So what now, Arsene?

By Avenell Dave

Well if the journalists with inside knowledge and the rumours and the air of resignation is anything to go by, Cesc Fabregas is off.

If ever you needed a barometer of the certainty that Cesc is leaving Arsenal, it was the outright denials by chairman Peter Hill-Wood this morning.

When PHW speaks, you know he may have the best interests of the club at heart but certainly seems out of touch with what is actually going on.

It's gutting to think that Barca are doing what every great club does - and what Arsenal failed to do - and building when they are more or less at their peak.

It's all very well saying year after year that the squad is getting stronger and more experienced, but even if they are winning trophies, you still need that element of competition and fresh faces to keep the momemtum going and everyone on their toes.

Arsene Wenger built a great team at Arsenal - the Invincibles were truly magnificent - but when he left half of them leave in one go, it was always going to be difficult.

Even RedNose F*rgie only let three senior players go when he decided to blood the youngsters that went on to form the backbone of the team for a decade.

If Cesc really wants to leave and Barca really want him, we have no choice but to let him go and ensure that we fight to get the best possible price for him.

If Joleon Lescott is worth £27 million, is Cesc worth just £8m more? I don't think so.

Anything short of £40m will be a travesty and the squad which needed some minor adjustments will now need some major surgery.

There are other brilliant playmakers out there and hopefully Wenger will sign one plus another winger to replace Tomas Rosicky, a centre back and a goalkeeper.

If Wenger thinks Abou Diaby and Denilson can be the future, he needs to get some new glasses.

It's far from ideal to expect the team to gel as quickly as we might hope, but if we're not going to fall away as Liverpool have done, and if others are not going to question the sense in staying at a club where they may also be top dog (RvP) but will end up without the trophies they crave, Wenger must buy.

Is Project Youth dead?

No, I don't think so. We have Jack Wilshere coming back and hopefully he and Aaron Ramsey will play a larger role next season (injury permitting) - and if Henri Lansbury plays like he did against Fulham every week, he'll be some player.

We have a stunning striker in Benik Afobe coming through, as well as Wellington from Brazil who looks a great buy when he finally arrives - and the Youth Team has yet again enjoyed the success that hints at a positive future.

But for the sake of the kids coming through, those who are not going to make it and those who Wenger simply doesn't rate must be moved on - the likes of Barazite, Simpson, Gilbert and maybe even Nordveidt.

And without a handful of 22-26 years olds who will hit the ground running, some of those Club Level 60-minuters who provide such a huge percentage of Arsenal's funds will think twice about their season ticket renewals.

And if a few of the die-hards decide to give it a miss as well due to the recession, we could struggle to fill the stadium next season.

So come on Arsene, deal with Cesc categorically and quickly and if he is to be sold, let us have some hope that next season won't be another one of frustration.