If you are an Arsenal fan, the reports that Cesc is ready to leave the Gunners and move "back home" to Barcelona have probably cast a shadow of doubt on the direction of the club and the state of affairs within it.
But what is really the truth?
Several reports have Cesc telling Arsene that he wants out of Arsenal, and Barcelona, of course, is ready to welcome him with open arms.
For those who really follow Arsenal closely, know that this is not the first time this story has surfaced. Back in October, I wrote how the talk out of Barcelona was unprofessional and annoying to any Arsenal fan. The talk of Cesc having 'Barcelona DNA' and it being the place he ought to be have flooded newspapers for a long time now.
This recent news rush came after Cesc was quoted saying:
"If I leave Arsenal it will be to play at Barcelona. I do not know when it will happen, I am very happy at Arsenal and I am in no hurry to leave ."
Cesc wants to leave soon. Arsenal is a sinking ship and Arsene is close behind.
Read the quote again and see if you read anything there that says he wants to leave now and thinks Arsenal is going nowhere. There isn't any of that. In fact, this quote solidifies exactly what Cesc has been officially saying in the press for as long as these stories have circulated. "I am happy at Arsenal and when I leave, it will be for Barcelona."
But now, since Arsenal had a pitiful final month, Cesc was injured, and Arsene has only one year left on his contract, suddenly the mindset of the team's captain changes overnight and he is apparently going before the weekend is done?
One word: Bollocks.
This is exactly what's wrong with the journalism business. In the search for more stories and web hits, newspapers come to the conclusion that:
Bad end of season for Arsenal + another Barcelona title + Cesc wants to win + Cesc is from Barcelona and grew up idolizing Guardiola = Cesc wants to go to Barcelona, even when he is quoted saying that he is happy at Arsenal and is in no hurry to leave.
News outlets are doing what is natural to them, playing off the emotions of the readers to draw them into their stories. Arsenal fans will read these stories trying to "know" what is in the club's future. Every time a new "story" pops up in their news feed they jump all over it because we all know that losing Cesc would be big trouble for us.
How exactly do these newspapers know that Cesc had a meeting with Arsene? How do they know what was talked about? They don't; it's all a guessing and invention game created to originate reads.
The same thing happens here at B/R, where many writers have succumbed to writing stories such as "Cesc is set to leave: Who will replace him", "(Name here) can fill Cesc's shoes", and others with similar headlines.
Most of these stories originate in Spain, where newspapers literally control the teams by controlling the mindset of the fans. If you need an example, look at how the Madrid newspaper 'Marca' is influential in all Real Madrid related business.
It is a similar situation in Catalonia, especially this summer, when Barcelona faces Presidential elections. If Joan Laporta doesn't flood the newspapers with promises of many big money signings, the guy who does will take his place.
There is also the fact that Cesc is a product of the Barcelona Academy—which has produced the likes of Puyol, Pique, Messi, Bojan, Pedro, and Xavi, among others—and Barcelona feels like Cesc is the "one who got away" and want him back for pride more than anything else.
I do not believe Cesc will finish his career at Arsenal. I am resigned to the fact that he will one day go to play for Barcelona. He grew up idolizing the team and any of us would do the same thing if we had the chance of playing for our hometown club. I just am not so sure that it will be now.
Cesc is the Arsenal captain and he has shown how much he loves playing here. This season alone he has shown how, almost ending his World Cup dreams by taking a penalty so hard that his leg broke, and that penalty was against Barcelona. Oh, the irony.
If Cesc does leave this summer, it will provide a big challenge for Arsene and the team. But until the ink is on the paper, I will not worry, and neither should anyone else. Just because Barcelona want him doesn't mean they'll get him.