Welcome to the Emirates Stadium, the home of continuous transfer soap operas. Reports today are suggesting that Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, as well as French international Samir Nasri could leave the Gunners before the weekend. What will that mean for Arsenal, considering they play their first match Saturday afternoon?
With the Fabregas saga being a constant over the past few seasons, Arsenal fans are not very surprised this time around. Meanwhile, the Nasri episode may have come as a surprise in some ways. With Wenger on the verge of losing two of his most creative midfielders just two days before the beginning of the new season, he certainly is not getting much sleep.
Nasri appears to be just a few minor details from signing a very lucrative contract with Manchester City. According to the latest reports, a £22 million deal for Nasri could be completed as soon as Friday. Wenger's other dilemma is not whether he wants to part ways with Fabregas, because it already seems like he's made up his mind, but whether he wants to agree to the transfer terms Barcelona is offering Arsenal.
Arsenal is looking to receive £25.5 million up front for the Fabregas deal, with the remaining amount being paid over the next 12 months. Barcelona's latest offer suggests they will pay £18 million with the rest coming the following year.
So with both deals appearing to be on the verge of being completed, who is going to fill in the voids left behind? Considering Fabregas didn't take part in any preseason games, Wenger has had plenty of time to figure out who will be his replacement. Nasri, on the other hand, did play in majority of the preseason but at times seemed very disinterested.
At the moment, a healthy Arsenal will more than likely line up with Song in the defensive role, with Theo Walcott and possibly Gervinho out wide. You then throw Wilshere in the center of the park, and you are now left with two positions to fill. Wenger could very well turn to Andrei Arshavin to play a central role, which as he has stated many times, he would very much welcome. With Arshavin pulling the strings in the attacking midfield role, Robin van Persie would be in charge of finding the back of the net, something he enjoys doing as long as he can stay healthy.
Another alternative would be to play Arshavin out wide, allowing Gervinho to play as the loan striker, with van Persie behind him, pulling the strings. Van Persie's vision of the game and ability to drop back and organize the offense could be important for Arsenal. Tomas Rosicky would be the ideal player who could fill in for Fabregas, if not for his devastating injuries, which have changed his impact on the pitch dramatically.
With the sale of Fabregas and Nasri, Arsenal could bring in an estimated £50 million by the end of this weekend. The real question remaining is whether Wenger will use that money to improve his squad or if he will continue with his stubborn mentality and believe Arsenal have what it takes.
The Gunners still are in need of a proven and matured center back who can bring some experience as well as aggressiveness to the Arsenal back line. With Fabregas and Nasri surely on there way out, he should consider bringing in another outside winger and possibly another creative midfielder.
So now Arsenal fans will wait for what appears to be inevitable—the sale of Fabregas and Nasri. The Gunners will look to, in some ways, rebuild from losing two of their most influential midfielders on the squad. Now will be the time for Wilshere, Arshavin and even Aaron Ramsey to step up and show they can help fill the void.