As interest from Barcelona seems to have cooled, albeit momentarily, reports are emerging that José Mourinho may be looking at the possibility of bringing Cesc Fabregas to the Santiago Bernabéu.
ESPNSoccernet have quoted Arsène Wenger as saying:
“There was an interest from Barcelona last year which I won’t hide. This year there hasn’t (yet) been an interest.
“My no. 1 wish is to keep Fabregas – for me he is the best midfielder in the world and we naturally built the team around him.”
Reports emerging over the last few days in Spain suggest that Fabregas is unhappy at the lack of trophies at Arsenal and could try to force a move back to his childhood club (Barca), not to Real. I would imagine that if Cesc really wanted to leave he would almost definitely force a move back to Barcelona rather than move to Real Madrid.
El Mundo Deportivo reported that Jose Angel Sanchez (Technical Director at Real Madrid) has been told that in the event that Fabregas does try to force a move, Arsenal would only consider selling him abroad – ruling out the possibility of a move to Manchester City or Chelsea.
In my opinion, if Cesc were smart he would not leave Arsenal until he has won another major trophy. He has played for 7 years in North London, but has little to show for it. Even if he did move this summer, a move to Real would be stupid. They already have a plethora of technically gifted midfielders, so much so that Kaka struggles to keep a regular place in the starting line-up (although this could be argued that it is due to injury).
A move to Barcelona would seem much more likely. Barcelona’s midfield are getting older and (at only 24 years old) Fabregas could walk into their team in a few years. However, if he were to join this summer, he would spend a lot of time on the bench because he is unlikely to displace Xavi and Iniesta.
My thoughts are almost parallelled by Arsène Wenger, who made it clear that he will not let Cesc go without a fight:
“I expect him to be here, and I will fight very hard to keep him here. You have always to fight when you have a player of that quality. You must always fight to keep your players.
“A player who changes his club every time he is frustrated or when he doesn’t win a trophy, goes nowhere. I believe the quality of sports life is to be committed to your club and not just to move out when it does not go as well as you expected.”
According to Sky Sports, Arsenal are scouting the 21 year old Malaga forward, who has scored 16 goals in 31 games for the Spanish side this season. He’s bagged a few for the Venezuelan national team as well, both at U21 level and as a full international. He is said to command a fee of up to £18 million, so many would consider such a player as out of Arsenal’s reach. He only made the step up to La Liga last summer, so I don’t really understand where such a high fee would come from.
Supposedly, Arsenal scouts were in Spain last weekend, and saw Rondon score in a 3-0 win over Athletico Madrid. With Bendtner and possibly Chamakh both looking for a fresh start, Wenger may be encouraged to strengthen his attacking options, despite Arsenal having scored the second highest number of goals in the league this season, with 67 (Utd scored 73).
Likeliness Rating: 3.5/5
Following his £21 million move to Juventus from Fiorentina two years ago, Melo has received mixed reviews. Having played only 53 times in two seasons (bear in mind Wilshere has played 42 times this season alone), you could say that the Brazilian has had a bit-part role at the Turin club. However, he has been on the end of great media attention after superb displays against AC Milan and AS Roma. His fiery temper has earned him some criticism, but it could be exactly what Arsenal are missing.
The 27 year old defensive midfielder would push Alex Song for his place. Such competition could allow both players to thrive, and perhaps Arsenal could properly adopt a 5-man midfield with two more defensive-minded players dictating the play. Despite this, I’m still 100% behind a return to the 4-4-2 formation, in which I believe Melo and Fabregas/Wilshere/Ramsey could forge a strong partnership.
His agent has spoken of his possible availability this summer. He may come with a hefty price tag, but it should be lower than the £21 million that Juve signed him for (unless he has a ridiculous clause in his contract).
Likeliness Rating: 2.5/5
Arsenal may be looking to purchase another player from Ligue 1 side Lorient, French striker Gameiro, after we signed Koscielny from the same club last summer. The 23 year old striker is quite prolific, with 54 goals in 115 games for Lorient. If we take into account that he plays for a mid-table French side, and he has a ratio of almost 0.5 goals/game, imagine what he could do playing in front of Fabregas, Wilshere and Nasri. I’m already excited.
With Arsenal able to offer Champions League football to Gameiro, it shouldn’t be too difficult to entice him to the club. With a French speaking manager, and plenty of French speaking players, we have everything necessary to attract him. It seems like a typical Wenger signing – our manager would be silly not to take a look at this talented striker.
I can’t remember the last time it happened. It had been so long, that I thought it was actually against the rules to do it. But no, Wenger made a half time substitution on the weekend and it wasn’t due to an injury!
After a diabolical 45 minutes, our Brazilian superstar, who’s passing was even worse than Rebecca Black’s singing ability, was taken off to sarcastic applause from the away fans. Denilson’s half consisted of plenty of wayward passes, a long range shot which was closer to the corner flag than the goal, and one of his trademark fouls for which he was correctly booked. Granted, he was being played out of position, but why does Wenger constantly attempt to play him in defensive midfield? Probably because when Song is injured, Denilson is the only one who can fill the gap. I know Frimpong is unavailable, but Wenger should have more than one, unproven back up for such a crucial position.
When Denilson joined the club a few seasons ago, there were rave reviews about him. He was captain of the Brazilian U17 team which came second in the 2005 FIFA U17 World Championship and he was considered to be in the same mould as Gilberto Silva. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to all the hype. He would be a great player in a different league such as La Liga, where the speed of passing and pressing is generally slower (apart from Barcelona!). A team like Sevilla would suit the Brazilian, but he’s not a Gunner.
In addition to Denilson’s poor performance this weekend, David Luiz (another Brazilian) showed his class. He was very expensive for a defender, but his composure on the ball was fantastic to watch. He defended brilliantly, albeit against a Man City team which seemed to think that a draw is still only half the points of a win, and he grabbed the opener. Luiz’s determination and skill only highlights everything Denilson lacks. The speed with which Luiz plays is remarkable, especially as he is still getting used to the Premier League. Unfortunately, our Brazilian will never have that speed. And it is his slow, lazy passing which is most detrimental to the Arsenal team.
It is possible that his half time substitution will mark the end of his Arsenal career. However, he could do an Eboue U-turn and become a fan favourite. But even Eboue has lost some of his fans recently. It is clear that top players just don’t have as many poor performances as both Eboue and Denilson have had in the past. That is why Nasri, RVP and Fabregas are among the best in the world, and the aforementioned duo will probably never be good enough for our beloved club.
A couple of potential images of our home kit 2011/12 have been doing the rounds over recent weeks. I doubt they are accurate though – both the logo and the sleeves seem odd. It is a classic Arsenal shirt, without the frills that MAY be expected of an anniversary shirt (apart from the design around the Arsenal crest). I do still find it a shame that clubs use 125th anniversary to squeeze even more money out of their fans. Oh well, I’m sure the money will go towards a new keeper or centre back… I end up buying a kit most seasons, but if this is the home kit, I’ll probably be interested in buying the away kit.