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The end in sight for the numerous Arsenal Sagas?

Thursday 4th August 2011
Most Arsenal fans will admit to being both anxious and excited for what the coming weeks hold for the club; will Cesc Fabregas finally get the move he appears to so badly want?  Will Samir Nasri sign on or sign out? Will Arsene Wenger finally stop waiting for clubs to bow to his wishes, and instead compromise himself to bring in the Centre Back(s) necessary to challenge for the title this season?  All of these questions will be answered by the end of this window and will largely define what Arsenal fans can expect this season.  I'm not going to state the obvious of these situations, as everyone is bored to tears with that, instead I'll give my prediction and opinion on what will and should happen.  I hope this will be my final piece regarding Cesc Fabregas and Centre Backs, the latter in particular.

For me, the Cesc Fabregas saga goes some way to being solved tomorrow; the Annual Arsenal Team Photo takes place and we will see if Cesc is sitting on that front row, wearing the captain armband, smiling for the camera.  There has been much speculation over whether he'll be there and I remember the same questions this time last year, and I also remember a sense of relief when the Spaniard did in fact show for the photo and subsequently went on to stay for the season.  However, I'm without doubt more skeptical this time around; Cesc hasn't featured in a single pre-season game, and even Wenger agrees that this is due to a worry about his commitment at this time.  Even if he does appear tomorrow, I and many others will be scrutinising his body language and behavior for any signs of ill feeling.  This action alone must put Arsenal fans on edge, as is this really the relationship they want with their skipper?  One that is tense and untrustworthy, one that believes there is a longing to be far away from the Emirates underneath a smile for the fans.  I'm going to put my neck out on the line and suggest Fabregas will still be an Arsenal player this season; not because Arsenal are unfairly 'holding him prisoner', but because the seemingly angelic Barcelona are trying to get him on the cheap due to emotional attachment, and when it comes down to it, business doesn't work that way.  Well, it shouldn't.

In terms of Samir Nasri, as much as he endeared himself to fans during the season, he has practically lost the majority of their affection in a matter of weeks.  Most practical Arsenal fans will agree that he has to go now, preferably to a foreign team, such as Inter, especially if Sneijder does end up at Manchester United.  Where is the sense in losing Cesc for less than he's worth but keeping Nasri only to lose him for free in 12 months time?  The obvious option is to offload Samir for £20mill + and reinvest in Mata, who seems to itching to move to Arsenal after learning of their interest.  It would be more or less a straight swap, give or take £3-4 million; in return Arsenal receive someone who is committed.  Sadly, I can see Wenger being stubborn on this one and keeping Samir with a view to changing his mind throughout the course of the coming season.. except, I can see Nasri not altering his wishes, and leaving for free.

A positive aspect of this article comes in my belief that Arsene Wenger is actually doing everything he can to sign a new defender as we speak; with Phil Jagielka apparently ruling out a move south due to his settled lifestyle with Everton, I believe this Centre Back will be Gary Cahill, although I do think it should really be Chris Samba.  Personally, I think signing both would be a great move, but I really can't see that occurring at all and the logical prediction is therefore Cahill.

Finally, what of the Joey Barton issue!  Well, many Arsenal fans have written him off completely, but let's be honest, isn't he what Arsenal need?  Joey, for all his off-field mishaps, is a battler and a motivator; there were countless times during the last campaign when I heard pundits and fans alike call for a leader to stand up and rally the side when things were edgy.. I believe that player is now available on a free.  This point of view does attract a lot of criticism, and rightly so, but Joey does have points to consider and has made clear steps to cleaning up his act over the past few years with Newcastle.

In conclusion, Arsenal fans should be to attention for the remainder of this window as the crucial pieces of business are yet to be done, and surely they will be.. Or else Wenger is simply cutting himself short and placing himself in the firing line for the same old, dull criticism.  Seriously, Arsene, us writers want to be writing about something else for a change, you're drying us up with all this Centre Back/Cesc talk!

Joe Baker

Follow me @Bakes135


Joe Baker

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