The focus of the football world is Samir Nasri. The little mercurial midfield maestro, who was proclaimed the little Zidane is the centre of a massive tug of war.
Nasri has not signed a new contract, he says money is not the route of the dispute, Arsenal have offered £90,000 as week and Nasri wants in the region of £110,000 a week. If this is the reason then Arsenal should pay extra £20,000 a week (we make more than that in programme sales every home game). If however it is Nasri wanting to see who Arsenal bring in, then this will be a long and protracted saga.
There are four clubs showing an interest in Nasri, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Inter Milan. Nasri is in demand and holds most of the cards. Arsenal appear to have made it clear he will not be allowed to go cheaply, despite only a year left on his contract.
Manchester United were the first to proclaim an interest with it is reported representative of both sides having already met. Wenger however has gone on record stating he will not sell Nasri to United. This will strengthen United and make it harder for Arsenal to challenge for the title next season. Wenger is also hurting over the comments coming out of Old Trafford about Arsenal and our style of football and lack of trophies.
Manchester City were next on the scene. Arsenal are prepared to sell to City, knowing City will pay around £25M for Nasri. There are several players at City who could be thrown into the deal, namely Micah Richards. Richards is an Arsenal fan, a versatile defender and a player who would be ideal for Arsenal.
Chelsea today made an enquiry about Nasri, mentioning £22M. They also have players who they want to throw into the bargain. The only player worth considering is Florent Malouda. He is a strong, experienced player who scores and creates plenty of goals and would do a good job for Arsenal.
The final club are Inter Milan. Inter’s problem is money. They bought Ricardo Alvarez, supposedly an Arsenal target and that appears to be their transfer budget. Inter have several players that could interest Arsenal including Thiaggo Motta and Emiliano Viviano. To funds the Nasri deal, Inter will have to sell Sneijder to Manchester United. Wenger would prefer to sell to Inter as this will take Nasri away from the Premier League, however Wenger should be bold and offer cash plus Nasri for Sneijder. Arsenal should break the bank and offer the Dutch player £130,000 a week to lure him to the Emirates, that would be a best sign of intent Arsenal can show and it will infuriate Ferguson and all the Manchester United fans.
The final option is that Nasri will be convinced that with the arrival of Gervinho, hopefully Cahill and even Juan Mata that Arsenal are making the right signings that means we will seriously challenge next season.
Another transfer window means will Cesc go or will he stay. This is become repetitive and tedious. Many Arsenal fans are sick and tired of the annual Barcelona attempt to poach our captain for nothing!
Last summer was the summer we all thought Cesc would leave, he even asked to leave and told Arsene to his face he wanted to leave, or so the stories go. Fabregas was too clever to go public and risk the wrath of the Arsenal fans. When he never got his move he knuckled down and turned in a mediocre performance for most of the season, culminating in his pathetic flick at the Nou Camp that turned the tie against Arsenal.
Barcelona have made it clear they only has €45M to spend on all players this summer, knowing that this sum is not enough to prise away the former player from Arsenal. This claim of poverty does not stop Barcelona trying to buy Guiseppe Rossi for €35M.
There has been talk of Barcelona offer £30M plus two players, but Guardiolla is reluctant to let any of his youngsters leave the Nou Camp, in case they turn out like Cesc and it costs Barcelona £30M to bring each one back “home”. The Barcelona board are sick and tired of Pep’s annual obsession with Cesc and his reluctance to offer players in exchange to make the deal happen.
From Arsenal’s perspective we have heard that Wenger wants to keep Cesc, he has stated that his captain has a long contract and is not going anywhere. Many supporters however, suspect that a gentleman’s agreement was struck last summer between Cesc and Wenger in that Fabregas will be allowed to leave this summer if the offer meets Arsenal’s valuation.
Cesc is playing a blinder this summer. He is saying all the right things, “I just know that I am very happy where I am, if I tell you more I would be lying to you. Anything else would be speculation that is untrue because at this moment I have nothing else to add except that I am an Arsenal player and I’m very happy there.”
Cesc put the ball firmly in Wenger’s court, “There have been no decisions. It doesn’t always depend on the player and at the moment I don’t know anything.”
“I am in a very difficult position. I am not going to talk so that a transfer happens. I think I made a mistake last year, because then things happened as they did, and you learn from mistakes,” he said in reference to last year’s attempt to bounce the club into selling him.
It is clear to everyone that Cesc would like to leave and leave this summer. If this was not the case he should come out and say that he wants to honour the remainder of his contract unless the club decides to sell him. That would end all speculation, but we know that will never happen.
What is the best outcome for Arsenal?
Arsenal have reached a crossroads with Cesc, we cannot allow this saga to continue every summer and because of the financial muscle being flexed this summer by AC Milan and Inter Milan and the interest that Real Madrid have registered in Fabregas, Arsenal should sell Cesc to the highest bidder. A fee of £50M is not out of the question and it will flush out Barcelona’s real intentions. Arsenal can then present the various options to Cesc and tell him to either choose one of these clubs or sign a new extension to his contract and get a public statement from Cesc that he is committing his future to the club.
It is time Arsenal started to call the tune in the Cesc saga, not Barcelona who think they are entitled to Cesc on the cheap as he was one of their former players that we poached (something Barcelona have just done to Leeds United with Elliot Kebbie).
If Cesc goes there will not be many tears at the Emirates as we are sick and tired of this annual saga, plus in Wilshere we have a player that will be better than Cesc.
Whilst we are looking forward to players arriving next season, a squad can only have so many players, so inevitably there will be departures.
The possible or rather imminent departure of Adebayor has been well documented, but the Togolese striker will not be alone.
Reports today have Inter Milan wanting van Persie and Mourinho is prepared to spend £25 million for the Dutch striker. How much of this story is from van Persie’s agent trying to play hardball with Arsenal and how much is genuine Inter floating an idea to see what the reaction is we do not know. What we know is that Wenger wants van Persie to sign a new contract, something the Dutchman has stalled over. Whilst Arsene wants van Persie to stay, he will not allow him to blackmail the club. Wenger is thinking ahead and Dzeko’s arrival could signal his acceptance of both Adebayor and van Persie’s departure.
Defence is the area where there could be several departures.
Senderos wishes to stay in Milan, and he can stay there with our blessing. His heart is not at Arsenal and Wenger has seen enough of him to be prepared to listen to offers from any club.
Two “veterans” have been rumoured to be leaving. Silvestre has not been a success and if Wenger was honest with himself he would let him leave on free transfer. Gallas is not happy, he had the captaincy stripped from him and appears a lonely figure in the changing room with few friends. It would be a shame to lose Gallas as his experience is so valuable and he is such a great defender. It is no coincidence that our defensive failing came to the fore when Gallas was out injured at the crucial part of the season.
The final player who could be leaving is Eboue who is not happy with his squad role at the club. Eboue has stated that there are several clubs interested in him. I imagine Eboue is positioning himself for a new contract. Wenger will not have any of this from a player who is only considered a deputy for the right-back role. We have too many good right-wingers to have to rely upon Eboue for the forthcoming season. If a club comes in with a good offer for Eboue, Wenger will not hesitate in selling Eboue.
One thing is for sure, there will be several players leaving this summer, so before buying a replica shirt this summer, wait until all the comings and goings have been completed or you could end up an Eboue shirt and he could be at Atletico Madrid.
It was rumoured that Atletico Madrid made an enquiry for Eboue during the transfer window. Arsenal were not interested, and have reportedly offered him a new contract, which thankfully he has yet to sign.
Stories are now emerging that both Inter Milan and Juventus are looking at offering our Ivorian talent a contract in the summer and signing him on a Bosman.
Following the signing of Arshavin, I did not things could get any better, but to realise that we might not be seeing Eboue in Arsenal shirt next season must increase our title chances. We have no need for him anymore; some might say we had no need for him ever! Never has an Arsenal player cheated or dived more than Eboue, never has an Arsenal player attracted more jeers from his own fans than Eboue. With the signing of Arshavin, the return to fitness of Rosicky and Walcott, we will have no need of lightening speed and trickery on the wing.
Eboue you have served your time at this club and we have suffered enough of your tantrums, your incompetence and laziness is just too much for us, pack your bags and head off to Italy.