Well, the Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona mess only ended up taking 14 months to resolve itself. Nice and speedy, in other words. And if you're tired of hearing about it, spare a thought for our poor Arsenal bloggers, who've been having to deal with the news that their captain and best player wants to leave for three whole transfer windows now. As you might imagine, they're rather sick of the whole deal.
Ted Harwood, of the Short Fuse fame, is unhappy at the overall deal, and he's especially unhappy at what he sees as undue influence from the media forcing Arsenal to take less money for their midfield star. Fabregas ultimately ended up moving for something in the realm of £35M, which, it could be argued, is far less than his actual worth. The media played of the Barcelona interested to such an extent that Arsene Wenger had no choice but to accept a bad deal - or so Ted believes:
As for the business itself, the whole thing inflamed my cynicism. If there are rules against tapping up, they're useless, more or less. And that's what's really infuriating to me: Barcelona were able to use the media to play off of Cesc's desire to return home (which nobody can blame him for), making Arsenal's position so untenable that they couldn't set a price that was fair. To me, it's bad business, it's bullying, and it's frustrating as hell. But then, it's reality: Barcelona are the best team on earth, virtually immune to FIFA and UEFA censure at this point, and backed by essentially the entire of the Catalan polity. There's just nothing to be done; they are immense. My frustration in this regard is of the man soaked by the sudden squall: shaking my fists at something vastly out of my control.
A day later, it still looks as though Arsenal would have made a lot more money if they had managed to initiate a bidding war for Fabregas' services, although the situation does seem a little better for Wenger and Arsenal. They have a buyback clause and a 50% sell-on clause included in the deal for Fabregas, both of which will be helpful. I'm also not sure about the idea that the media caused the issue - even if the battle hadn't been played out in public both sides would have been well aware of Fabregas' desire to come home, and would probably have acted accordingly.
But then again, Arsenal fans need someone to blame right now, and it might as well be the people who've been hitting them with rivulets of torment-filled ink for the past year plus.