Arsenal Transfer Prospects: Top 10 Replacements for Cesc Fabregas
The inevitable appears set to occur for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has begrudgingly accepted that captain Cesc Fabregas's tenure at the Gunners' has concluded with the Daily Mail reporting that Wenger will finally offload his Spanish play maker to Barcelona for £35 million.
It will terminate a lengthy chase from the Spanish giants who were destined to retrieve their former youth star.
Arsenal's poor finish to their 2010/2011 campaign, in which Wenger's squad imploded after the Carling Cup Final defeat, alongside Barcelona's continued internal and external dominance, it was growing increasingly unlikely the 24-year-old would remain at the Emirates.
Fabregas has enjoyed eight stellar seasons with the Gunners' since arriving in 2003 from Barcelona, amassing 303 appearances, 57 goals and 100 assists.
However, after failing to be named in Arsenal's 23 man squad to depart to Malaysia for pre-season campaign, the Spaniard is set to complete the move in the coming days.
A natural leader who is considered one of the best midfielders in World Football, many believe the departure could signify the end of Arsenal's dominance in England and European football.
However, it Arsene Wenger with an excellent opportunity to target a quality replacement who could help establish glory.
Bleacher Report brings the best 10 replacements Arsene Wenger can target to replace who many believe is his irreplaceable.
10. Mikel Arteta: Everton
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Arsene Wenger has long been an admirer of Mikel Arteta, and many believe the Spaniard would thrive with the Arsenal attack.
The attacking heart and creator of Everton, the 28-year-old emerges as a strong replacement for Fabregas due to their similar midfield styles and the overwhelming English Premier League experience the Spaniard possesses.
Arteta has enjoyed seven years in the English top flight since joining the Toffees in 2005, acquiring over 150 appearances.
A natural at handling the Premier League's physicality and toughness, the former Rangers' play maker is fast, incisive and dynamic; and he would provide creativity and composure to the Arsenal midfield.
The Spaniard does not have to be considered the straight replacement for Fabregas but could arrive at a appealing cost and help instill depth and solidity to the Arsenal midfield, particularly with Samir Nasri's uncertain future.
Although Arteta did not have the most impressive season, many are aware of the midfielder's ability and with Everton potentially willing to sell their play maker, Wenger could strike for under £8 million.
9. Marvin Martin: Sochaux
Young, French and immensely talented, a player like Marvin Martin will always interest Arsene Wenger.
However, the 23-year-old is no promising youth, the Frenchman has emerged as one of the most devastating and creative attacking midfielders in the French Ligue 1 and has acquired the nickname "Little Xavi" due to his similarities to the Barcelona superstar.
Since establishing himself in Sochaux first team in 2008, the midfielder has gone from strength to strength, enjoying a stellar 2010/2011 in which Martin boasted 17 assists in 40 appearances for Les Lionceaux.
The France international would undoubtedly thrive in the Arsenal squad and has the ability to emulate what Cesc Fabregas achieved at Arsenal.
Currently a rumoured target for Manchester United, Wenger could be able to secure Martin for just under £15 million.
8. Wesley Sneijder: Inter Milan
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It is rumoured the Inter Milan board will meet in the coming days to discuss the future of Dutch maestro Wesley Sneijder.
Manchester United are the front runners for the 27-year-old magician but with Fabregas departure, one cannot rule out Arsenal, who will possess the funds to secure one of Europe's most lethal attackers.
Dynamic, fast, intelligent and clinical, Sneijder has risen in recent years to become one of World Football's most consistent and tireless play makers. The arrival of the former Ajax midfielder would eradicate a large amount of lingering doubt that currently consumes the Emirates.
Many predict the Netherlands international, who was so influential in the Dutch 2010 FIFA World Cup Runners Up place, will thrive in the Premier League and it is noted that Sneijder is an admirer of both Arsene Wenger and the Gunners' playing style.
However, Italian giants Inter Milan will demand a strong fee for their maestro which could reach the £35 million mark, which would be unappealing for Arsene Wenger.
7. Christian Eriksen: Ajax
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The teenage sensation has become one of the best young midfielders in Europe after a stellar first full season with Dutch giants Ajax. A skillful, accurate and agile midfielder, the 19-year-old was one of the best players in the Dutch Eredivisie during 2010/2011 with 46 appearances and eight goals and then went on to thrive in the recent 2011 U-21 European Championships.
The Dane desires to remain with Ajax, but one cannot rule out a big-money move tempting the teenager.
A regular now for the Denmark national team, Eriksen is destined for greatness in World Football and with an opportunity to receive consistent first team playing time with Arsenal, it will surely enhance the Denmark international's game.
The Dutch Football Talent of the Year will likely be on the move in the coming years, Arsene Wenger has the opportunity to pounce.
6. Javi Martinez: Atletico Bilbao
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Javi Martinez is an imposing, creative midfielding force who has excelled with La Liga outfit Atletico Bilbao for a number of seasons now and continues thrive at the highest level.
A member of Spain's 2010 FIFA World Cup triumph and the captain of Spain's recent 2011 U-21 European Champions, the 22-year-old is a strong midfielder.
With close to 200 games for Bilbao, having made his debut as a 17 year old in 2006, the Spaniard is an experienced presence who boasts natural leadership.
With a similar Spanish flair to Fabregas, Martinez would not only enforce an added, lacking physical presence in the Arsenal midfield but maintain to an extent the creativity and spark Fabregas provides.
Harbouring ambitions to grace UEFA Champions League football, Arsenal would be able to sufficiently tempt the 22-year-old, who is a target for Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain for up to £14 million.
5. Franck Ribery: Bayern Munich
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Although not primarily a central attacking midfielder, Frank Ribery could be acquired to fill the void left by Cesc Fabregas due to the Frenchman's immense calibre, energy and passing range.
The 28-year-old is not linked with a move away from German giants Bayern Munich, but with the Bavarians eager to secure Samir Nasri or Nicklas Bendtner, either one could be utilized in a deal to bring the France international to the Emirates.
Powerful and lethal in attack, Ribery would instill much-needed efficiency and direction to the Arsenal attack whilst also adding depth and UEFA Champions League experience.
A consistent goal scorer and play maker, the former Marseille dynamo would likely command up to £20 million but could easily be well worth the price tag.
4. Aaron Ramsey
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The best internal replacement, many believe youngster Aaron Ramsey is capable of developing into Cesc Fabregas's role.
The Welshman's notorious injury in 2010 which dismantled his rapid growth have had an effect on the 20-year-old but with a full preseason alongside a solid end to 2010/2011, Ramsey is on track to become the promising world-class midfielder he was destined to be.
With the opportunity to step up and assume mass responsibility in the Arsenal midfield with Fabregas's departure, Ramsey could become the best midfielder in the English Premier League.
The ability is evident and the former Cardiff City playmaker can emulate Fabregas's achievements. Already a natural leader, captaining the Wales national team, and boasting a similar style to Fabregas in terms of movement and incisive passing, the up coming season could be Ramsey's campaign.
Of course, fans will demand Wenger materializes a replacement due to Ramsey's tenderness and the amount of funds at the Frenchman's disposal.
3. Marek Hamsik: Napoli
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One of the most influential and combative midfielders in the Italian Serie A, Marek Hamsik is valued at £35 million by Napoli and currently has AC Milan chasing aggressively to secure the Slovakian maestro.
Powerful, sharp and evasive, the 23-year-old is the icon of Slovakia football and the heart and soul of Napoli.
A natural leader and clinical attacker, Hamsik would be a superb replacement for Cesc Fabregas despite the amount. However Arsenal may be able to offer the services of the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Carlos Vela, Emmanuel Eboue or Nicklas Bendtner to reduce the cost of the Slovakian captain.
Although Hamsik does desire a move to AC Milan, he is a fan of Arsenal's flowing style and does possess the ambition to play UEFA Champions League football.
Whether Wenger will target the former Brescia dynamo remains to be unclear but there is no denying Marek Hamsik would be a strong replacement for Cesc Fabregas.
2.Yoann Gourcuff: Olympique Lyon
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The 24-year-old ticks all the boxes as one of the best replacements for Cesc Fabregas and many believe the former AC Milan starlet will thrive in the English Premier League. He is an intelligent, composed midfielder who possesses immense feet and an incisive passing range.
Considered one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe, Gourcuff enjoyed a strong club with French giants Lyon amassing 31 appearances and four goals but is rumoured to boast ambitions to play in the English Premier League.
Wenger's French ties would enable Arsenal to tempt Gourcuff; although it could come at up to £18 million, it would greatly mitigate the blow of Fabregas.
1. An Unknown Teenage Talent
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Wenger is yet to be heavily linked with a renowned midfielder and it would not surprise many if the French tactician secured the services of a unknown teenage talent, similar to Cesc Fabregas in 2004, who has the ability and potential to become World Football's best midfielder.
A cheap and potentially effective solution which Wenger thrives on, it could bring Arsenal success in 2011/2012 but more likely greatly frustrate the Arsenal faithful beyond concern.