It’s with no pleasure at all that we start today with a report of our own. As Tweeted last night, I’ve been informed that Cesc has already cleared out his locker. I didn’t even know the players still had lockers. Do they nick each other’s stuff otherwise?
Maybe he’s just being tidy. Or maybe my source’s source is telling porkies. I don’t know the source’s source, but of course I do know my direct source (are you still following this?), and that source is extremely honest and bullshit-free.
In conclusion, I believe it, just as I believe other reports that Arsenal’s captain is finally on the way out. As predictable as it may have become, it’s still disappointing – particularly given the relatively feeble transfer fee, which I’ve already moaned about here.
Anyway, with a heavy heart, here is the meeja’s latest on Fabregas’s apparently imminent signing for Barcelona…
Xavi rubbing his thighs
“Arsenal expect it to be done by the weekend,” states the BBC’s Dan Roan. A senior club source has told Roan that “all the funds generated by the sale will be reinvested in new players.”
The syntax here is perhaps interesting. It says “reinvested in new players”, not “made available for new players” (which could see the manager decide not to spend it) or “invested in the squad” (which could see it spent on wages). It may just be Roan being lazy with words, but if not then this is a very stark promise from the board – suggesting that they already have big-money signings lined up.
“The BBC understands a fee of £30m, plus over £5m of additional performance-related payments, is close to being reached for Fabregas.”
Guillem Balague says that Barcelona will pay €29m up front, €6 in “variables”, and then an extra €5m that will somehow be saved from Cesc accepting €1m a year less in wages over five years.
Both fees, in my opinion, would be entirely unacceptable. But there we go.
Some newspapers, such as the Daily Mail, say that Cesc will forego that £4.4m “loyalty payment” that he would absurdly get for “being sold”.
Wantaway Numero Deux
Most newspapers are also saying that Samir Nasri is closer to signing for Man City. The Telegraph says Arsenal expect £23m from the deal.
Reports in France say that City have offered Nasri £185,000 a week, which is pretty much the equivalent of giving me use of a yacht in Monte Carlo for 10 years as payment for writing this blog.
Neville sticks up for Arsene
The tabloids are full of Gary Neville today, apparently because he did some Sky Sports thing after which he said a bit about football.
Tough life, eh?
Notably, though, the former Man Utd full back had this to say about Arsene Wenger, as reported in the Mirror: “You don’t stay there like Arsene has without being an outstanding manager. He is one of the best.”
“Never underestimate or disrespect what that man can achieve with players and his scouting network….
“Arsenal have been our major rivals for the past 15 years [Ed. – take note, Abramovich]. They are the team that have gone through seasons unbeaten.”
Well, one season unbeaten – but nice to have it recognised. Neville goes on to describe the 1998 double-winning side as “the best team I played against”. He also cites Arsenal’s stadium move as a reason for holding back spending on the first team.
Talking of wonga, the Sun claims that Arsenal earned just £27.3m from the Champions’ League last season – compared to Man United raking in £48.4m, Chelsea making £40.5m and even That Lot Up The Road earning £28.3m.
Disappointing, if correct.
The ever-excellent Swiss Ramble could probably shed more light.
Jack out of Geordie tie
As if our problems weren’t big enough, the Times confirms that Jack Wilshere will miss the match against Newcastle on Saturday, “and is considered by the club’s medical staff to be unlikely to figure in the first leg of their Champions’ League play-off against Udinese on Tuesday.”
What with Cesc and Nasri appearing to be on the way out, the ‘papers are full of suggestions for replacements and other potential arrivals.
Mathieu Valbuena of Marseille is a £15m target for Wenger, the Telegraph says.
“Twente striker Bryan Ruiz” is another option, the Mail claims. Ruiz is a compatriot of young Joel Campbell, who is likely to decide on his future in the next few days.
Or could Wenger launch another last-minute raid of Russia? The Star says that CSKA’s Alan Dzagoev is a target.
The Star also runs a massive double page spread with quotations from Nigel Winterburn, the headline of which says that Arsenal are “ONE MONTH FROM MELTDOWN”.
Something to cheer you up, Gooners.
The Mirror’s back page splashes on this wonderfully hilarious picture of the Tottenham flapper dressed in a charming polo-necked piece of knitwear.
The poor little darling. Please spare a thought for all the Premiership footballers who have suffered this week, locked up in their mock-Tudor mansions near Chingford — arms wrapped around their knees, rocking themselves to sleep by a radiator.
THE RIOTS ARE COMING TO GET YOU, GOMES.