Will Arsenal finally cave in to Barcelona’s persistence on Cesc Fabregas, or will another summer come and go with Cesc where he’s been since September 2003?
Yesterday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger did his best to put a stop to the incessant speculation about Cesc’s future, saying,
‘I fully expect Cesc to be an Arsenal player this season. He is our captain and we want to keep him and that is why we didn’t listen to any offers. We do not just give in because somebody wants somebody from us.
I believe Cesc loves the club and I am confident the story will end there. We want Cesc at our club next season and that is it. The talking has stopped and we never wanted it to start.’
However, it doesn’t seem to have done much good, as today features a fresh . According to the Daily Mail today, Barcelona are set to make a £40m ‘take it or leave it’ offer to Arsenal for their captain.
Judging by Wenger’s strong words yesterday, one could assume Arsenal will choose the ‘leave it’ option and dismiss the offer, as they did with Barcelona’s previous offer of £30m.
Despite Cesc’s ‘resistance’ when his Spain teammates put a Barcelona shirt on him during their World Cup victory parade last week, his desire to return the place where he spent his formative years is no secret. This isn’t to say that Wenger isn’t wrong in his feelings that Cesc loves Arsenal, but as much as love as he has for Arsenal, that space in his heart for Barcelona is as big…and perhaps bigger.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most things, money, or a lack thereof, is the principal difference maker.
New Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has said that the club won’t go above and beyond to land Fabregas, but that’s what would have to happen to make Arsenal even blink. According to the Mail’s report, it’d take an offer of at least £50m for Arsenal to consider a deal, and as it happens, that’s a little out of Barcelona’s price range at the current time.
It was recently revealed that Barcelona have a remaining transfer budget of €50m, and since those revelations, the two-time defending La Liga champions have signed Sevilla star Adriano for an initial fee of €9.5m. So, even by selling both of their surplus defenders, Barcelona would have to decimate their remaining transfer kitty in order to make an offer that would merit serious consideration.
But could the availability of Mesut Ozil play a role in how this situation plays out?
Werder Bremen general manager Klaus Allofs has admitted that the club will likely face many offers for their rising star in the coming weeks, and those offers will be considered, as the 21-year-old playmaker‘s contract is set to run out next summer and there‘s been no progression in discussions over a new deal. Allofs said,
‘I can already think that we will have offers in the next few weeks or just before the transfer deadline from a number of clubs.
‘If something concrete comes, we have a duty to talk to Mesut and his advisors and to see what they want. We will not change our policy. We cannot afford it.’
Further encouraging for potential suitors were Allofs’ comments on contract discussions:
‘We had arranged a meeting with Mesut, however we found no solution during our discussions.
‘We presented our our options, but the issue was not brought to an end.’
Along with Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Barcelona have all been linked with Ozil, who put up Fabregas-like numbers last season with nine goals and 12 assists in 31 Bundesliga appearances (and seven more assists in 12 German Cup and UEFA Europa League appearances) and notched a goal and three assists in seven World Cup games for Germany.
The bidding for Ozil should take off very soon, and if Barcelona turn their attentions to someone who falls well within their current transfer budget and trump the other potential suitors to his signature, then that will put an end to the Fabregas speculation for now and for a while.
However, if Arsenal make a concerted effort to land Ozil, that could reignite Barcelona’s hopes that the Gunners could be open to selling Fabregas – and perhaps for less than the quoted price, so this ‘take it or leave it’ offer may well not be their last of the summer.
With almost a month and a half before the summer transfer deadline, it’s too early to say definitively that another summer will come and go with Cesc in a Gunners shirt, especially with what could transpire with Ozil. But as it stands, the expectation is that we’ll see Cesc terrorizing Premier League defenses from Newcastle to North London this season.