ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on March 7, 2011 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Those who have followed my body of work know that, on occasion, my editorials can take a little detour in pop culture, preferably movies. I’m a movie buff, there’s no denying that. In the past I have likened FC Barcelona to the Jedi Knight and Real Madrid to the evil Empire. For all I know, Florentino Perez really is Emperor Palpatine and Jose Mourinho the real-life version of Darth Vader. This time however I will not address the Casa Blanca (get it?). Today I’m going to devote part of my precious time theorizing about Arsenal FC’s Cesc Fabregas impacts Europe’s transfer market, Butterfly Effect style.
Scenario 1: (FC Barcelona meets Arsenal FC’s asking price)
In this hugely inflated transfer-market the Gunners’ asking price (a rumored £40.000.000) for their most valuable asset is quite reasonable. Manchester United and Liverpool FC were taken to the cleaners in their acquisitions of Phil Jones and Jordan Henderson (both to be believed valued a cool £16.000.000 each). Neither Jones nor Henderson impressed very much at the U21 European Championships, FC Barcelona’s Thiago though did (and he had a fixed buy-out clause in the region of €10.000.000).
FC Barcelona incompetent trio infernale (Pep Guardiola, Andoni Zubizaretta and Sandro Rosell) – when it comes to transfers – splashes all remaining transfer funds (having purchased Hercules’ Kiko for €2.000.000) on one player, a midfielder at that.
Arsenal FC’s initial transfer kitty is estimated at around £40.000.000 - £50.000.000, including the revenues from a potential Cesc sale, Arsene Wenger alias Dagobert Duck could spend as much as £90.000.000 on new recruits. It would also allow him to make some key signings in areas that definitely need strengthening, the defense and a top class goalkeeper and perhaps Nasri’s fellow Frenchman, Karim Benzema. Arguably more than enough reasons to convince to commit to the Gunner cause. In addition any post-Cesc side would almost certainly be build around him. Let’s be blunt here, Arsene Wenger didn’t make Cesc captain because of his superior leadership skills, so making Samir Nasri the focal point of his team actually makes more sense.
Who’d lose out? The likes of Chelsea FC and both Manchester-based teams. Luka Modric is not for sale and Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder proves a costly back-up option. Not to mention there are question marks over his ability to cope with the demands of the all-action Premier League, Juan Sebastian Veron anyone?
Furthermore and more interesting to Culés, FC Barcelona couldn’t acquire the services of Alexis Sanchez, which is actually a good thing. Evaluating the performances of a Serie A-based player is more art than science. Calcio might be the most unpredictable domestic league in Europe but it’s been a while since an Italian team dominated Europe. The high-profile exports of Serie A-stars Kaka, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Alexandr Kolarov to non-Italian clubs proved to be massive failures. Zlatan Ibrahimovic for instance dominates Serie A, and always has, but whereas he appears to be Superman in Italy, he looked like Mighty Mouse in La Liga and still puts on the invisibility cloth in Europe. Therefore paying even remotely close to €40.000.000 is sheer madness.
Scenario 2: (Cesc Fabregas stays put)
There’s a big chance that FC Barcelona’s financial constraints will cross their plans to purchase the long lost son. And having resigned to the idea that he won’t be able to keep both, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasir, Arsene Wenger will almost certainly sell the latter. So it’s more a question of whoever leaves first, not if. Should the Frenchman leave Arsenal FC for the greener and more ambitious (c’mon, you can’t win any piece of Silverware with Manuel Almunia between the sticks) projects of Chelsea or the Manchester’s, his move would facilitate a lot of movement in the transfer market. If Chelsea were to secure Samir Nasri’s signature, Manchester United would launch a bid for Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder. And as unlikely as it sounds, Inter Milan could swoop for Real Madrid’s Kaka with the revenue from Sneider’s sale or go after his countryman, Santos’ Ganso.
In any case, I fear the three stooges (Pep Guardiola, Andoni Zubizaretta and Sandro Rosell) will continue to purse the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez at a hugely inflated premium. Anything beyond €20.000.000 + a further €5.000.000 in variables is insanity. But idiocy and FC Barcelona transfers go hand in hand. Not once but twice, FC Barcelona paid over €40.000.000 for a player who is closer to his twilight- than peak years, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa. Both will be 30 this year, and FC Barcelona bought them in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
But neither is Arsene Wenger’s refusal to pay a premium for proven stars the right approach. However he does hand out very lucrative contracts to so so to average players, Manuel Almunia, Denilson and Nicklas Bendtner earn £50.000 - £60.000/a week – that’s what Javier Mascherano earns at FC Barcelona.
I would’ve liked to explore Arsene Wenger’s dealings in the 2011 transfer window, but knowing the Frenchman I am sure he will not make any high-profile signing. With Arsene…sorry, Dagobert it’s always Duck Tales.
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