“Erm, no,” seems the fairly logical and obvious answer to the question, both Fabregas and Nasri are world class players in an Arsenal side that has struggled to truly challenge for the title in recent years.
Yet despite the seemingly rhetorical nature of the question, when you scratch below the surface there’s a case to be made that Arsenal could be better off by letting both midfielders move on.
Before you click off the site or bombard me with comments telling me why I’m off my little Mancunian head, allow me to elucidate.
Cesc Fabregas has been linked with a move to Barcelona, for two years now and seemingly has his heart set on joining his ‘boyhood club.’ The whole sorry saga reminds me of what happened with Ronaldo at United, in the fact that since his head’s been turned Fabregas hasn’t quite seemed the same player- this may sound incredulous given what Ronnie achieved in his final United season, but his attitude wasn’t quite as before. Don’t get me wrong Fabregas is still a hugely talented individual but from what I’ve seen in the big games he can often go missing.
Whenever United play Arsenal Fabregas is totally dominated by Darren Fletcher, in fact the only Gooner victory over us of late came when the Spaniard wasn’t in the side. I’m aware Fabregas played well against Chelsea at the Emirates last season, but let’s not forget this was one of the poorest Chelsea sides in the last 8 years, enduring their worst spell in the same period.
I rate Fabregas highly and in the past have even advocated United making a cheeky bid for him but the fact is since the Barcelona rumours have started he doesn’t seem the player he was for Arsenal. The Gunners seem to rely on him too much and when he doesn’t perform there’s a lack of people willing to take some responsibility. You could argue surely that make’s him indispensable but I’d put forward the opposite view, that if Fabregas was no longer in the equation then other players would rise to the occasion and be forced to do more than simply look for the skipper.
Arsenal had a brief period of rejuvenation when their talisman Thierry Henry left, with players such as Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor proving their worth. Although it ultimately resulted in yet another trophyless season, the first seven months of 2007/08 it looked as though Arsenal were on course for the title.
In the case of Samir Nasri, again he’s a talented player that I’d be more than happy to see at Old Trafford, but if he doesn’t want to play for Arsenal anymore then it may be a good idea to simply get rid and move on.
Like Fabregas Nasri can also go missing and the back end of last season he was nowhere near as influential as he had been at the start. If he really doesn’t want to be at the club then Arsene Wenger should do what he’s done in the past with the likes of Adebayor and Kolo Toure and simply sell him and move forward.
With the departure of Gael Clichy many would argue that for Arsenal to lose two more experienced players would be nothing short of disastrous however it may not be the catastrophe some predict.
If the likes of Nasri and Fabregas left for around £50 million then surely even someone as miserly and stubborn as Arsene Wenger would realise that money could bring in two quality midfielders to replace them.
Admittedly you may not get someone of the same calibre as Fabregas but by maybe investing in a bit of steel and grit rather than another playmaker, you could actually add an edge to the Gooners that’s been missing for some time.
The smart money seems to be on Arsenal not really being a problem for United this season when it comes to retaining our title. Even Liverpool have been getting more kudos from the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney when it comes to being title challengers next season.
Should Arsenal lose their two main midfielders then you can’t imagine anyone backing them for the title.
Call me a mentalist but I simply cannot imagine Wenger not being able to see it’s now or never for his Arsenal career and if he did lose the pair and invested in players that could perform now, rather than in a few years time, then he may give his side a fighting chance.
Arsenal still have the likes of Robin Van Persie, Jack Wilshere plus players like Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey who on their day can win matches. As United proved in 1995, losing some of your most influential players doesn’t always signal the end of your title winning chances, everyone may be counting Arsenal out- even if the titular duo stay- but I feel there may be one more good season left in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal and while I obviously hope I’m wrong, I won’t be discarding their chances just yet.
Have I gone in off the deep end? Is it City and Chelsea that United should be worried about? Is it all over for Wenger should he lost his midfield pair?
Read more of Justin’s articles at Red Flag Flying High