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Monday, 21 June 2010

Arsene Wenger does a Barcelona, FIFA get the chance to stamp out cheating

I was quite shocked this morning to see that Arsene Wenger has gone all FC Barcelona on Lorient and stated his intention to sign Laurent Koscielny by saying "There has been an approach for Koscielny, and there still is one." Given that Arsenal never comment on this type of thing until a deal is done, this is quite a departure. I'm in two minds as to how I feel about this though. We are always criticising the Spanish clubs for tapping-up players through the press, and putting pressure on to sell. We don't like it when it happens with Cesc, or with Henry and Vieira in the past, so it really is quite hypocritical for Wenger to flex Arsenal's big club muscle like this. At the same time, if Barcelona and Real Madrid are allowed to get away with it, why shouldn't Arsenal act with similar arrogance? I am concerned that we will lose the moral high ground when it comes to rebuffing approaches from those who are above the laws that govern transfers - though morals count for little in modern day football (read on for my view of the nonsense in the World Cup last night).

On the subject of Barcelona, and their questionable behaviour, Joan Laporta's latest is to say that Arsenal will eventually "give in" and sell Fabregas to them. I don't doubt that's the case. However, it won't be for £30 million. As I've stated previously, I am not averse to Cesc being sold, but it has to be at the right price. If they value Yaya Toure at £25 million, then they will have to double their bid for Fabregas. Then, perhaps, there might be some business to do. In the meantime the door is in the corner, you may use it Senor Laporta (see what I did there?)

Shortly after posting my blog last night, the Brazil v Ivory Coast game got ugly. Blatant cheating was the order of the day and it saw one of the greats of modern football, Kaka, unjustly red-carded. I won't describe what happened as I could not do it justice, but I suspect Youtube will be awash with footage. What the incident has done, though, is give FIFA a chance to bring an end to the cheating and play-acting. Instead of being petty and giving yellow-cards to people who remove their shirt in celebration, FIFA should start doling out long suspensions to those who wish to con the referee. They must rescind Kaka's red card - this is the World Cup for goodness sake, people tune in to watch the best (and England) - and hand Keita a ban of at least 4 games. Back in 2002 FIFA failed to get to grips with it when they didn't ban Rivaldo following his nonsense in the semi-final. Similarly, in 1998, Laurent Blanc missed France's greatest day thanks to Bilic and his horrible, despicable cheating. They must get it right in 2010 - but I would be willing to stake a lot of money that they won't.

I've just caught the last 20 minutes of Portugal's 7-0 win over North Korea. Impressive. Will they win the World Cup? No - and bloody good too, as that means another cheat, Cristiano Ronaldo, will not get a winners medal on the biggest of all stages.

Unless there is some major Arsenal news to talk about tomorrow morning, there will be no blog thanks to work - we all have bills to pay. Off to watch Chile v Switzerland now. Cesc might get a game tonight, but the Sky+ will be utilised again as I'm off out for a Chinese.

More Wednesday.

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