Barcelona have sensationally accused Premier League duo, Arsenal and Manchester City, of unsettling players at the Catalan club.

The Camp Nou president made the outrageous claim when answering a question about Etihad Stadium manager Roberto Mancini’s reported interest in Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas, then he decided to mention to Gunners: “Manchester City want to remove our players and want to destabilise us,” he is quoted as saying in Mundo Deportivo. “It also happens with Arsenal, who talk to youth players and offer them a lot of money.”

Rosell’s comments may sting Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger particularly, as the Catalan club have regularly poached the best talent out of Emirates Stadium and Highbury since the Frenchman took over at the Gunners. Manchester City’s only business with Barcelona to date was the £24m for Yaya Toure, though the Ivorian was not a regular starter at the time.

Most recently though, was Barça’s pursuit of then Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas over the 2009-10 and 2010-11 season before the transfer was completed, where there were numerous public comments coming out of Barcelona suggesting Fabregas belonged there – the now infamous “Barcelona DNA” comments particularly rile Gunners fans. Alex Song made the same journey this summer, and the comments coming out of Camp Nou, while not quite so open as with Fabregas, were familiar in their tone.

However, there can be no denial that Arsenal are no strangers to taking youth players from the famed La Masia academy, with Fabregas being the most successful outcome and recent acquisitions Jon Toral Harper and Hector Bellerin both tipped for bright futures.

Last summer’s pursuit of £40m men Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas is not exactly new. Barcelona DNA notwithstanding, both players are examples of raw talent nurtured into world-beaters elsewhere, before being bought with no expense spared.

Without the moral worthiness that’s come with their success – the eulogies to youth teams and the finger pointing towards Madrid and anyone else buying success – there wouldn’t be much of a fuss to be made about either move. Manchester United paid £20m for a 20-year-old goalkeeper last summer and few eyebrows were raised.

But with the moral brand they’ve scrawled all over themselves – too good to buy in talent – even winking at Sanchez, Fabregas and more recently, Alex Song, makes Barcelona rampant hypocrites. And the hypocrisy is all the more blatant this time. Because at 22 and 24, last summer’s targets are marked as ones for the future. They’re being bought primarily as cover for Villa and Xavi, and then as medium-to-long-term replacements for them.

That’s a smear on La Liga’s pin-ups in two ways. First, their sporting domination, alongside a commitment to astonishing salary packets, means they can now afford to buy world-class players without even the intention to play them – which manages extravagance greater than even the Galactico collecting at Real Madrid, where the stars are at least bought to play.

Then, deeper than that, the pursuit of Fabregas and Sanchez reveals an uncertainty around the club’s structure, on which so much emphasis is placed. Back in March 2011, before his team’s Champions League appointment with Arsenal, Guardiola noted that Barcelona had many reserve team players like Jack Wilshere. Fair enough, Thiago Alacantra proved the point with his displays for Spain’s Under-21s this summer. And yet Wilshere is playing regularly for Arsenal, while Thiago, 20, is set to have 24-year-old Fabregas placed in between him and 30-year-old Xavi’s place in the team.

For all the trust placed in reserve team graduates and the noise made about it, last summer’s targets reveal convenience, not ideology, as the explanation. Like every other club, Barcelona trust their reserves when they’re outstanding talents like Pedro and Sergi Busquets, otherwise they buy in replacements of better quality. The morality brand is a money-spinning lie – and Fabregas, Song and Sanchez grinning and bearing it on their bench will expose it.

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  • Comfi
    1 year ago

    To say that Barcelona poached Cesc is an insult because as far as I know it was Arsenal who poached Cesc from Barca’s youth system. When Barca brought him back they were simply bringing their prodigal son back home.

    Reply
    • trugun
      1 year ago

      Do your homework Barca did not want Cesc when Arsenal took him, Barca believed he was not good enough and happily let him go. Cesc has “Arsenal DNA” thats where he learnt his trade if you listen to him now he talks about Arsenal and what a great club it is all the time.

      Reply
      • Barca_4ever
        1 year ago

        Barca did not let go off Cesc. Barca were helpless in Arsenal’s pursuit of Cesc and since Barca could offer a professional contract to a 16 yr old, which arsenal could, arsenal were able to prize Cesc away. So, you can shove your arsenal DNA up your ass and talk all bull shit but it doesn’t hide the fact that arsenal take advantage of the legal system of Spain, which is to offer professional contracts to players who are less than 18 yrs old.

        Reply
  • 49Unbeaten
    1 year ago

    It’s true. Barca management blatantly tap up and unsettle every player they go after. When that doesn’t show signs of working quickly enough they get their players to openly tap them up in interviews and away on international duty and to anyone with a micrphone and camera. They have no shame. Ok Arsenal have BOUGHT some of their youth players but they didn’teven want Cesc and didn’t even try and persuade him stay (because they didn’t want him and wasn’t going to play him in the first team) when Arsenal saw his potential and offered him a way out. Barca – they play great football but are a scummy club with no class at all.

    Reply
  • Odu
    1 year ago

    Barca has no moral right to complain. The club and their players have records of direct poaching of players under contract. The manner they went about Cesc, then Song. They also poached Overmars, Henry and many others. The club president has no moral values at all.

    Reply
    • Barca_4ever
      1 year ago

      Barca paid the true value of the players they bought. arsenal cant say the same thing about the many players they poached from Barcelona.

      Reply
  • Odu
    1 year ago

    I forgot to mention, when their thugs put the barcelona jersey on Frabegas when he was still an arsenal, what did the president say? Nothing, rather he encouraged his thugs to call for his joining Barcelona. Why is he complaining now?

    Reply
  • Leo
    1 year ago

    Hahaha! Cry me a river all you Barca haters!

    Reply
  • Johny
    1 year ago

    Double standards is accusing Barcelona while doing the same. Players want to go to bigger clubs, they don’t need to be poached for that, it’s just the way it is. Ajax players wants to join Arsenal, Arsenal player wants to join Barcelona or United. Not Barcelona’s or City’s fault that Arsenal has become a second-level club where the best players want to leave.

    Reply
  • Johny
    1 year ago

    And they never said they are “only” about youth players. That’s just the policy: youth players combined with top players who add something their academy can’t produce. And saying that Busquets or Pedro were top talents in the B-team is ridiculous, no one put a penny on these two making it to the first team. Facts obviously doesn’t matter for the hater who wrote this.

    Reply
  • Jai
    1 year ago

    Curious, I have done my homework:please show me where Fcb did not want Cesc?! Please show me where they happily let him go?! You see I am an Arsenal fan and love my club, loved Cesc and followed the whole thing from the start.

    See FCB wanted him to stay and wanted to start talks w his dad. Arsenal showed up when he was 14 but got shot down. Fcb never gave permission to speak to him and wanted him to stay but he needed to work and fight for the pt he wanted. No player demands pt at FCB, its earned!

    When pt was not guarenteed and arsenal came in with bags of cash and guarentees FCB lost him. FCB directors were distraught when they learned that he was leaving for arsenal! They took Arsenal to court for tapping up and compensation. Because he was not under contract the poach was allowed by CAS.

    Arsenal then went after others at La Masia in the same way and got away w it at times ie as the agent involved knew how to work the system (Merida breaking contract, disappearing and the resurfacing at Arsenal?)!

    Arsenal have continued to approach youth players at la Masia without permission!

    I guess though that that’s all fine cause its against FCB and being done by Arsenal. If it was the other way around we’d all be f”^*#%*!’ Livid!

    Reply
  • Comfi
    1 year ago

    What ever you Barca haters think. Those players are grown up man who can make their own decisions about which club they want to play for. Cesc moved to Barca and already he has won more trophies in a single season than he has done all these years at Arsenal. If players can’t resist Barca’s approach then it only means Barca is a great club and playing in the same team as Lionel Messi is a dream for every player out there. You heard what Song said. He said he couldnt resist Barca even if it means
    spending most of his time warming the bench there. The truth is his trophy cabinet will soon be full. Once the point of being a footballer and not have any trophies, that’s why Arsenal are always losing players to other clubs. THe club has no ambitions at all apart from poaching young potential footballers from Barca and then selling them back to Barca at a profit. Its called business and thats all WEnger is about to balance the cheque book. Whilst
    that is good but that alone is not good enough for football. You have to win trophies.

    Reply
  • ash
    1 year ago

    How old was Messi when Barca poached him from Argentina? Enough said, Barca are a great side but the whiter than white image dont wash! So cry me a river Barca when we continue to take your youth team you mugs.

    Reply
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