Is Fabregas departure start of mass exodus at Arsenal?
It is the news that all Arsenal fans feared, but were all secretly expecting. Cesc Fabregas, the club’s captain, talisman and longest serving player, flew into London this week to tell his manager Arsene Wenger that he would like to leave the club and sign for his old side Barcelona.
The Spanish midfielder has grown frustrated at the lack of trophies at the Emirates, and with funds limited as the club pays off their new stadium’s construction costs, it appears the squad will not be strengthened significantly enough to challenge for silverware next year either. The Premier League 2010/11 odds make them relative outsiders for the title.
Fabregas’ departure will crystallise the failure of the club’s tactical gamble when they choose to press ahead with the costly stadium redevelopment five years ago.
Aware that they had to move in order to progress, the club had no choice but to fork out millions to fund the building of the Emirates Stadium. Wenger sought to soften the future blow of financial restrictions by signing youngsters, such as Fabregas, in the hope that they would develop into world-class players, sustaining Arsenal’s success while they were still paying off the stadium.
Sadly, Fabregas has been the exception rather than the rule in Wenger’s theory, and the lack of quality players coming into the club to replace the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp means the side has fallen behind in the race for trophies.
Wenger actually deserves enormous credit for keeping the club in the top four on such a limited budget, despite the growing hostility towards him from the understandably frustrated fan-base. But although many recent departures from the Emirates have been players past their best or have left with Wenger’s blessing, the desire of a key player such as Farbegas to leave, against Wenger’s wishes, must be a massive psychological blow.
The Frenchman, who only has a year left on his contract, must fear a mass exodus of players with the likes of Andrey Arshavin and Robin Van Persie surely considering following Fabregas’ lead.
For his part, Fabregas will want to get the deal done and dusted so he can concentrate on helping Spain live up to the tags of World Cup 2010 betting favourites in South Africa.
It will be interesting to see what impact this has on Arsenal’s transfer plans. The onus is now on the board to back Wenger with the funds to rebuild the side so they can land their first trophy since 2005. After all, the squad needed strengthening before Fabregas announced his desire to jump ship.
If this doesn’t happen, the Spaniards imminent departure could be the first of many at the Emirates this summer.
Written By Betfair Blogger Phil Tomlinson