Wenger 'betrays' Cesc & Barça as Marca tip Casillas to lose captaincy

"Boy for sale! Boy for sale!"

Despite five weeks of headlines promising a world of transfer activity, there has so far been the total sum of diddly-squat going on in regards to players coming into the Camp Nou - well, aside from the potential reappearance of Alexander Hleb, who will be lucky to get past the security guards - and no news of anyone moving out.

In fact, the only firmed-up story featuring a Barcelona player and money changing hands involved Jonathan dos Santos, but for very different reasons.

This lack of activity has seen a long-anticipated explosion of impotent fury among the Barcelona press, who have launched an attack on Arsene Wenger that, even by their standards, was fairly insane. The Frenchman's crime? Failing to have agreed the sale of his club captain to Barça at a price that is convenient to the Catalan club.

Mundo Deportivo rants that “Wenger is laughing at Cesc” - forgetting that the Arsenal boss last broke into a smile in 2007 - and complains that “once again, at least for now, he is not fulfilling his promise to let him leave for Barcelona.” Sport go several steps further, with Tuesday’s front cover blasting that “Wenger betrays Cesc” by forcing him join up with the squad for pre-season training this week.

The reason for 'this betrayal' isn't simply the Arsenal manager looking after the best interests of the club he is paid handsomely to manage, rather pure bitterness and bile, according to cranky columnist Josep María Casanovas, who could probably do with a nice sangria and rub down.

“Wenger hates the club that has knocked him out of the Champions League in the last few years. He’s tired of Messi and co humiliating him,” fumes the Sport man, who spits that the Arsenal boss is “the enemy of Barcelona” in an editorial dramatically headlined “Wenger is a traitor and Cesc is the victim.”

Lunacy is not just restricted to Cataluyna, as Marca went a little wobbly on Monday, publishing a story which suggested Iker Casillas was going to have the captain’s armband taken away from him by José Mourinho on the pitch and then returned at the end of the game.

Without any foundation or proof, the paper mused that The Special One wanted a John Terry figure out on the field - hopefully not in the bedroom - to give the Bernabeu side more influence when it comes to badgering referees. The paper even ran a poll on the matter, with Xabi Alonso chosen as the man to act as 'on pitch' skipper, and get icy glares from his goalkeeper for good measure.

The paper’s editorial sets out the case for the change, which largely centres around Mourinho being a genius and in total control of everything, blah blah blah. “The move appears to be justified. The biggest proof is that out of the 20 Primera teams, only Sevilla and Madrid have their keeper as captain. The Whites cannot afford the luxury of giving any advantage to their rival.”

Across the city, the Atlético Madrid players were back in training on Monday, aside from those away at the Copa America and Diego Costa, who according to AS has gone AWOL. As you'd expect, there is a whole lot of trouble brewing for the Vicente Calderón, with doubts over who will take over as first choice keeper and whether Diego Forlán and Kun Agüero will be staying. There’s also the matter of the legal tug of love over Spain U-21 forward, Adrián, with Deportivo and Atlético both arguing that the footballer is their property.

Then there’s the unfortunate situation of the five non-EU players in the first team squad when only three are allowed. One of those is Diego Godín who is a first-choice centre-back and two others are the Brazilian pair of Elías and Miranda who have only recently joined Atlético. This doesn’t look too good for Diego Costa - especially as the forward missed the first day of training - and the returning Salvio, although the Argentinean winger claims that he “wants to triumph” at the club.

With sulking club president, Enrique Cerezo, banned from talking about football (but failing to do so) and Miguel Angel Gil in charge of the running of the club, the early signs are that Atlético are going to be even more fun than normal in the season to come.