Arsenal Eyeing French Replacement for Cesc Fabregas?

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst IMay 24, 2010

Arsenal look likely to bid goodbye to one of their greatest players this summer if recent reports are to be believed. The Gunners' inspirational captain and one of the most coveted young footballers of the present generation, Cesc Fabregas, is reportedly looking to leave the Emirates for a move to his childhood club Barcelona.

The 23-year-old has long been linked with the Spanish giants no move ever materialized. But this time the link-ups may become a reality as he has reportedly informed the Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger of his desire to leave the club.

While no formal bids have yet been placed by Barcelona, and Wenger is trying hard to convince Cesc to stay for another season, it seems that Arsenal might have to part ways with their beloved captain if Barca places a good price for Cesc. The Spaniard is reportedly unhappy with Arsenal's lack of silverware and hence wants a move to his dream club Barcelona, who have been hugely successful in recent seasons.

With news of Cesc's departure doing the rounds the North London outfit have been reported to be interested in signing French club Bordeaux's impressive attacking midfielder Yoann Gourcuff this summer.

The 23-year-old French footballer nicknamed "Petit Zizou" for his similarities to Zidane, has been in superb form, which has sealed him a permanent role as a playmaker for both his country and club. He is seen as an ideal replacement for Fabregas in case the Gunners' captain really makes a move to Spain this summer.

Although the 2009 French Player of the Year has seen a slight dip in form, he has scored an impressive nine goals and made 10 assists this season for the Les Girondins . The French youngster has filled the void left in France's midfield after the retirement of the legendary Zinedine Zidane and has proved himself an ideal successor to Zidane's spot in the squad.

The ex-Milan star has features similar to those of Fabregas. Gourcuff has immense strength, is very creative, and he also has an eye for the spectacular goal. His excellent vision and deft passing qualities along with his ability to outsmart his opponents makes him an ideal playmaker for any team, similar to Fabregas. He can create goal-scoring opportunities out of nowhere which makes him a threat to opposition defenses.

Although Gourcuff is not as highly rated as the Spaniard, he is very talented and has the potential to fill the huge shoes that will be left if Cesc actually leaves.

With Arsenal ready to spend around £40 million on new signings these summer, Gourcuff, priced at £25 million, could be a good bargain for Wenger to fill the gap left in Arsenal's squad with Cesc's departure.

He is very versatile with
imagination of a creative midfielder, the talent and technique of a withdrawn striker, and the strength of a defensive midfielder, which will be quite helpful for the young Gunners squad.

Wenger is known to be very fond of French players and Gourcuff will no doubt be a preference for him. The high-spending Manchester City are also looking to make a swoop for the French star and are preparing a huge bid. But if Arsenal come calling it seems unlikely that Gourcuff will be able to resist the chance to play alongside his fellow countrymen, as well as under the Frenchman Wenger.

But this reported transfer might not even take place if Cesc agrees to stay at Arsenal and we might see Gourcuff playing for the Eastlands outfit instead of the Gunners.

With Fabregas expressing his desire to sort out his future before the 19th FIFA World Cup it looks that a decision on Gourcuff's future might also be made prior to June 11 and he might start the next season in the Gunners shirt.