Sunday, June 5, 2011

Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners' Options Regarding Futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri

Arsene Wenger is reportedly all set to cancel his holidays according to the Mirror, because of the potential departures of three of their more important players. Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Andrei Arshavin are the players mentioned in the report though Arshavin’s recent comments suggest that Wenger would like to retain him at Arsenal.

With the fans immensely frustrated by the six year trophy drought, the last thing that Arsene Wenger wants is to lose two of his best players in the squad. Though Arsenal have yet to announce any signing, the general consensus is that Arsene Wenger must bring in some established quality players in order to end this frustrating drought.

However, Wenger will not like to see his best players depart the club as it would be hard to find replacements for them and also, they might require time to adjust to the new club which might trigger another season of rebuilding the team. Though the Gunners endured a spectacular collapse towards the end of the season, they were the main competitors for Manchester United for most of the season and had good wins against quality teams like Barcelona and Chelsea.

Wenger is looking to bolster his squad by bringing in some new players who can add quality to the squad and also, retaining the services of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas is important for the Gunners next season. The Arsenal captain has been continually linked with a move to Barcelona while Nasri has only one year on his contract and should he not sign a new deal, he will be on his way out of the Emirates.

Samir Nasri has been linked with a number of clubs in Europe and he has done nothing to quash these rumors. On the contrary, according to a report on ESPNSoccernet, he refused to rule out a move to Manchester United, who are looking to add more quality to the team that won the EPL this season. Though there is not much news on the Fabregas front, the Arsenal captain could be a likely target for the Spanish Champions.

Cesc Fabregas Situation

Cesc Fabregas has admitted in the past that he would like to return to his former club at some point in his career and his potential transfer has been the subject of speculation for the past few seasons. He was convinced by Arsene Wenger to stay for the 2010-11 season and though the Arsenal manager has confirmed that there is no interest for the club captain, there is every possibility that Barcelona could bid for the Spanish midfielder.

Though Fabregas is likely to be benched, if all midfielders are fit for the Blaugrana, the possibility of winning trophies for Barcelona, where he was a youth player, appeals to him for sure. Wenger will be in a conundrum if he conveys to him that he wants to quit the club because it will be hard to replace him but also, if he resists the approach from the Catalans, it could lead to Fabregas being upset with the club and being the leader and captain of this young team, Wenger will not want any negative vibes before the season.

Whether Fabregas stays or not depends on his decision, Arsene Wenger’s persuasion skills and the offer that Barcelona make for the midfielder. Though Wenger will not price Fabregas out of the move on purpose, he will ensure that Fabregas is sold for the market value of the Arsenal captain and with the inflated transfer markets in the last few seasons, he could be Arsenal’s most expensive sale and could fetch around £45 million.

However, Wenger would rather like the Spaniard to stay at the club than obtain the money from his sale because he is integral to the success of the team and is arguably their best player and certainly their most consistent player over the last few years. But if he pushes for a move, then Arsenal could be interested in a swap deal involving one of Ibrahim Afellay or Thiago Alcantara plus cash of around £35 million.

Arsenal have Aaron Ramsey who is back to full fitness and he is expected to play a big role in the future for the Gunners considering he is one of the most promising midfielders in the world. Hence, the Gunners will not prefer signing Thiago, though he is very talented, because he will take time to adjust to the Premiership and also, he is relatively inexperienced.

Afellay would be an interesting option for the Gunners though considering that his versatility in the centre or on the wings could provide more flexibility for the Gunners. Also, he shares a good rapport with current Arsenal vice captain Robin van Persie and they will know their games having played for the Dutch national team together.

Also Afellay has not received much playing time for Barcelona after joining them in January in a cut-price deal from PSV Eindhoven. With Barcelona also linked with Giuseppi Rossi, he could receive lesser time next season and Cesc Fabregas’ arrival at Barcelona will certainly mean that he will not play in central midfield which he prefers.

Samir Nasri’s Contract Situation
However if Barcelona are not interested in involving Afellay in the deal, then Wenger would have another option to sign a quality winger like Eden Hazard and play Samir Nasri in the hole behind Robin van Persie. But the only problem in this is that there is absolutely no guarantee that Nasri will stay with the Gunners next season and he could move on if he fails to reach an agreement with Arsenal regarding the new contract.

Samir Nasri had an excellent first half of the season and though he did fade away towards the end of the season, a tally of 15 goals in a season is good for the midfielder who had scored 12 goals for Arsenal till the 2010-11 season. Nasri has developed into one of the most important players for the Gunners and Arsenal will not like to lose him this summer.

However, he has only one year on his contract and according to Arsene Wenger, there has been a slight financial disagreement on the contract and the Arsenal manager hoped he could hold on to the French midfielder. Nasri has the upper hand in the contract negotiations with many top clubs interested in acquiring his services.

Nasri is reportedly seeking a pay similar to what Cesc Fabregas earns at the club. However, the club has a wage structure which should be respected and if Wenger gives in to Nasri’s demands, then it will mean that he will also have to increase the wages of several other players like Robin van Persie, who has been extremely loyal to the club. It could mean a huge rise in the overall wages of the club and could affect the policy of the club in the long run as more players could start holding the club for ransom and it would set a bad precedent.

If he is indeed sold by the Gunners after failing to sign a new contract, it will be tough to replace a player of his quality. Though he has only one year left on his contract, he is a player of superb potential and could be worth as much as £20 million despite having only a year on his contract. The midfielder’s versatility provides a lot of depth to the Gunners and should he leave, Arsenal will have to look at quality players who can do the job for Arsenal.

Eden Hazard, who was named the French League player of the season for his superb performances for Lille, has been linked with the Gunners in the past and Wenger could splash the cash to acquire his services. Another possible alternative for the Gunners is to sign a quality striker like Karim Benzema who can also play on the wings which means more options for the Arsenal manager.

If Nasri does leave the club, it is likely that the Arsenal manager would also hold on to Tomas Rosicky, despite not being at his best since his return from injury. The Czech International has been benched for a number of games this season but he is one of the more versatile players in the squad and could provide depth to the squad.

The worst situation for the Gunners is in the scenario where Nasri and Fabregas both leave the club in the summer and that would certainly be devastating for the Gunners. However, Arsene Wenger is an astute manager and despite not many trophies in the last few years, he will understand the team’s need for quality players.

The Gunners could generate a large amount of money from the sale of the two players and probably they can also negotiate for a potential player exchange deal for Fabregas involving Afellay, which means that they could have as much as £50 million cash along with the signing of the Dutchman. Wenger needs to invest this money on quality players who are needed to win trophies for the Gunners.

Wenger could have a transfer budget of around £35-40 million and he has said that they do have the capability to make big signings. The Arsenal manager could sign a quality striker and Eden Hazard or Mario Goetze with that cash which means Arsenal will have a formidable attack with Robin van Persie, Aaron Ramsey and Ibrahim Afellay all capable of playing behind the striker.

It is certainly not all “gloom and doom” for Arsenal if Nasri and Cesc Fabregas leaves the club especially considering the potentials of Ramsey and Wilshere but Wenger would not like to lose two key players in the same summer as it could mean that the team’s play could be remodelled. Arsene Wenger will have to spend the money available in the summer to acquire quality players who could help the Gunners end their trophy drought and move to an era of consistent success like they enjoyed in the early years of Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal.

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