Any chance Arsenal had in signing Eric Abidal—if indeed the club was ever interested in the Frenchman—came to a screeching halt after the Frenchman signed a one-year contract extension with FC Barcelona.
Reports in the past week had indicated that contract talks had broken down between the player and Barça, which prompted speculations that the London club might want to sign the French left-back as part of the solution to their current full-back situation.
Fox Sports reported on Monday that Abidal "remains with the club until the close of next season", and that "Barcelona says the deal includes annual renewal options that could see the contract extended through until 2015."
In other words, Abidal's situation at Barcelona borders on the dicey. Any drop in form means he is a goner. A one-year contract means you have no job security.
Injury? You're dross.
In light of this situation, it's therefore a little baffling that Abidal feels constrained to turn up his nose at Arsenal. Here's what Crunch Sports reports:
"The agent of Eric Abidal has stated that the Barcelona defender will 'never sign with Arsenal' following confirmation that he has signed a new deal at Camp Nou."
The report originally carried by The International Business Times UK continues:
According to agent David Venditelli, the France international will never move to Emirates Stadium even if he does leave Barcelona at some point in the future.
"The only thing I can tell you is that Eric will never sign with Arsenal." Venditelli told the International Business Times UK.
"There has been no discussion between the club, the player or our company."
Although these words are more of Abidal's agent than his own, one must wonder why the agent felt the need to use the "will never" phrase.
Is Arsenal not good enough for Abidal?
Or does he have a more glorious future prospect—Guangzhou Evergrande or Anzhi Makhachkala—at 32?
What exactly does the "will never" mean?
The original report form International Business Times UK is more balanced. Here's the report:
Having questioned the validity of the link to Arsenal, Venditelli suggested if it were true, then the Gunners had erred in their purported efforts to negotiate a deal.
"On the other hand, it seems that the club of London made a mistake in its strategy and especially in the choice of its interlocutor if he thought of enticing Eric." He said. "I indeed say 'if' he thought of enticing Eric!"
The report continues:
Venditelli's claims regarding conjecture with Arsenal came on the day Barcelona announced their veteran defender had signed an initial deal until the summer of 2013.
Leaving it too late implies that had Arsenal stated their interest in the player at the time, he might have considered a move to Arsenal. One must then again, inquire as to why Abidal's agent felt the need to insult Arsenal with his "will never."
Tell me I'm not being too touchy. In any case, this is one less rumor to deal with.