(WFI) Cesc Fabregas is not worth the €40 million valuation placed on him by Arsenal, according to Barcelona president Sandro Rosell who said the midfielder is “doing all he can” to join the club.
Rosell was speaking on Catalan television station when he said that his club would not “pay over the odds” for a player who started out at the La Liga champions when he was a schoolboy.
“Guardiola knows the values of players and Cesc’s is less than €40 million (£35.4m). Barcelona will offer less and if they [Arsenal] don’t accept, then he won’t come. Pep knows the club is not well-off in terms of money,” he said.
Barca are said to have debts of around €450 million. But the club says it has €45 million to buy new players before the new season.
Barcelona had two bids for Fabregas turned down last summer, and Rosell confirmed that this year they will not even offer the same as last time saying “This year we won’t offer the same as last year because a year has gone by and Cesc today is not worth 40 million.”
“I don’t know if we will sign Cesc or not. What I have no doubt of is that he really wants to come to Barca,”
Fabregas had a fairly average season by his standards as Arsenal went another campaign without landing a major trophy, despite reaching the Carling Cup final where they were favourites to beat Birmingham City but lost the match 2-1.
The Arsenal captain last week insisted he was happy at the North London club, but left room for speculation about his future by saying: “There have been no decisions. The truth is that it doesn’t always depend on the player and at the moment I don’t know anything. I am very happy where I am. Anything else would be speculation that is untrue.”
“You can never say never in this life as so many things happen that you can never predict,” he said before adding that any more questions about his future should be directed to manager Arsene Wenger.
Fabregas has made no secret of his admiration for his boyhood club, and it is seen by many as an inevitability that he will end up in their colours.
Rosell, who took over as president from Joan Laporta in July 2010, is taking a cautious approach to the transfer market this summer amid concerns over the club’s economic sustainability.
“We have to balance the books. In two or three years we hope to be a solvent club,” he told TV3.
“When we came in, we found the debt was much bigger than they had told us. We negotiated a syndicate credit with the bank. We were very worried because we had no money to spend. We have sorted out the situation and what the economic area has achieved means we have €45 million to spend on transfers this summer plus sales.
Rosell also spoke about the historic agreement with the Qatar Foundation, the club’s new shirt sponsor, which will bring the club an additional €150 million
in a five-year deal, saying it was essential to improve the club’s debt situation.
Rosell attacks Real Madrid and Mourinho
Rosell has laid into Real Madrid in recent days, saying the club had gone “beyond all the limits of necessary sporting rivalry, with its totally unfounded accusations against our club”.
During a press conference to take stock of his first year as president, Rosell said: “We shall return to the corresponding courts and sporting authorities if Real Madrid will cross once again the boundaries of sportsmanship.”
Talking about the provocations received this season from the Whites, Rosell defined them “premeditated and pathetic accusations with only one objective: to achieve off the pitch what could not be achieved on it.
“We decided to stay loyal to two convictions: that above all we had to protect the sporting interests of the team and that we had to comply with our social responsibilities as the representatives of almost 180,000 members,” he added.
“We also defended ourselves and Real Madrid did not get their way, as UEFA twice rejected their accusations.”
Commenting on José Mourinho, Rosell said: “The press conference given by the Real Madrid coach after the first leg of the Champions League semi finals at the Bernabéu would certainly have made any sportsperson feel ashamed. He accused our club of having won titles thanks to some kind of national and international conspiracy, implicating in this conspiracy the good name of UNICEF and the football authorities.
“We obviously defended ourselves, by presenting a formal complaint to UEFA, who finally decided to exert their authority and penalise him,” he added.
Rosell said Real Madrid’s behaviour during last season had jeopardised relations between the two clubs.
“The rivalry will continue next season, but we cannot allow the limits of fair play to be passed again. Because football deserves fair competition and FC Barcelona will do all it can to protect it,” he added.
And he sent a direct message to Florentino Perez: “The president of Real Madrid has the opportunity to revive our relations, both on and off the field. Football, which tends to give back what you give it, will be the major beneficiary. By means of this institutional statement, FC Barcelona wishes to put an end to this lamentable episode, which we hope will never be repeated again”.
Rosell’s speech came three days after he marked a full year as Barcelona president. The 47-year-old businessman won the Barcelona presidential elections with 61% of the votes on 13 June 2010 and this year the Catalan team won the Liga and the Champions League, as well as the Spanish Super Cup.
Financially, Rosell’s first year saw growth compared to the past season, with forecasted losses of around €21 million Euros, €62 million less than 2009/10.
“The signing of a syndicate credit at the start of the year, the reduction of ordinary expenses and agreements like that with the Qatar Foundation, the biggest sponsorship deal in world football, have gone a long way to achieving that financial solvency.”
By INSIDER’s Christian Radnedge and Gabriele Perrone
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