Pep Guardiola has revealed that despite Wenger’s assertions last week that Fabregas would stay, Arsenal are in fact negotiating a fee with Barcelona:
“This year Arsenal has agreed to negotiate and we are working on it. Barcelona has made an offer, Arsenal another and we have time until August 31st and we’ll try to reach an agreement.”
The difference between last summer’s tedious soap opera and this is that we’re actively negotiating, whereas 12 months ago we were resolute that he wasn’t for sale. I think last year Wenger promised Fabregas that he could go this summer and with Arsenal asking for £40m and Barcelona’s latest offer being £31m, it seems just a matter of time before both parties settle on a fee of £35m.
So when our captain leaves, who’s going to replace him? I think the armband will be given to van Persie, partly to keep him from casting envious glances elsewhere like Real Madrid. This was the same reason that Wenger made Fabregas skipper and is a tactic he employed with Henry as well – give ’em the captaincy and they might stay a little longer.
Fabregas mark II signs for Arsenal
As to who will take his advanced midfield role, step forward young Aaron Ramsey. It’s a position he’s been groomed for ever since he signed three years ago. Just as Clichy’s spot will go to Gibbs, Wenger won’t dip into the transfer market to replace Cesc. That is the way of our reliance on our youth system and you have to say as a business model it’s been a fantastic success thanks to the canny buying and selling of Wenger. Despite his barren run of recent years he’s made the club a lot of money, although it’s such a shame that all he has to do is buy one or two experienced players to take us to the next level – something he just won’t do.
Look at this summer’s three big departures – Clichy, Fabregas and Nasri (I know Fabregas and Nasri haven’t been sold yet, but they will and in any case they perfectly illustrate Wenger’s long-term strategy whether they leave now or next summer):
Buy Fabregas for free, develop him when Vieira leaves, sell him for £35m.
Buy Ramsey for £4.8m, develop him when Fabregas leaves, sell him for a big profit in a few years.
Buy Hleb for £11m, develop him when Pires leaves, sell him for £14m.
Buy Nasri for £12m, develop him when Hleb leaves, sell him for £25m (probably).
Buy Ryo Miyaichi for free, develop him when Nasri leaves, sell him for a big profit in a few years.
Buy Clichy for £250,000, develop him when Ashley Cole leaves, sell him for £7m.
Buy Gibbs for free, develop him when Clichy leaves, sell him for a big profit in a few years.
There are numerous other examples of big profits (Adebayor, Toure etc), but the three above relate to this summer and underline that Wenger is not altering his transfer strategy one little bit. Those who predicted big, marquee signings were way off the mark – that’s never been his style and he’s too stubborn to change a
winning profitable formula.
That is why we have so many youngsters on our books and why Wenger prefers to sign the likes of Carl Jenkinson than Christopher Samba. The youngsters deemed good enough will get a chance to step up to the first team and replace departed stars. In the future a few will be worth millions like Fabregas, Nasri and Adebayor while others will fail and be shipped out like Senderos, Aliadiere and Denilson.
The only downside is that in order to find out if the Denilsons, Senderos’ and Aliadieres are good enough we have to play them. A lot. And if they aren’t good enough, it means we’ve handicapped the team by fielding players who just aren’t Arsenal standard. That’s why we haven’t won a trophy for so long and while Wenger persists with this profitable but silverware-repellent strategy nothing will change.
So when you see headlines linking us to Benzema, Leighton Baines, Luis Enrique, Felipe Melo and Scott Parker, save your energy and read something else because it ain’t gonna happen. Wenger would rather take a chance on Gibbs, Miyachi and Ramsey instead of spending the millions at his disposal on proven Premiership experience. It makes us a lovely profit, but our trophy cabinet will continue to be bare. Even worse, the likes of Wilshere and van Persie will become so frustrated that they’ll be the next big names to want out of our beloved club.
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