Manchester City are reportedly ready to make the first offer for Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas, and Arsenal should not engage the Premier League champions in a bidding war for their former captain's services.
As reported by Goal.com's Wayne Veysey, the Citizens are ready to offer Barcelona £30 million for the central midfielder, the first bid in what looks like it could turn into a summer-long auction amidst interest from Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, who are preparing their own offers:
The Londoners are preparing to put together a package to compete with City in the race for the midfielder, who remains on good terms with manager Arsene Wenger despite effectively going on strike to force through his transfer to Barcelona in 2011. There is also interest from Liverpool and Chelsea, who are in the market for a central midfielder after Frank Lampard confirmed he is leaving the club.
City may have been hit with sanctions following violation of UEFA's Financial Fair Play, as reported by ESPN FC, but it seems to have had little effect on the club's transfer strategies.
They are still one of the Premier League's strongest teams on a financial level and once the Citizens have their eyes set on a player—they usually get him.
The Gunners may have fond memories of Fabregas and the contributions he made for the club but the final few months he spent in London got messy. The Spaniard wanted to return to his native Catalonia and—as reported by Veysey—he was willing to do whatever it took to get his move.
Arsenal have come a long way since those days, and the 2013-14 season was one of hope for the club. Leading the Premier League table for much of the season, things started to unravel during the month of March.
A brutal schedule certainly didn't help but, once again, injuries were the main culprit. Both Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey struggled with their health during the season and without two of their main creative outlets the club understandably struggled.
All of this highlighted Arsenal's biggest problem, the one thing that separates Wenger's side from the true championship contenders in England—depth.
Spending upwards of £30 million on a player who forced his way out of the club just a few years ago is not going to help with that.
The Gunners do not need to re-tool their midfield—that's one area where they have all the quality they need.
Arsenal set a new club transfer record when they acquired Ozil from Real Madrid, and while his first season with the club wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, the German orchestrator showed enough glimpses to make fans and pundits believe he should be holding the keys to Arsenal's midfield.
More importantly, Ramsey blossomed into one of the Premier League's top central midfielders and would have been a strong contender for the Young Player of the Year Award had it not been for injuries.
As shared by Alee Niherd, both players made the Premier League's Team of the Season:
Arsenal have 4 players in the Premier League team of the season: Szczesny, Koscielny, Ramsey and Ozil— Älee Niherd (@niherd09) May 25, 2014
Arsenal don't need Fabregas but that doesn't mean they couldn't use him. As long as his presence wouldn't affect the development of Ramsey and Ozil's standing in the midfield hierarchy, it could work.
Should Arsenal bring Cesc Fabregas back?
But at what cost?
If Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are all keen on Fabregas, chances are the Gunners would need to wager a ridiculous amount for his services by the time everyone's done bidding.
Investing all of that money in Fabregas would leave the club with little funds to search for squad players at other positions, putting the Gunners in the exact same situation they were in last season.
In a competition as physically demanding as the Premier League and with the added strain of the UEFA Champions League, no depth means no titles. It's that simple.
Yes, it would be nice to see Fabregas don the iconic red-and-white kit once more, but Arsenal have more important needs to fill. If the race to land the Spaniard turns into an all-out bidding war, the Gunners should do the right thing and pull out.