Mark Hughes Spins The Barca Tactic On Its Head

The Fulham manager has come out and said that Arsenal’s second offer is same as the first one and we are trying to distract Schwarzer.

I don’t know if Arsenal are trying to disrupt him. There are many things clubs, players and agents do to unsettle players. Mark is aware of the interest of Arsenal. That knowledge is distracting and disruptive.

Hughes (of the same species as Brown and Fat Sam) has brought the issue into the media and is trying to negotiate a better deal that way. I see this as a dirty inverse of the filthy tactics Barca had been using all summer.

In that case Arsenal didn’t want to sell and made an unequivocal statement to that effect. Barca kept manipulating the media to pressurize Arsenal but we didn’t succumb to that nuisance. In that instance Barca wanted to buy and were trying to get a phenomenal player for pittance.

In this case Fulham are willing to sell but want to extract as much value as possible. If they’d said a flat no I’m certain Arsenal would have backed off. They haven’t said that but their manager is trying to have his cake and eat it too,

But the status quo is the same – we wouldn’t encourage an improved bid. It’s not at all inevitable he will leave.

Nice play with words. He doesn’t say ‘we don’t want to sell, end of’ and he doesn’t say we need an improved bid. It seems like a subtle suggestion that he wants an improved bid. The master thug is trying to put the ball in Arsenal’s court and also wants to shift the media focus towards Arsene, who has, in his typical style, refused to be drawn into any speculation.

It is astounding that some people have seen a parallel between what Barcelona did and what Arsenal are doing. Let me just list the differences,

  • Arsenal didn’t try to use the media to talk about Schwarzer
  • No one from Arsenal went to the Australian’s family
  • Arsenal players haven’t taken turns to offer an opinion about the transfer
  • Arsenal haven’t tested his DNA
  • No one has played a shirt prank on Schwarzer

In fact, the only similarity is that both players expressed a wish to move and one club took the issue public. Since Barca wanted to buy and Fulham don’t mind selling it is not difficult to see why Hughes has used the reverse tactics. Conveniently, Hughes left out the exact response he gave to Arsenal. I’m quite sure it wasn’t, “We don’t want to sell”.

The only criticism of Arsenal that comes close to being valid is that we shouldn’t have made the same bid twice. Interestingly, this is based solely on the words of Mark Hughes. There is no mention of the exact wording of what Arsenal said.

The way I see it, it could be that once the new manager was appointed at Fulham (regime change as Wenger called it), Arsenal simply sent them a fax to remind them that the first offer still stands. It’s easy to see why someone would call this a second bid of the same value but it’s also obvious that it’s not a dirty trick by any stretch.

I think 2.5 Mn for a player of Schwarzer’s age and in the final year of his contract is not a bad sum. For Fulham it’s probably 4-5% of their revenues! Many of the key players in that excellent squad that Roy Hodgson developed cost the club less than the amount Arsenal have offered.

I know some Arsenal fans don’t have a perspective on numbers. They think the more you pay the better a player will perform. Some of them are also gullible enough to believe that Fulham will immediately sell the moment Arsenal up that bid to 4 Mn or so. There isn’t much we can do about these fans but most others will be able to see that Arsenal’s conduct in this matter has been impeccable and people like Hughes will always do their best to make our lives difficult.

55 Responses to Mark Hughes Spins The Barca Tactic On Its Head

  1. Roy says:

    After today’s Fulham Manure game Arry’s boy Jamie deflected the talk of a blatant penalty from Vidic onto Arsenal “tapping up” Schwarzer.
    Agenda anyone? Him and Gullit sitting there saying “everyone does it” almost had me put my foot through the tele!

  2. desigunner says:

    Vidic foul was ignored and Duff was penalized for a freak, unintentional handball. The ref looked bent. I was laughing at the commentators when they said Vidic was lucky to get away with it. He gets away with it 4-5 times each season!!

  3. Jerry says:

    Men I am going to highlight you on news now if all your posts are this good! Funny and true. I was thinking the exact same thing!

  4. dats says:

    Roy – turn the sound down and don’t listen to those know nothing anti-Arsenal morons.
    How that clown Hughes can criticise Arsenal’s legitimate approach is beyond me. What about the disgraceful pursuit of Lescott mostly conducted through the media.

  5. Leesy says:

    I am led to believe that Fulham are going to get Shay Given on loan if/when Schwarzer goes to AFC.
    The trouble is Wenger knows this and will not raise the money as he knows that Hughes wants Given and we will get Schwarzer on our terms in the end!!!!!
    They dont call him the professor for nothing lol

  6. Roy says:

    Squillaci is due to have a medical tomorrow, any if you guys know anything about him?
    That twat Savage saying “he’s got a silly name” amused me. Pot kettle black anyone?

  7. schlacker says:

    Schwarzer has handed in a tranfer request so the second Arsenal bid of 2 million is an improvement on the first one.

    Great post by the way.

  8. charybdis1966 says:

    too true Des, Swharzer is being hung out to dry by Hughes putting his petty vendetta against Wenger above the welfare of a player.

    I’ve remembered this kind of Mank favouritism happening for a long long time; my hatred of the manks started at the original battle of Old Trafford in 1990, when McLair started on Winterburn.

    As I referred to the other day Des, I’ve got a report over at 7am ko if you’re interested:’s-tangerines-juiced/

  9. Fantastic piece sir! agree with all you say especially about the conduct of MS re: Lescott – P-K-B – !! and also about ignorant AFC fans who don’t understand Wenger’s principals, motives and sheer genius when it comes to dealing with transfers. It’s clever, articulate posts like this that true Gooners appreciate. Nice one!

  10. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shashi Kiran and rob fuller, EpiKnightz. EpiKnightz said: DesiGunner: Mark Hughes Spins The Barca Tactic On Its Head: The Fulham manager has come out and said that … #Arsenal […]

  11. Dhruv says:

    Why at the end there are you taking a pot shot at The Arsenal supporters? Unnecessary.

    I agree, there is no comparison here between Barcelona and Arsenal. I was thinking the same thing, with a new manager and the fact that Schwarzer has come out and stated his intentions, it not really a slight to table the same bid since circumstances changed since the last bid. The way Barcelona went about their business this past summer was shocking and really should be pulled up by Platini and his band of sisters (fat chance that happening)

    • desigunner says:

      pot shot at the Arsenal supporters? Isn’t that a bit generalized?

      If I didn’t write that don’t you think there would be one or two here who would have gone on to attack Wenger with a pretentious claim that a bigger bid would have immediately done the deal? Of course all of us want at least a couple of signings but surely you’ve seen how people blow it all out of proportion.

      I’m not talking about the general community. I think the majority can see reason but there are a few who just like to be a nuisance.

      • Dhruv says:

        Ignore them if you do not like the way they come across.

        I just think it doesn’t come off well by mixing it in with a very well written article. Also it seems to deviate from your usual style. Your writing seems to be a bit more aggressive off late. I might be wrong here, I read a lot of blogs and have at best a dodge memory. But I get the feeling off late, your posts and especially your reply to comments have gotten a bit more aggressive. I realize it is your blog and your choice and all that, I am just giving my opinion is all.

      • desigunner says:

        Your point is fair and it’s quite possible I’ve been a bit more ‘aggressive’ recently, which isn’t my regular style.

        I guess that’s probably because I broke my own rules and ended up reading some D&G blogs in the recent days. It really gets me sometimes and I’m just another guy so it’s difficult for me to ignore them each time 🙂

  12. charybdis1966 says:

    Dhruv – UEFA won’t do anything, they even joined in the “Cesc has Barca DNA” bollox by posting up one of those stories on their own website. After gooners protested they take that story off their website, but what does that tell you ?

  13. shottagunna says:

    Desi – May not always agree with your conclusions but you usually have well articulated logical point of view that is miles ahead of the sensationalism and mindlessness on most Arsenal blogs (the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal as described by Untold Arsenal).
    You make a good point about the shocking performance of referee Peter Walton. Even more scandalous are reports of the media “plundits” simply sweeping it under the carpet. Walton awards a penalty for an innocuous ball to hand yet yesterday Mike Dean, in the game between Bolton and West Ham, simply waved away appeals for more blatant handballs in the penalty area. It is only the second week but the inconsistency and subjective decision-making by England’s finest makes me very afraid. Arsenal has a history being at the wrong-end of these decisions in big-games and I simply see the Messers Dean, Walton and Atkinson as simply warming up for the main act.

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks. I don’t mind disagreements at all and always appreciate a thoughtful comment even if its completely opposite to my view.

      Ref’s are one of the problems we will always have to deal with. People ignore this issue by generalizing that it all evens out but I seriously doubt that.

  14. DHRUV: I slated some AFC fans at the end their cos they need slating. There is a minority of AFC fans who don’t have a clue in regards to the ways of Wenger. The man is a Genius, he works like a genius and you don’t have to be a genius to understand why he does what he does or says what he says…unfortunately, ignorant stupid people don’t get it and it’s those I am referring to – like a said, a minority but still need slating. Nuff said.

    • desigunner says:

      Minority is the key word here.

      Most fans want new signings like a keeper and a CB. That’s not a problem. Even Wenger wants that! But some fans are just a pain,they can even find reasons to moan in a 6-0 win.

    • Dhruv says:


      I was not referring to you. I was talking to Desi about his article. Read my comment.

      I just do not see reason in going after one another. We all want the same thing. If you were sitting next to an ignorant stupid fan as you put, would you not celebrate with him after a goal?

      Save the hate for Gallas and new his team.

  15. ardian says:

    One of the best articles in the Arsenal related web pages (y)

  16. Menace says:

    It is the Referees that will decide the Premier League. We have to win in spit of them. Walton has obviously had a new tatoo on his todger – ‘SAF’. He was so blind to the penalties against the Mancs yet was 20 20 when it came to ball to hand ‘handball’ that he gave the penalty for. He booked Duff for trying to get consistency.
    The new young referee was much better in that he gave a penalty for shirt pulling. It should be the case in every match and will get the game cleaner quickly. Officiating in the World Cup was diabolical and I hope it doesn’t filter into the English officials.

  17. Kipmonster says:

    I would love Arsenal to sign another Keeper & abandon the Schwarzer deal leaving Hughes with a resentful player. I would have abandoned pursuit anyway as soon as Hughes became manager. If Schwarzer has back trouble I don’t think it a good idea to sign him anyway as back problems will regularly re-occur & no doubt when we have an important match so one of the 2 clowns will bw back in goal.

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah I hope we don’t take an injured keeper that will defeat the purpose. Another big test for our medical staff if the reports are true.

    • Matt says:

      thats if ‘back trouble’ wasn’t just said to try to stop us getting him. I think he’s trying to get as much as he can for schwarzer so that he can try to buy given outright after his loan finishes

  18. 7masters says:

    Our Manager is to classy to resort to Barcelona Method. Also of all People his sense of Fair play is up the best of them. Remember FA Cup Replay for Sheffield UTD. Also I am sure if he was France Manager he would called for replay against Ireland. Wenger is to media savvy to be sucked by Hughes empty words.

    My hope is for Wenger to forget about Fulham and Pay good Money for Ajax Keeper. Plus Aluminia has future with Arsenal if competitions hot up keep the younger Keeper and send Fabianski and Vita for Loan.

    We have new Centre back and we are just waiting for A Goalie. What Wenger should do is to keep away from Politic and Coach the team, Look at Saturday game what an enjopyable romp it was. For Theo goals are like waiting for bus, after waiting long time they come in threes.

  19. shottagunna says:

    Desi – You’ve not only highlighted Walton simply ignoring a blatant and prolonged shirt pull by Vidic in the penalty box but in yesterday’s blog you rightfully expressed alarm at how Stoke committed deliberate and blatant obstruction of Gomes the Spurs goalkeeper, without a call by the ref. In case they earning a goal after two players literally shoved the goalkeeper to prevent him getting the ball. The rules of the game clearly outlaw this practice. Knowing Sam Allardyce’s anti-football tactic, we can expect much of the same at Blackburn next Saturday.

  20. Benj says:

    “Arsenal didn’t try to use the media to talk about Schwarzer
    No one from Arsenal went to the Australian’s family
    Arsenal players haven’t taken turns to offer an opinion about the transfer
    Arsenal haven’t tested his DNA
    No one has played a shirt prank on Schwarzer”

    a) It’s been all over the media, what rock have you been living under mate?

    b) The Australians family are all here in Australia and Wenger wouldn’t let his players spend the money on a plane ticket, it would not be ‘economical’.

    c) Because its totally a crime to talk about how good a player is, how much you would enjoy being in the same team as him, Oh wait, that’s right, admiring a player (certainly one of the best midfielders around) that has been linked to your club is…. *Gets out record that is looking decidedly worn out from over use* “classless”.

    d) The DNA thing is getting old and lets be serious, he does have barcelona in his blood. Just like Schwarzer has Aussie DNA. Dicks.

    e) Prank, thats all it is, a drunken prank. And that was just unlucky to be caught on video. Im sure other players have played similar pranks before, just none of them have been video taped.

    Another Gooner having a whinge. Keep farming lads!

    • santori says:

      Obviously we haven’t been living under your rock mate.

      1) Media coverage is out of our control. BUT neither Arsenal nor any of our players went bleating to the press about DNA or such. Our conduct was stritcly protocol with Fulham.

      2)It’s OK to admire one of the best midfielders in the world as nurtured by Arsenal FC (Remember, we gave him the full exposure to top level football he would have otherwise probably have been denied so early on in his career)but it’s another thing to harp on ad tedium that he should be at Barca for whatever suppose roots he has (not counting the fact he has spent more years playing top level at Arsenal than at Barca’s little academy)thus putting undue pressure on the player

      3) DNA. He also has Arsenal in his blood now which is the reason why it was difficult for him to make that move/put in the transfer request.;)

      4) Prank. The difference between Barca and Arsenal is that we are able to keep our players under control and act professionally (Yes even the outspoken Arsharvin)

      Another p.lonker having a whinge. Keep under the rock of yours.;)

      • Benj says:

        1) Media coverage is out of Barca’s control too. Oh wait no of course they are the evil catalans that use the media to do their wicked will and harass poor defenceless Arsenal. Act like the calibur of team that you SHOULD be. Your not a Blue Square side being harassed by Barca, you are Premier League!
        2) Barcas little academy? Try the most successful academy in the world at the moment. The academy that produced Xavi, Puyol, helped with Messi, Pique, SergiB, Valdes etc. Little Academy my arse. Also, he can handle the pressure, he’s not a kid anymore. Stop babying him.
        3) No. He Doesnt. He is Catala, he plays our football at your club, you can see that in his style of play. He doesnt have arsenal in his blood because he isnt the least but French or African.
        4) Yes Prank, get over it.

        And no to Santori, it isnt the only reason I support the club, I supported all the way through our dream team days, barca oranje all the way to the invincibles of today. But I’d like to see one of Spains greatest playmakers play in the team of his dreams, of his homeland, for his idol (Pep) with his mates and win something. He’s been too long without silverware and if you lot dont get rid of that french voyeur, youve got no chance.

        PS: You can have hleb back 😀

      • desigunner says:

        Media coverage is out of Barca’s control too – Classic.

        That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard so far this season and will probably be amongst the season’s best.

        This article clearly shows how Hughes is trying to play the media. Barca are past masters at that. Of all the silly attempts to defend Barca, yours takes the cake. Thanks for giving us a great laugh.

    • Shevo says:

      Fucking spud sucking muppet. Piss off cos you don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

      • Benj says:

        Why spud sucking?
        How classless…
        And yes I do kinda have a clue what I’m on about.
        How can you possibly make a statement like that with no backing?
        Nice one mate.
        PS: I have no qualm with your club, I witnessed your 6-1 belting of Everton at Goodison last year in the flesh with much delight, I love every game we have against you because you are one of the last teams in the PL worth watching, but you guys have got to stop whinging, it really does have a negative effect on what everyone thinks of your club.
        Barca may not have done everything by the book, but you seem to be looking for reasons to have a go. Slagging them off for saying how much they admire Fabregas in the paper and saying he has Barca DNA. So what? If he wants to come, he will, if not, he wont, but he has to come out and say something. He’s being a brat and just watching this all unfold.
        But, you do/say/think what you want I suppose.

      • desigunner says:

        Classless? Barca fan talking about class! LOL

        Man, I wish you’d share your wisdom with us more often.

  21. Benj says:

    PS: Win some trophies will ya, its getting pathetic.

    • santori says:

      PS : If that’s all you have to measure supporting a club by, that is truly pathetic.;)

      • Shooter says:

        Santori, don’t get nervous, Benj is probably trolling or he’s just some Barca fan who’s upset that they don’t have the cash for El Capitan. He’s got that arrogant attitude so specific for Barca players and fans.
        To be honest, Barca is a very good club with a very good academy but they have to accept the fact they lost El Capitan when he was 16, and Arsenal won’t let him go for peanuts.
        Desi was just saying that Asenal and AW respect the rules and Barca don’t. Period.
        Obviously, Benj believes that a great club must be arrogant and disrespectful with other clubs. Period.
        I think that if a great club wants to be arrogant and disrespectful with other clubs “the great club” should have enough money to pay for the players they want. Otherwise, they look like a bunch of clowns. Period.

  22. Indian Gunner says:

    One problem with all this is we might lose few points because of this delay in the transfer…we are going to play blackburn this weekend and all of us know how our Almunia will deal with the set piece deliveries ….Instead of getting schwarzer on the final day ,if we spend 3.5 instead of 2.5 million,we might be able to get him before the match and get two more points….2 points in the league is worth more than a million pounds…

    • santori says:

      Why the rush?

      If the current team cannot deal with the likes of Blackburn (There was similar concern before our Blackpool game), we have no business competing for the title this season.

      Whilst we are in need of a CB and a keeper, we want the best piece of business possible given other available options which might (or might not) be opening up (eg. City or Ajax for keeper)

      Meanwhile, we should more than have the personnel to deal with the next couple of weekends.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not convinced it’s as simple as that. Surely, you don’t think Wenger is stupid and wants to save a million bucks.

      I think if we’d offered them 3.5 with a few weeks to go they would have asked for more. There is no evidence to believe that Fulham won’t get greedy. It’s in their best interest and time is on their side.

      There could also be a medical reason. We might get Schwarzer but he might not be able to play at Ewood park! These things are always possible. We cannot just assume one signing and all problems solved. As Santori said, present squad has to be good enough to win at Blackburn.

  23. santori says:

    Honestly, we don’t even know if the same bid was tabled twice. That was what Sparky said.

    As far as I’m concern, the more logical chronology of events would be :

    1) Arsenal express interest and correctly approach the club (not the player) with a 2+m bid.

    2) Offer rejected. Schwarzer (sensing other possibilities for Arsenal in City and Ajax) puts in a transfer request. note Fab never once put in a request.

    3)Fulham ask for 2+M and Vela thrown in. Note again, Fulham are willing to sell where as Arsenal had said no to Barca who despite the negative response, continued to attempt to destabilise the player through a persistent and non traditional approach with their open media campaign.

    4) Arsenal more probably said that they were standing firm with their first bid which Sparky took as a repeat offer. He then goes on to whinge about it to the media in his own context.

  24. OnDGooner says:

    Mark Hughes is a hypocritical thug end of, who must be reminded in no little measure of how he tried to not only destabilise Joleon Lescott but the whole Everton team and the John Terry affair!
    He hates Wenger with a vengeance and this is coming through in his reaction. We must now leave him with a dissatisfied player and move on to look at better options!

  25. bc says:

    What Hughes has forgot to mention is that the first offer was in May the 2nd offer was in August, with Schwarzer being 3 months nearer 3 to retirement and on the back of a poor World Cup. Schwarzer is the sort of player we should be nabbing for Zilch, i am disappointed as he is no better than Almunia, sure he might have a bit more confidence, but once he plays in our shoddy defence that confidence will be shot. I am not blaming the quality of the defenders but our whole attitude to defending from Chamakh to Arshavin right through the middle and the full backs. We are quite simply a one dimensional team Attack is our best weapon in defending, no one can turn a goalscoring chance into a keepers nightmare, quite like we do, its one of the reasons we are the best team to watch – for the neutrals.

    • desigunner says:

      Well, we’ve discussed the collective defending problem quite regularly here and I don’t expect Schwarzer to have a magical effect on our defence. I’d be happy with a marginal difference that confidence brings. I think it’ll be about momentum. If the new keeper has a few good games it can build a positive momentum, and if he makes a couple of early mistakes it will be a painful season with the misery brigade in full flow.

  26. bc says:

    excuse the typo – 3 months nearer to (3????)

  27. realistic tony says:

    good comments that seem to have the complete understanding of the shwartzer situation. Hughes is using brinkmanship….announcing his “tough” negotiating attitude to his chairman. Its just a case of not losing face throughout what would seem to be an inevitable deal.
    Pundits are only good for instant analysis…any topic that requires some research and analysis goes beyond their will or abilities. Jamie redknapp isnt the sharpest tool in the box is he???

    • desigunner says:

      Jamie Redknapp is only good for laughs. It’s a shame someone like him actually gets the opportunity to speak in public.

  28. Manav says:

    Arsenal FC have always been ethical in its conduct in the transfer market in England, Europe & elsewhere. This is something I’m proud of.
    Mark Hughes’ tactics don’t stand a chance against the genius of Le Boss. The Arsenal gaffer can easily see through such cheap ploys & won’t pay a penny more than Fulham deserve for the Aussie.

  29. Mide Tha DreamWright says:

    Nice post Desi.I especially loved the ”DNA test” part.Can stop smiling yet.
    Anyway,I have a question that’s slightly related to this issue.
    Why is Arsenal not trying to loan or even buy Shay Given?
    ‘Cos,I think a)He’s unsettled at Man. City
    b)He’s better than Schwarzer.

    • desigunner says:

      Let’s assume for a minute that we did try or are trying.

      1) Will City sell or loan to a title rival?
      2) Is the loan a good idea? If Hart is injured Given might go back and we would be left high and dry.

      Now there is the other part of his being better than Schwarzer. I frankly don’t agree with that. In fact I don’t think Given is at all good with Aerial balls. He’s played at smaller teams where he has been a great shot stopper but I don’t remember him attacking set pieces like our keepers are expected.

      This is just my opinion but I expect Arsenal would have studied the strengths and weaknesses of other keepers before deciding the target. Stewart Robson recently said the same thing that Given isn’t the kind of keeper who would help us.

      Bottom-line – We are in a tricky situation and there is no guaranteed solution. I prefer to think that the club are serious about the problem and have given it sufficient thought. In that sense I’m a devout AKB.

  30. gatior says:

    The genius has won nothing in the past 5 years and u still dont a gd keeper….

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