09 June 2014

A hearty defense of Jose Mourinho's interest in Cesc

A report over the weekend from The Independent says that "Chelsea are trying to structure a deal to sign Cesc Fabregas that would lead to Arsenal missing out on any payment for their former midfielder," leading to all-too-predictable whining and moaning among the Gooner faithful: "how can Wenger let this happen?" and "there goes Mourinho again" and "Chel$ki strikes again" and so on. I, however, have to tip my hat in Mourinho's direction, acknowledging the master-stroke move that this might turn out to be.

I'm not referring to activating our reported "first-refusal" clause should Chelsea submit a bid for Cesc, although that's a possibility. We've said we're not interested in doing so, but I don't quite that claim at face-value. If, as The Independent reports, Barça have now paid us something on the order of £28m and Chelsea are looking to buy Cesc at £27m, we would indeed fail to earn anything further from the deal. If Barça stick to their apparent £30m asking price, we'd stand to collect a whopping...£1m—50% of the profit Barça might make. I'm not sure that's going to do much to alter our behavior in the transfer-window, even given the parsimonious penny-pinching Arsène is infamous for. In fact, getting wound up over the idea that Chelsea might, I don't know, negotiate during a business-deal seems to be a bit like rearranging deck-chairs on the Titanic. In other words, why complain over £1m when we'd be seeing one of our most beloved players in Chelsea blue? This would make about as much as sense as watching Mola Ram rip our hearts from our chests but getting our panties in a twist when he refuses to let us lick a few drops of our own blood from the floor.

It's for that that I wish to defend, even thank, the Specious One. He's taught Arsène a number of lessons in the past, and we've also missed out on targeted players in the past whether it was Demba Ba, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, or any number of other players we've wanted but missed out on thanks to Chelsea's involvement. However, none of those players aroused the affection that Cesc does, and so we've failed to heed the lesson. In the past, after all, we could wave off these missed opportunities by blaming Mourinho and his pimp, choosing to selectively ignore what was going on—ruthless, remorseless capitalism at its naked best. While we hem and haw about doing things the right way—and don't get me wrong, I still far-prefer it—we've never seen Arsène come to grips with how one does occasionally have to get ones hands just a bit dirty. They'll come clean later, I promise; we're not talking about killing Duncan here.

Should Chelsea swoop successfully for Cesc, leaving us holding our handbags helplessly, wondering where our bus-fare will come from,I have to admit to a certain grudging admiration respect rage towards Mourinho. He sees an opportunity an opportunity to strengthen his squad, he takes it. He sees an opportunity to strengthen his squad and weaken a rival, he takes it. He sees an opportunity to strengthen his squad, weaken a rival, and tweak said rival's nose? You bet your sweet Aunt Betsy he takes it. Instead of us whining about it, which makes about as much sense as whining about gravity, why not acknowledge it for what it is—a case-study in how to succeed? If they managed to prise Cesc away without paying us, and we're dumb enough to let it happen, well, we get what we pay for or, in this case, get paid for, which would be nothing if Mourinho has his way. We're not helpless, but we are acting like it. So what if Cesc is not our highest need right now? The same was arguably true of Özil, and we're not complaining too much about that. Even if we don't need Cesc, we sure as sugar don't need Chelsea having him.

This may all end up as water under a bridge as (a) Chelsea may not complete the move or (b) we might spring this "first-refusal" clause anyway. The point is that we can't simply stand by, some noble paladins, while monkeys like Mourinho hurl feces at, giggling manically. We both end up covered in it, but only one of us by choice.

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