Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, hopes to have firmly established the future of his two best players, captain Cesc Fabregas and attacking midfielder Samir Nasri, by the weekend. According to an interview given on the club’s website, Wenger told that he hoped the situation regarding the ongoing transfer negotiations for both players would be resolved “very quickly.”
While Wenger was unwilling to offer too many details about the transfer of Fabregas – to Barcelona for a fee believed to be IRO £35 million- and Nasri – to Manchester City for a fee of approximately £25 million – he appeared keen to have the situation clarified by the opening Premier League weekend, on Saturday 13 August 2011.
Fabregas made his desire to return to his boyhood club, Barcelona, clear in the summer of 2010, when the Catalan Champions of Europe first put in a formal bid for the Gunners captain, however, Wenger managed, then, to convince the player to stay at the Emirates. This season it may not be so easy, and it is thought that Fabregas may well forgo a £1million per year release clause in his contract to secure the switch to Barca. Fabregas has fully four years remaining on his contract, so Arsenal have a strong bargaining position.
The situation with Samir Nasri is less simple for Wenger: the player’s contract will run out at the end of the season, which means he would, then, be free to leave for no fee. With Manchester City believed to be willing to offer up to £25 million for the French star, it leaves Arsenal with little choice but to sell the player, and look to pick up one or two players with similar attributes in the short few weeks before the transfer window closes.
If they lose both players, it is difficult to see where Arsenal will find the cutting edge in midfield that, on occasion, they found so devastatingly last season.
Given the strengthening that has happened at Man City, Liverpool and Manchester United, and with Chelsea, as ever, remaining a solid squad of high-class players, should Arsenal lose both Fabregas and Nasri this week, it is difficult to see how they might pose a serious challenge for another top four position, never mind threaten the league title.
While they would collect around £60 million for the deals, if Arsenal do sell Fabregas and Nasri, Arsene Wenger will have the job of his life to attempt to replace like for like by the end of August.