Arsenal have lost the battle to hold on to superstars Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, reports The Guardian among others, and both are set to join their new clubs. Fabregas will join boyhood club Barcelona for £40 million, while Nasri travels North to join Manchester City for £23 million.
At first glance, the moves appear to serve the only purpose of heavily weakening Arsenal's squad, but Liverpool management will be asking themselves how these transfers will be affecting their Premier League efforts.
The biggest way the moves will affect the Anfield club is in the fact that Arsenal and Liverpool have been chasing largely the same players this transfer season. Several of Liverpool's top targets have been linked with Arsenal as well.
The reason Arsenal have been unable to make moves on some of those players is because they have been low on money. The Fabregas and Nasri transfers will bring in an excess of £60 million pounds that Arsenal can now spend on players Liverpool fans had hoped to see at Anfield.
Arsenal are likely to start by going after a centre back. With the often injured Thomas Vermaelen and Swiss youngster Johan Djourou being the only defenders of real quality, Arsenal, like Liverpool, have been looking for upgrades.
Two names that have come up a lot in Arsenal transfer rumours are those of Scott Dann and Gary Cahill. Liverpool have been chasing Dann all summer, with the boyhood hero wanting a return to Merseyside. Cahill has also been linked with Liverpool, and he would bring the size and strength that Liverpool so badly need in their defense. It appears the clubs will sign one each; Liverpool may have to pounce now to get the one they want.
Arsenal are also going to look to strengthen their midfield with their two best options leaving. Juan Mata is a player who has been rumoured to be Arsene Wenger's choice as the replacement for Samir Nasri. Liverpool were after him early in the summer, but while they chose to sign Stewart Downing there are still reports lingering that Dalglish may not be done with offers for Mata.
Arsenal may also make an ultimatum bid for starlet Eden Hazard, who Liverpool have been desperate to sign. The youngster is one of the brightest young talents in world football and him signing for Arsenal would be a massive blow to the Anfield club.
If Liverpool want to sign the players they have been chasing, they need to pounce now. They have the money to make transfers, and there is room for improvement in the squad. You cannot allow a rival like Arsenal to strengthen under your noses. Kenny Dalglish would be well advised to sign at least two of the above targets.
Obviously, for know Arsenal are a significantly weakened team. Fabregas and Nasri were arguably their two most valuable players, and all of a sudden the midfield looks weak. Liverpool travel to the Emirates to play Arsenal on August 20, just two days into the new season. It would be surprising if Arsenal had already reallocated that money into new investments. The majority of the signings are likely to take place in the days and hours leading up to the deadline.
This gives Liverpool a good chance to win an important game. While Arsenal are experiencing the same temporary downward spiral Liverpool did a few years ago, you have to remember that they are still a strong team and will still be near the top of the table come May. The head-to-head games will almost certainly come down to being very important for both teams. Liverpool need to capitalize now.
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