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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Summer clearout inevitable after another trophyless season

Arsenal’s dreams of lifting silverware are over for another year after what was the most disappointing evening since the Champions League final in 2006. Everything changed with just one slip and had Kieran Gibbs kept his footing we could be talking about a trip to Rome based on the start Arsenal made. As much as it pains me to say it though, that one unlucky moment aside, Manchester United were the better side over two legs and I was very impressed by how they neutralised Arsenal’s passing game. Other than being very disappointed in the result my biggest fear now is that some of our star players will walk away in search of a club that actually wins the top prizes.

For the majority of the season we have heard rumblings that Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas could be leaving in the summer. The Adebayor rumours have quickly resurfaced after our exit from the Champions League so I wouldn’t be surprised, or disappointed, to see the lazy Togolese international turn up in Italy or Spain next season. To lose Adebayor wouldn’t be the worst situation in the world as I believe he isn’t any better than Nicklas Bendtner right now, the Danish striker having come on leaps and bounds since the New Year.

However the other two I mentioned, Fabergas and van Persie, would be huge losses should they decide to continue their careers elsewhere. Fabregas is Arsenal’s big hope, he is the one Wenger expects to become a world beater very soon and if they were to lose him then Wenger’s position may come under serious threat. The reality is that there is a chance Fabregas will leave in the summer having had a taste for success with Spain in the European Championships the 22-year-old understandably wants more. The fight will come if Barcelona try to bring the central midfielder ‘home’ and Wenger has to try to persuade Fabregas that he will achieve the success he desires at the Emirates very soon.

The same problem will come if van Persie wants to leave having heard him say this season that he would like to achieve more in his career. The Dutchman has been excellent for the majority of the season and it is no wonder Barcelona have been linked with him in the red tops. His failure to sign a new deal with the Gunners is also a concern, leaving the door open for him to walk away come the end of next season.

Arsenal needed to win that game on Tuesday night, not only for the chance to lift the European Cup but to also persuade some of our top players that it is worth sticking around. A lot of footballers have become mercenaries with their only interests coming in the categories of success and money. Loyalty is rare in this day and age, Cashley’s departure being a prime example of that, and if they don’t get either the money they want or the success they desire then many players will have no problem packing their bags and leaving.

I hope I am wrong about the three I have mentioned but their failure to really come out and say they want to stay with Arsenal for the rest of their career doesn’t give me much hope. It seems a safe football bet that Wenger will have a busy summer not only trying to bring in some new players but trying to keep the good ones we have.

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