Football FanCast guest columnist Joe Henson feels it is vital that Wenger looks to turn down Atletico’s £10m approach.
The Carling Cup isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and to be honest the desire to win it isn’t high on my priority list every summer, but it certainly has its uses.
Given the relative mundane nature of reserve team football it gives Arsene Wenger and the players a chance to test themselves in a more competitive environment and allow the club a chance to assess how far they are progressing and which players are perhaps ready to make the step up and those who still have some way to go. In fairness only a handful are likely to have any real chance of becoming household names (going on past history) and making it in the first team, with two of them almost certainly being Fran Merida and Aaron Ramsey. Both were outstanding on Wednesday, especially the young Spaniard.
Merida is not a new name for Arsenal fans and he has always been heralded as the potential heir to Fabregas’ crown. Joining Arsenal from Barcelona as well was always going to draw comparisons, but it is fair to say that Merida’s step up to the first team hasn’t been as smooth as Cesc’s was; largely due to Fabregas occupying his favoured role. However Wenger has now reached a crossroads with the player, given his contract is up for renewal and with Atletico Madrid’s expressing an interest, therefore he has a big decision to make ahead of the January window.
I don’t know what any other Arsenal fan feels about Fabregas and where his long term future lies, but I for one won’t be surprised if he moved on next summer should Barcelona follow through with their obvious interest, leaving Wenger with an uncomfortable dilemma as to how he goes about replacing him. Players like Fabregas don’t come around very often therefore attempting to replace him will certainly be no easy task. Both Ramsey and Merida certainly have the potential to, although I wouldn’t like to say who is best equipped at this moment in time.
That for me is the key aspect here and why Wenger must spurn Atletico’s £10m advances. What we have seen from Merida looks promising, but have we seen enough to formulate an opinion as to whether he has the ability to take the reins from Cesc? Ramsey maybe better suited, or perhaps throwing in Jack Wilshere, but why there is no obvious solution or candidate to potentially replace Fabregas, it is vital that Wenger isn’t tempted to cash in and retains his squad.