Monday, 15 August 2011

Farewell Cesc -Wenger eyes Mata, Jadson or Ayew -Striker signs today

Morning Gooners.

We all knew it was going to happen sooner rather than later, but it is still a shock. Cesc Fabregas' return to Barcelona was going to happen at some stage. I just really didn't believe it would happen this summer. It's been a long and painful exit which will be confirmed in Spain today after he's had his medical. Cesc flew to Barcelona last night.

The club didn't want to sell him, especially for the knock-down fee that the Spanish champions have got him for. Arsene Wenger genuinely thought he could persuade the player to stay for another season. Unfortunately he couldn't and at 10pm last night the club released a statement through the official site announcing they'd  reached an agreement with Barcelona.

Wenger said:
"We have been clear that we didn't want Cesc to leave and that remains the case. However, we understand Cesc's desire to move to his home town club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona. We thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and wish him future success."
There has been no statement from Cesc, nor as far as I'm aware a video message left by the Arsenal captain to the fans. Perhaps he will have a few nice words to say when he speaks to the media in Spain later today.

His sister had some nice word to say on Twitter, and I'm sure that Cesc will look back at his time in N5 with fondness. He may have been plucked from the Barcelona academy at 16, but he became the great player he is today in London through the education and development of Arsenal Football Club. He's Europe's best midfielder at the age of 24 and that's because Arsene Wenger recognised something in him and made his talent shine.

And in that sense it's no wonder he became the Arsenal's youngest ever player and goal scorer whilst he was still just 16. The players who have talked about Cesc all too often and all too publicly for my liking talk about him having Barcelona DNA. I would say he has Arsenal DNA in that Spanish blood of his. He was schooled in the Arsenal way and has become a man at our club.

There are so many moments I will look back on during his time at Arsenal with great fondness. Eight years of service have brought us Gooners a lot of pleasure with some magical passing and some exceptional goals. I loved the goal he scored against Spurs, straight after the kick off. His cameo against Aston Villa when he came on and won us the game. How he lifted the players when Aaron Ramsey had his leg broken at Stoke and led us to victory. And he was involved in some wonderful European nights with the club, mainly at Highbury when against Juventus he took on his old team mate Patrick Vieira and became a man that night. There were the victories in Madrid and Milan.  And you can't forget last season's win against Barcelona at the Grove.

It's a great sadness he leaves the Grove prior to his peak years. It feels like there is unfinished business. I can't say I've been pleased with the way he acted this summer. He lowered himself in the opinion of many Gooners because of some of the things he did and didn't do. But he got what he wanted in the end and that is a move to Spain.

He'll be presented as a Barcelona player at the same time Arsene Wenger speaks to the media at lunchtime. I can't wish Fabregas the best for the future because I don't within my heart. I'm just sorry that our relationship ended the way it has.

We've been royally screwed over on Cesc's fee. But I think in someways it was best to get the price we have for him and move on. Now is the time for us to focus on Arsenal, we're in for a tough week.

Not least starting with the game against Udinese tomorrow. We'll be without Robin van Persie, who I expect to be named club captain, although he won't lead the team out on Tuesday due to his suspension. Arsene Wenger will be watching the game from the directors box as he completes his one match ban. The Daily Express raise concerns over the fitness of Tomas Rosicky for tomorrow night's game.

And if he's still an Arsenal player by the time the match kicks-off, Samir Nasri will be watching from the stands due to his suspension.  I really hope the club cash in on the Frenchman though. We need to clean the decks and bring in some new blood and faces ASAP.

I'd imagine later we'll also hear from our friends at the FA over whether Alex Song will be charged after stepping on Joey Barton. If he gets a three match ban as expected, he'll be out of the games with Liverpool, Manchester United and Swansea.

Graham Poll writing in the Daily Mail said Peter Walton got his decision over the Gervinho penalty incident wrong.

And whilst we're on the subject of Newcastle, please take the time to read a fan's perspective of being at an Away Game. Tim Payton takes us through the highs and lows of the trip to St James Park.

Hopefully now the manager will be busy in the transfer market. Especially after tomorrow nights game. Wenger has said he's not afraid of spending money and we've heard talk of Juan Mata, Shakhtar Donetsk's Jadson and Marseille's Andre Ayew. Now it's up for him to invest the money needed to show we're ready to fight for the title this season.

Joel Campbell, who the club announced on Friday had agreed to join us, is expected in London today to complete the deal.

And finally, Theo Walcott (at 22) has released a proper book (not a kids one) and The Sun have extracts. He's talking about Fabio Capello today.

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