Let me just me one thing clear before I discuss what many people may consider a ludicrous thought. Cesc Fabregas is a brilliant footballer and I am in no way questioning or doubting his ability.
That comment may lead to a contradiction, but if Fabregas gets his wish and decides to return to Catalan giants Barcelona, Arsenal will not suffer as much as perhaps Manchester United have at the loss of Crisitano Ronaldo, who went to Real Madrid for a record-breaking £80 million last summer and it may even prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Arsenal do not play as a one-man team, yes there have been times when Fabregas may have had to carry one or two players, but Arsenal’s quick-paced passing style means every player is involved in attacking moves. This would suggest Fabregas is key to Arsenal as over the past few seasons he has been the nucleus of the team who generates these moves.
However Fabregas missed a number of games last season and Arsenal did not play as the worst team in the world for it as they are not short for numbers in this position. The two players that tended to fill the role of the influential Spaniard demonstrated they were more than capable of filling the void.
The two players I’m referring to are the currently injured yet very promising Aaron Ramsey and the creative Frenchmen who surprisingly divides opinion, Samir Nasri.
Because of Fabregas, former Marseille midfielder Nasri has often had to play in a wide role in his time at Arsenal, and when that is compared against his time in the middle of the park, it can be seen in which position he is more comfortable and effective as last season’s Champions League return leg against Porto showed how he can control a football match in a way Fabregas would be proud.
Given the responsibility and confidence to play this role from his manager, it is not inconceivable to suggest Samir Nasri could be very influential in a successful Arsenal season.
There is a reason why both Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger both tried desperately hard to convince Welshman Ramsey to sign for their illustrious clubs, and it will be revealed on a weekly basis this season if Fabregas gets his move and Ramsey makes a full recovery from the injury he received playing at Stoke earlier in the year. In the games Ramsey did manage to play over the past 12 months, he instantly looked comfortable with the ball and was by no means afraid to take responsibility as the team’s primary playmaker.
In an interview for Sky last year after a League Cup game he referred to his team-mates as “kids”, despite him only being 18 which demonstrates the maturity he is already showing.
Arsenal simply giving Ramsey and Nasri more minutes in the middle of the park will not automatically make post-Fabregas Arsenal a strong side. The sale of Cesc Fabregas to the La Liga champions will generate around £30 million and this will need to be properly invested into Arsenal’s weaker areas, which is clearly not in the creativity department.
This money could provide Arsenal with a much needed goalkeeper, with Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer being the man currently linked to the club. With William Gallas looking likely to leave the club Arsene Wenger will no doubt be looking to bring in a centre-half to partner the impressive Vermaelen and is reportedly interested in Laurent Koscielny of Lorient.
The final position which has hindered Arsenal is the role of an enforcing, all-action uncompromising midfielder. Alex Song is currently the most defensive midfielder at Arsenal and he has excelled in this role, yet he is a very good passer of the ball and if freed of the work he has to carry out without the ball, may become a more effective tool in Arsenal’s attack.
Luckily for Arsene Wenger, it seems this type of player will be available this summer. Yaya Toure would fit the bill perfectly however it looks increasingly likely he will join his brother at Manchester City, however the press have reported that this may lead to Dutchman Nigel de Jong joining Arsenal, who could easily hold his own and strengthen the side. With Toure coming in, de Jong’s value is likely to be within Wenger’s budget so could well prove to be a realistic target for Arsenal.
So by Fabregas leaving Arsenal, the money to bring in the 3 players Wenger needs could be generated and despite Fabregas being a lot younger than Henry and Vieira, Arsenal have showed that they can respond strongly the season after the loss of their captain and if anyone can build a team post-Fabregas, it’s Arsene Wenger.