Enough is enough - time to stand up to Barca, Arsenal!

By Avenell Dave

It's become a regular, tedious, predictable state of affairs that each season an Arsenal player will be linked with signing for one of the large Spanish or Italian sides.

For years it was Nicolas Anelka and Marc Overmars, then Patrick Vieira and Theirry Henry and most recently, Cesc Fabregas.

You only have to look at how the Gunners performed without him to see that he is a vital component of the team - the player who almost effortlessly makes space and creates openings in a way which is worth its weight in goals.

But it has become more than a minor irritation this morning to read yet more proclamations from Barcelona that they are planning on finalising a deal for the Arsenal captain.

I used to admire the Catalan team - they seemed to lack the arrogance of Real Madrid and the style of their football is undoubtedly inspiring.

But being a big team with a huge stadium, a bucket full of trophies in recent years and representing an area of Spain that is always yearning for independence or its own identity doesn't give it the right to break the rules.

Of course big players are going to be attracted to clubs who have enjoyed success more recently than their current employers.

Of course someone like Cesc will have his heart in Barcelona, having grown up in the region and trained with the likes of Pique and Messi.

But there is a reason why he was allowed to leave the club as a 15 year old and a reason why he himself decided to come to England and develop into the great player he is today.

There is little loyalty in football - we've seen both Patrick Vieira and Theirry Henry at Emirates this season in opposition shirts  - something the romantic in me never wanted to see.

So it's up to Arsenal to take a stand.

Of course, is Cesc really wants to go, there is no point keeping an unhappy player, as long as the transfer fee is invested wisely in some real quality that can help us maintain our creativity.

The theory that players who leave ARsenal never have it so good doesn't hold much sway, sadly.

For every Flamini, Hleb, Petit or Reyes there is a Vieira, an Henry, Anelka or even Wiltord who has gone on to win new trophies at their new clubs.

But although the club's financial situation is not yet so strong as to be able to rebuff incredible offers or indeed spend £40m on a player ourselves, isn't it about time Arsenal showed some steel?

If everytime a big club from abroad, be it Barca, Real, Milan, Inter or Juve decide to announce on radio that they are actively pursuing one of our players, a formal complaint should be issued immediately to UEFA.

No one wants to see the likes of Barca demoted from the Champions League for tapping up players from other clubs but there has to be some sort of deterrent to ensure that the rules are respected.

Cesc has a few years left on his current deal, so we should get decent money for him, and the arguement in favour of staying in North London is hardly compelling.

But the Arsenal board and Arsene Wenger have got to show some bnackbone, some guts and fight fire with fire if that's what it takes to get these clubs to start respecting us.

For too long we've let other teams ride roughshod over us and treat us like the gimp in the corner.

We are Arsenal. Time to start acting like the club we claim to be.