Cesc Tape scandal blows up | How to cope with the Spaniards departure

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So a few things to power through this morning!

Firstly, I thought the whole ‘Cesc tape’ thing yesterday was very interesting. Arsenal contacted me to tell me the tweet about them signing off the interview was false. They didn’t sign off the interview at all.

I asked if the problem was with the process not being adhered to or was it an argument about the content?

The Press Officer said the content of the quotes was being disputed on the basis of tone and understanding. Clearly Arsene Wenger believed that Cesc was telling the truth when he claimed his words were twisted as he said this

“Not only did the author not respect the agreement, but also he did twist completely the article and we are really upset about it.

“In no way was it an attack on me. I know Cesc well enough and I don’t think I need to say much more.”

Now, from a defence like that you’d assume Wenger had been in on the interview. I mean, to say Cesc said the ‘total opposite’ is pretty categoric. I put up a retraction regarding Arsenal signing off but I also made note that it’d be nice to know what was actually said.

Well, low and behold, Don Balon published the audio file under the headline,

‘Don Balon do not twist words Mr Wenger’

According to the Independent, the audio file shows that the paper were true to their quotes. Like I said two days ago, it really is rare for a newspaper to make up entire quotes. This is a highly embarrassing moment for Arsene Wenger. The poster child of project youth has lied to his father in front of the whole world.

Does Wenger have an angry slipper at the ready?

We all know what has traditionally happened to players who speak out against the manager… ask Jens Lehmann, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry.

On a personal note, I thought the article was thoughtful and actually very positive. The captain is just saying what most of us have thought for the past 3 years. He’s asking whether the club want to develop players or compete, he’s asking whether it’s logical that he and 100 PL games Robin should be the elder statesmen of the team and he’s inviting Arsene Wenger to change his ways and keep him in the summer.

If Wenger matches Cesc’s ambition this summer, he’ll stay. I honestly believe that.

… but what happens if the worst happens?

If the worst happens this summer and Barcelona somehow manage to raise the £60million neccessary  to take our captain off our hands, how will we cope?

Well, firstly, we’ve all accepted that there has to be a shake up of the squad. Regardless of what happens in the league, what we’ve seen in the cups and in many games we should have won is that certain players aren’t cutting the mustard.

So, being pretty realistic and fair, I’ve put together a list of the players I expect to leave along with their salaries.

Cesc Stays

As you can see, with very little effort at all, we can free up quite a hefty amount of cash. Traore is playing well for Juve breaking into the French first team squad, Bendtner is the great white hope of Danish football, Eboue was once in the Champions League team of the year and Chamakh is tried and tested in Ligue One and has Marseille sniffing around. I think the wages are pretty fair as well and remember, Wenger lumps wages into the transfer budget.

Now, things really start getting interesting if the worst happens and we sell Cesc for the reported fee we’re after.

Cesc Leaves

All of a sudden, the picture looks very impressive. We’d be armed with a total transfer surplus budget of £125million and £25million worth of yearly salary to play with.

Lets break that down further. Transfer kitty is the stated transfer surplus we currently have available according to the AST number crunchers.

If Cesc stays, we could afford to bring 5 players in on £75k a week. If he leaves, we could afford to bring in 6 players on £80k a week.

If Cesc Stays, we could afford to bring in 5 players at £20million each. If he leaves, we could afford to bring in 6 players at £26million each.

All without moving from where we are currently.

Now, I know that’s very unlikely to happen. I’m not suggesting we do that. All I’m saying is that by selling the right players we could have a summer that could sustain us for 2 years until our commercial deals are up and we can really start making a splash in the transfer market.

* Did you see that Liverpool are on the verge of signing a £25million a year kit deal?

If we sell Cesc Fabregas, it’ll be time to change the way we play football. We’ve lacked some serious pace in our starting 11 for some years now. My suggestion would be to opt for 2 wingers again, similar to the way the 2002 team played. We could buy in Ashley Young for £12million as he’s in the last year of his contract. We could bring back Ryo Miyachi as an understudy and we could certainly afford to entertain the idea of Eden Hazard should the cheaper option of the Englishman not work out.

If we did that, all of a sudden, we’d have pace in the side.

We could then go out and sign up 2 top-notch strikers to compete with Robin Van Persie. Cavani is banging them in for Napoli, he looks a top player… and I’d be surprised if Benzema doesn’t find himself on the market this summer. With the sort of money we’ll have available, neither are out of our league.

In defence, we could afford the £15-20million PSG or Bolton would be asking for Sakho or Cahill. If we signed either of those two, we’d have 4 very capable centre backs who have it all to prove. Sagna will have Jenkins as his understudy and Kieron Gibbs could continue to work his way into the first team under the guidance of Clichy (gulp!).

In goal, we’re set. Fabianski isn’t my favourite keeper but he’s done more than enough this season to tell me that if called upon, he can do a job for us. I’m not really fussed who the 3rd choice is. I wouldn’t even care if it was Jen Lehmann. At least the youngsters would be training with a legend who wouldn’t let their standards drop.

In midfield, I think I probably have to accept that Alex Song and Diaby will stay on. Both could benefit from competition and I’d love to see a big name come in and battle it out with them week in week out. If we sold Cesc, I’d really love us to try for Bastian Schweinsteiger again. We could opt to go with two holding midfielders and push Samir Nasri into the hole just ahead. That way, we’d have pace on the wings, pace in the hole and pace up front. Counter attacking would be more free-flowing and we’d have two power houses guarding the back 4.

We could finish the summer with a massive transfer surplus at the same time as bolstering our mentally flat squad. The numbers I’ve put up aren’t fantasy and there are plenty of clubs who could find a use for some of the dross we currently have. Who knows, they might even be able to squeeze more out of them than Wenger!

This summer is about being ruthless, it’s about making big decisions and it’s about taking some big risks. Get it right and we won’t need to worry about low profits for the next two-year. Get it wrong and go with more of the same… well, I fear for our Thursday nights in 2012 because I’ll tell you one thing for free… our competition is not going to sit back this summer and hope everyone else allows their level to drop.

This summer is as important as any other but more so as the rumblings of discontent are now coming from superstar players… not just the fans.

Let me know what you think in the comments section!

P.S. Le Grove was asked to write a feature article in the Times today, buy a copy and turn to page 100 to have a read. Alternatively you can find it if you pay a pound through the Times website!

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352 Responses to “Cesc Tape scandal blows up | How to cope with the Spaniards departure”

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  1. Steve Biko


    Why is there so much interest here on Schweinsteiger? I agree it will be difficult to get him not only because of price but because of the unfortunate reputation that Arsenal is gaining as a team that does not win trophies. Players like him usually go overseas with only one intention to win another trophy. For him to chose us he would have to be connvinced that the team will challenge next season (i.e. big name signings).

  2. Black Hand Ninja

    Steve Biko says:
    April 22, 2011 at 20:45


    Why is there so much interest here on Schweinsteiger? I agree it will be difficult to get him not only because of price but because of the unfortunate reputation that Arsenal is gaining as a team that does not win trophies. Players like him usually go overseas with only one intention to win another trophy. For him to chose us he would have to be connvinced that the team will challenge next season (i.e. big name signings).


    I don’t know the big interest either, I don’t see him coming, nor do I think he is a player that we need. We, like I said, need to be more dilligent like we used to be in the transfer market, and look for a smarter option. Even United are doing it, Vidic and Hernandez didn’t cost a lot. As much as it recieves a lot of derision, the French League has a variety of players who could add to our squad. In fact, there are players as such everywhere in the world, where they won’t be overpriced. I envisage that should a player come in, it may not be the one we think. And thats neither good nor bad IMO.

  3. Steve Biko


    My Bhai how are you. Long time no see. I am following the West Bengal elections with a lot of interest. Do you think the Leftists will be vanquished?

  4. Steve Biko


    I agree we don’t need Schweinsteiger he is a luxury buy and he is unlikely to come cheap. I also agree the French League is not a bad place to buy but I also think Wenger needs to diversify and get players from other leagues.

  5. Sabeel


    I think we should dig up the emirates pitch and remove that spuds shirt,rumoured to be dugged up underneath the pitch,no doubt we are cursed in addition to wenger stubborness

  6. Goonerman

    ‘I almost feel like fans/supporters are Being CHEATED by this board/manager….. .Thats how we feel…CHEATED…’

    Sabeel – AFC are not cheating you, you see the best football in the country incl. the likes of Barca. So if you feel cheated fuck off and don’t go to the Emirates.

  7. Big Dave

    MEMO TO ARSENAL MANAGER : Sell Fabregas, make Scott Parker captain alongside Jack Wilshere. Never play Song and Diaby together again. Buy a six foot six international goalkeeper that Szczesny can learn from. Sign Gary Cahill to play with Vermaelen, who is a British player with Belgian technique.

    Give Arsenal a British spine!

    It’s not complicated. Just do it.


  8. Sabeel


    u r missing the basic point,Where is the end product? at the end of beautiful game…football is not just abt attacking football,it is also about defense…

    where is the end product? the end product being the satisfaction of getting consistently 3 points from playing the beautiful football….

  9. Steve Biko


    There is something iffy about the Emirates. Take for example this season. Every season we have the one classic game at home where we play well but do not score. Do you remember a few years ago when we had a 0-0 with CSKA Moscow in which had I think 20 shots on target? This season we have hit the bar too many times at home.
    I think against Man City we hit the post 2 OR 3 times! Against Sunderland once- Chamakh header, Against Liverpool once-Koscienly header. Its getting ridiculous.

  10. Sabeel

    Honest Bill

    It has taken at the very least 7 years for some to realise,dont know how many more years it will take for wenger to realise the same…get a defense wenger First,

    gone are the glory days when wenger inherited a great defense

    the complete defense he has created(4 defenders + GK) cant even keep 2/3/4 leads consistently….

  11. Steve Biko

    Big Dave

    I am not British but I agree with your assessment about the need for more British players. They are numerous benefits that will arise from such a change in terms of how the media treats Arsenal, how the refs treat Arsenal and even how other teams (Stoke etc) treat us. It is an obvious thing the team needs to emulate Manure, Chelsea and Shitty all of who have a spine of 5-6 players from Britain.

  12. Ole-M

    First of all, it ,makes little sense building up a tactic for the summer ala FM.. Realisticly, he’ll never sell 10 players, and buy 10 new.. We all know Wenger will not buy big, but he will have to sell much, and that is just as important..

    Keeper; no one new – we have one of the biggest talents, a “Casillas” in the making.. No point in spending here.

    Defense; We have 2 great DC in Djou and Verm. Kosc is gonna be better, and is fast and clever. We need one new, and he has to be versital. He will never buy big here, doh i’ve would like to see mertesacker here. Verthongen is the one wenger will go for, he can be used as DC, RB and DMC – perfect. He’ll cost ca 10 mill, and is young, but not to young.
    Clichy must out!
    Baines is perfect!

    Midfield; Fab will not go – Barca cant afford him.. We have alot of great talent – but we need power. Parker is the perfect choice… 30, but thats no age.. Inler or M’vila is good also, but unproven. Denilson is lost – im shure he will go. Rosc is out, too old, and does nothing.. We have great talent, but it has to take more to make it at this level.

    Wings; Arshavin is lost, if we want money for him, this summer is right – Zenit will give 12 mill.But we know that Wenger will never sell so many, and Arsh will stay:( Vela is also lost, he’ll never make it. We need a new guy for arsh, and that is Hazard – he will be of the best ever.

    Attack; Vela out, and Bendtner too. Chamack is the kind of guy that can turn a match – we need him. He is good for atleast 10 goals a season.

    OUT (realistic, would doh like more to go);
    Almunia – 2 mill
    Clichy – 13 mill
    Squill – 3 mill
    Denilson – 5 mill
    Rosicky – 3 mill
    Vela – 4 mill
    Bendtner – 10 mill

    – All ca 30 mill


    Verthongen – 10 mill
    Baines – 15 mill
    Parker – 8 mill
    Hazard – 22 mill

    I know that Wenger will never spend that much – but that is what is needed..As for Fabregas, i dont think he will go, and if he does, it will cost 40, not 60 mill.

  13. Lusekelo

    Cesc’s interview was spot on and Wenger is extremely embarrased for his big and fruitless ego has been hit badly this time around,nothing was twisted. I wonder what fat Hill-Wood is thinking about the interview, probably he would come out and say Cesc is just a silly player who would not make it the Barca 1st XI. For the past five years Arsenal has been managed by an insane man who stupidly refuses to ride the wave of football change. He is so embarrassingly dated to a point he has turned out to be clown. I laugh everytime I see him giving his press interview for he is now a big joke. I need trophies for my beloved Arsenal not silly “mental strength and average age of 23″ hog wash.

  14. TonyS

    Guys the results of the last few seasons conclusivley prove Emirates is 100% on an ancient burial ground. And furthermiore a friend in the know tells me…..

  15. luke

    so were rumored to have 40 million. What I would do if I were wenger…

    Release/sell: Denilson, Almunia, Bendtner, rosicky, Squid,

    Ins: Mascherano, Bruno Alves, Scott Parker, Diego Millito (some fucking experience), GK

  16. TOMTOM

    Just out of hospital minus my appendix,cant believe the shit Wenger has been coming out with lately. I really cant see us spending 40 million in the summer and Wenger will never sign the top quality players we need,we cant even compete in the transfer market anymore so we might sign some more cheap French kids with potential,sad but true.

  17. TOMTOM

    What about signing Charlie Adam for 10 million? He looks a good player and his free kicks and passsing ability is excellent. Maybe not French enough for Mr Wenger….

  18. Arsene Nose Best

    MARK GOONER says:
    April 22, 2011 at 22:59
    eboue will end up at either juve or spurs

    heard today

    thank fuck for that

  19. Samir

    In a wide open game against Spurs, Fabregas, Nasri and Walcott were dynamic and penetrating for 45 minutes and the visitors swept to a deserved 3-1 lead.

    But Arsenal are too unprofessional to close the game up for five minutes, keep the ball, and give Spurs ten minutes to sit in the dressing room and think, “Bloody hell, we’re 3-1 down at half-time in a game we badly need to win !”

    Wenger’s unprofessionals allowed Huddlestone to score from 25 yards in the most crucial moments of that match.

    With Scott Parker at White Hart Lane, Arsenal would have led 3-1 at half-time.

    Scott Parker is a leader. Scott Parker would have blocked Huddlestone’s shot. Scott Parker is 30 and has no re-sale value.

    But Scott Parker he is the best tackler in the Premier League.

    Scott Parker, just voted footballer of the year, would totally transform this side

    But only if Arsenal had a new striker, a top keeper and proper centrebacks!



    we already have a top keeper in shezney we just need back ups
    any keeper brought in to be number 1 would mean sheney leaving and he is top class

    eboue has already had talks with spurs people

  21. Black Hand Ninja

    arsenal signed an eight year old. I laughed, as I thought of how that must be pissing everyone off lol

  22. goonergerry

    Wenger has already said yesterday that he is not looking to make wholesale changes-i.e he wont buy anyone. This is his code for- maybe one player if the price is right-which it never is. We’ve been here before- remember last year?
    Wenger and the club have a strong aversion to change and an even stronger aversion to spending money on transfers involving experienced players. The surplus they have sitting there is irrelevant-it wont be touched.
    Fabregas appears disillushioned-and his comments were more than fair but the timing was awful. He may well go this summer-but not for 60m-more like 35-40. What will the Board do with the money? Don’t hold your breath.
    I am with you on this-wholesale change in players is needed-
    However the Board views Wenger as a manager from heaven-unlike just about all other top managers hes a money making machine-next year he will bring through more kids and unknowns and quadruple their value. Why buy experience when by buying kids and unknowns makes so much more money?
    Unlike most fans (AKB excepted) the Arsenal Board treats the club as as a business first and a football club a long way second. Not winning a football match is of no real consequence to them at all.

  23. Jim

    Wenger doesn’t spend. 150M! Wenger still doesn’t spend. The sky may fall, the stadium may collapse, he still won’t spend. Jesus Christ’s second coming! He still won’t spend. Mark my words.

    Will Stan sack him? No way on this earth. Wenger is a money making machine, a manager made in heaven for the club investors.

  24. zeus

    Anyone got an idea where i can find an audio of Pedro on ssn? Want to hear for myself if he lays into arsene on national tv.

  25. nucks

    Jim, I hope your wrong abour Arsene. But I have a terrible feeling you are absolutely right!! It does seem that priority number 1 is too make profit, Number 2 is to develop talent with cheaper foreign players, Number 3 try and win something. Also Denilson 8million ? no chance!!

  26. nucks

    also, just reading the independent this morning and an article “when managers attack” caught my eye. The photo gallery contained pictures of 11 touchline bust ups between managers. Arsene was in 5 of them. I remember many more and this leads me to question why?? Why so much frustration? Do we see Fergie, Mourinho or Guardiola behaving like this?? No, probably because they are in control of themselves, their teams and the success that this brings. Our manager is frantic pitchside. Showing Anger, frustration and the ‘child like’ behaviour of an angry toddler who can’t get his own way. Sir Bobby Robson once said after a game at highbury that Arsene Wenger needs to learn how to lose…. You would have thought that he would have learnt by now….. Players, fans all look to the manager for strength, winning mentality and succsess. What is our manager telling us? Where is his ‘mental strength’? Does he behave like that in the boardroom? Of course not because in the boardroom he is in his element, in full control of his behaviour and our budget. Do I need to say more?

  27. nucks

    Gooby, are you suprised? It’s all over the papers this morning isn’t it. How stubborn is the bloke? What bad timing aswell. Just when we need to hear words like ‘strengthen’, not all this….

  28. Gooby

    i think that with a 2/3 established players we can win something next, he needs to stop buying youngsters as we have enough of them now.