By Avenell Dave
Arséne Wenger has stated this week that he has no intention of letting any of his squad leave in the summer.
His rationale is sound, since the departures of Mathieu Flamini, Alex Hleb and Gilberto Silva left the club in a mess last summer – but Wenger’s failure to adequately replace those players was just as much of a problem.
I understand that Le Boss was close on a number of occasions to signing the replacements that he needed but for whatever reason, things didn’t work out.
He was hardly going to lament his transfer problems in public, especially when the young players charged with replacing Hleb and co. needed boosting rather than questioning.
I still think we’ll see one major departure this summer and the rumours coming out of Manu Adebayor’s camp suggest that he is touting himself (YAWN) around once again.
Good riddance I say and I’m confident we can get a forward of greater professionalism, with a decent goalscoring rate and an understanding of the offside rule.
But Martin Samuel, who is one of the most accomplished and well connected sports writers on Fleet Street, made an interesting point today, which got me thinking.
All players have their price, and the rumours he is hearing are that Cesc Fabregas may not be an Arsenal player next season.
Now I say immediately for those of you who question my point of view – AT NO POINT would I ever accept or condone the sale of our captain. Cesc must stay!!
But...I think it’s fair to say that Cesc’s statements about Pep Guardiola, the Barca coach, and his well-publicised love for the reigning European Champions makes his return to Spain at some point inevitable.
Amongst other things, Samuel cites the fact that the difference between Arsenal with or without Cesc last season was negligible, but I don’t think that tells the whole story given his fitness issues after returning late, getting a hamstring problem and then sustaining injury after a tackle from Xavi Alonso.
Cesc is world class and has the ability to be the best player in the world.
Of course, his place at Barca would be blocked by Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, but perhaps after the signings at Real Madrid, Barca feel they need to make a ‘statement’ buy to appease fans who fear they will struggle to maintain their supremacy next season.
You could argue that in Andrey Arshavin, Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky and even Abou Diaby, we have talented forward-thinking midfielders who would fill Cesc’s gap. There are doubts or question marks over all of them in terms of suitability for that position; fitness or ability, though.
But if Barca come out and announce that they have offered £50m for Cesc, which should be his going rate at the present transfer market rate given Real’s recent spending, could the club turn it down?
There is an argument that we could sign a new striker, a new midfielder and even a new goalkeeper with the cash, even though it would mean rebuilding again, which would hardly be ideal.
I certainly don’t want to see Cesc leave – ever.
But until September 1 2009, I’ll be intrigued to see if public or private overtures really can be resisted.