. If true, Arsenal are guilty of the very thing they fight against.

Arsenal’s "link" with Barcelona youth players

There have been so many it cannot be held as a coincidence. Fabregas, Merida, Toral and Bellerin have been signed by Arsenal, from Barcelona. Players allegedly approached include Sergi Samper, Gerard Deulofeu, Oriol Romeu and Pol Ballester. Now, one could understand signing one or two Barca graduates, but four signings, and at least four approaches hint at something deeper.

Spanish laws indicate that Barcelona cannot offer a professional contract to a player until the age of 17. In England, that age is 16.

One must applaud the use of that loophole, especially when it means that Arsenal do not have to pay compensation for these transfers, but ethically, it is lacking. It is impossible for Barca to offer first team football at these ages, and their set wage structure does not enable them to match the financial offer of the Premier League side.

Arsenal pressurize the parents of the players, offer them housing in London, and the lure of money often proves too much. With Fran Merida, the parents hired an agent (unsurprisingly he was Cesc’s agent too) who made Merida hide at home so he would not sign for Barcelona.

If Arsenal never displayed an interest, one can doubt that this would have happened.

The signing of Marouane Chamakh

'What I do not like in the behaviour of Arsene Wenger, who is doing this again today, is that at the beginning, he declared his interest in Chamakh, a long time before calling me.'

 This is a quote from Jean Louis Triaud, the president of Bordeaux, telling of his displeasure at the antics of Arsene Wenger in his pursuit of Chamakh back in the summer of 2009.

'Then he ended up doing so. And now, Mr Wenger is starting again, again starting to put doubt in the mind of the player. And I don't find that very correct.’

This is another quote from the same article. Particularly interesting is the claim that Wenger is putting doubt into the mind of the player, just as Barcelona were accused of doing with Cesc Fabregas...

Therefore, it is plain to see that the recent comments by Wenger, and indeed many Arsenal fans, are hypocritical. After all, Xavi has been accused of placing doubt in Fabregas’ mind, and this constitutes being called tapping-up. Yet these quotes seem to hint at Wenger doing the same...

I will continue:

"I believe Marouane has been advised very badly. His departure from the club and how it happened, I do not agree at all."He also said: "Since I have been president of this club there have only been two complicated departures: Sylvain Wiltord and Marouane Chamakh, and coincidentally both chose Arsenal… I do not jump to conclusions I am just making a point."

Once again, Triaud is voicing his anger at Arsenal, and despite saying that he is just making a point, all logic points towards a connection in both deals. Both were to Arsenal, both involved Wenger, and both played for Bordeaux.

Logically, there appears to be a connection. But of course, Wenger is still the innocent in this story...

Vermaelen’s quotes on Cesc

For days, weeks, and months, we have been told by Arsenal fans that Cesc is happy to stay at Arsenal. You don’t accept Xavi as a reliable source, so here’s the quote from your own defender:

"Cesc carries Barcelona in the heart, in his DNA...therefore it is impossible for him to forget about them. He was determined to go to Barca last summer, he more or less confessed it in the dressing room."

This was from last year, but I don’t see anything that would have changed Cesc’s mind, unless he wants to finish lower every season, without trophies, and reject a move to the European Champions, and La Liga Champions.

Also I can refute the claim that Cesc stayed of his own volition, as here’s a quote from him:

"Arsenal told me I had to stay, that there was no way they were going to let me go so in the end I had to stay"

Now we have that sorted, I think that’s enough for now, yet the derogatory comments towards Xavi and Barcelona will continue.

Just think about one thing:

If Barcelona are a disgrace, what does that make Arsenal?

 

 

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