Barcelona have lost a lot of respect lately. For all their beautiful football, skilful players, and a fantastic youth academy, their recent, actually, not-so-recent pursuit of Cesc Fabregas has been quite a blot on their seemingly impeccable personality as a club.
They've been 'on his case' for a while, with President Joan Laporta heading the operation. Alongside him is practically the entire first-team squad at the club, who have taken turns in giving interviews in the Spanish media, asking Fabregas to leave Arsenal and come back 'home' to Barcelona, because he has "Barcelona DNA".
Agreed, Fabregas is Catalan, and was at the Barca academy as a kid. Arsenal then picked him up and brought him to North London, where the boy became a man, and honed his skills to reach the level he has today. A lot of people get into the argument of whether Barcelona made him the player he is today, or Arsenal, but that gets us nowhere. The point is, both clubs have played a huge role in shaping the midfield artist's career, which is blossoming into something special now.
However, let's call a spade a spade. Cesc Fabregas is an Arsenal player. He has been for over five years, and agreed to a contract that intends to keep him at the club well into the current decade. Moreover, he has categorically stated time and again that he loves it in London, and isn't looking for a move at the moment. Then why all this class-less nonsense from the best team in Europe?
The frustration of not being able to have held on to him might have something to do with all these interviews. Maybe the Spanish side are regretting the day the midfielder switched clubs, only to make a name for himself with his new team. If he hadn't, the Blaugrana midfield would boast of him, Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets, with all of them having been brought through their famed academy. Now that would be something to boast about, wouldn't it?
Another important reason we must note, is that it's getting near election time in Spain, which means that several players are going to be talked about by Presidents in the media. In the past few weeks, we've seen rumour after rumour linking the poor lad to everywhere except Queens Park Rangers, with the eye-catching headlines being of Inter financing a deal for him by offloading Maicon, Madrid preparing a cash + Higuain offer, and Barcelona, shooting their mouth off as usual.
It's rather interesting how FIFA and UEFA are doing their best to enforce rules that prevent clubs from buying young players from around the world, but will do nothing about big clubs, especially the "Big Two" in Spain, from constantly unsettling budding stars in various teams across Europe. It's a shame that Madrid can chase Ronaldo for an entire year, and Barcelona can publicly unsettle Fabregas for even longer, and nothing is done about it. Perhaps we need to wait for an English club to do the same, only then will the governing bodies react?
Only Laporta knows what is going to transpire once elections are on his head in the summer. If he and the Barca squad are talking this much about the Arsenal No.4 now, the sky's the limit in five month's time, when firm promises will have to be made prior to voting. Guardiola, in his most recent interview, said:
"Cesc Fabregas is desired by us for many reasons. Barcelona have decided to fight for the kid for next season. The money? This will be decided at the end of March to prepare the way for a new deal. Cesc is such a big player. Our intention is to convince the Londoners about the sale. It won't be easy but we have good relations with the Gunners."
An interesting point to note here is that Laporta not only wants to enquire about Cesc's availibility in the summer and make an offer, but he wants to 'fight' for the lad. Quite a summer we'll have on our hands then, it seems. Also, it's amusing that Laporta thinks he has good relations with Arsenal, when only recently, Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood said:
"I'm really p***** off with Barcelona and all that nonsense. It is not the first time they have done this and it is the most disrespectful and tiresome thing to do. You would think there is some action you could take against them, but I suppose you cannot stop the man shooting his mouth off."
That says it all, I think, about the feeling growing within Arsenal FC about Barcelona and their tactics to prise the Gunners skipper away. Also, there is a growing sense of resentment within the football community over the way Real Madrid and Barcelona have gone about business in recent years. They are two giants of club football, but with a big name comes big responsibility, and they must behave in a more responsible manner when it comes to transfers. We love both teams for their history and style, so please Laporta, Perez, don't ruin it all with unnecessary quotes.
As for the Spanish champions, they must understand that Fabregas' move will come about, but in due time. It's high time they realized he is a committed Arsenal player, and got over it.