I’m sure we (see: all Gunner faithful) are all sick of the constant media attention that Barcelona are getting in their quest for Fabregas. A flurry of various Catalan born players continue to make public statements about Arsenal ‘holding Cesc prisoner’, and seemingly no one wants to intervene on Arsenal’s behalf. While Wenger is content to ignore such ‘noise’, many Gooners are calling on FIFA to step in and stop the “tapping up” and unsettling of the Arsenal captain. But, what many don’t realize is that (unfortunately) Barca are in their rights with respect to FIFA’s transfer policies.
CBC’s Raphael Honigstein takes a very good look at those policies (and why they are difficult to enforce) here, which I suggest reading.
As he mentions, although it is within FIFA’s power to “appropriately sanction” these big teams, it is unlikely that the big clubs will get more than a slap on the wrist (even if it were pursued).
The “tapping up” process is essentially allowable. Public efforts to unsettle a player do not quite fall under s. of FIFA’s transfer regulations, and without actually physically discussing a contract with a player, clubs are free to entice their transfer target through the starving football media.
That does not make it acceptable, as far as I’m concerned. FIFA needs to do more to protect the rights of team’s with contracts. In the case of Arsenal, Cesc is still early in his five-year contract, and Arsenal has a right to get the most out of him without Barcelona players trying to convince him back to his ‘home club’; the same club that clearly lacked faith in his ability to progress when they let him go at to Arsenal. If Cesc truly wanted to return to Barcelona so quickly, he would not have signed a five-year contract with the Arsenal. But all the talk of the Catalan players is clearly upsetting a player who 12–18 months ago was perfectly content.
Barcelona, for all their stylish football, are a little less classy off the pitch. Severe debt couples itself with a holier-than-thou attitude that insists seems to suggest they believe “if we come calling, you come running”. I am not denying that Cesc wishes to return to Barcelona one day, and that his home will always be Catalonia, but Arsenal FC has a contract and is fully entitled to the benefits of that contract without this third party intervention. Arsenal is also entitled to demand whatever they want as compensation if Barcelona wants to buy, so until Barcelona is willing to pay the asking price (if we even put him up for sale) then they can f’ off.
As for Arsenal fans, I hope many don’t get disenfranchised with our captain, Cesc Fabregas. He pours his heart out for the team when he plays, never backs down from in a challenge, and always wears our colors with passion for the full ninety minutes. Don’t let all this Barcelona media coverage unsettle YOU as well, which is truly what they want. Demand we keep Cesc and stay loyal to our captain who has given, and will continue to give, so much to our team.