Many are wondering how Arsenal should replace Cesc Fabregas, who has finally made his return to the Camp Nou where he won his first piece of silverware in six years after playing ten minutes for Barcelona. Arsene Wenger has a decision to make: Should he buy a replacement for Fabregas or stick with what he has in center midfield?
In my opinion, Arsenal do not need to purchase an expensive replacement for Fabregas. Jack Wilshere (19) and Aaron Ramsey (20) are on the cusp of stardom. Wilshere emerged as a top talent last season, while Ramsey is regaining the form he had before his horrific injury. Both of these players can fill the Gunners’ needs in the center of the park.
Tactically, Arsene Wenger can benefit from the departure of Fabregas. The Spanish midfielder, especially in the last two seasons, limited the formations Wenger could choose from. Cesc liked to play right behind the striker as a central attacking midfielder. So, Wenger was forced to adopt a 4-2-3-1 (or 4-5-1). Too many times last season Jack Wilshere played as a holding midfielder when he can bring so much more to the attack.
If Wenger does not buy a direct replacement for Cesc, Arsenal can play in a 4-3-3 or even a 4-4-2, if he wishes. Wilshere and Ramsey both show qualities of becoming box-to-box midfield generals. Wilshere, in particularly, has great vision and elusiveness. While he is also a ball-winner, it would be a shame to waste Wilshere’s attacking talent.
Fabregas, while taking a break from kissing the Barcelona crest, said this about the Gunners’ young stars: “I’ve seen Aaron for three years and Jack for two-and-a-half years. Jack will be the next England captain in a few years, that’s not even a question.
“You don’t have to be a magician to know that he’s got the capacity to dribble and to pass. He will go on to become a top player of the future. There’s not even a question about that.
“Aaron has done unbelievable and he will get better with his final ball. He’ll become the next big star at Arsenal. Jack and Aaron are the future, and they will do so well because they are competitive and they are winners. They will be amazing for the club.”
Cesc Fabregas’ ill-advised back heel in Barcelona was a testament to his lack of versatility. He was a great play-maker and had extraordinary vision, but he became a distraction at the Emirates. It was time for Cesc to go.
Wenger should not buy Juan Mata from Valencia or Jadson from Shakhtar Donetsk to fill in for the loss of Fabregas. Both of these players would be expensive additions (Mata especially) and would restrict Wenger’s choice of formations. If Nasri leaves, then signing Mata as his replacement is a better option.
Someone like Scott Parker would be a great fit for Arsenal. He could play alongside Wilshere and Ramsey/Alex Song in a 4-3-3. Parker is a multidimensional player, and two-way players are rare these days. There are just too many attacking and holding midfielders in the game today.
According to reports, Barcelona paid Arsenal a down payment of €14.5m for Fabregas, with the rest to come later. Instead of spending that money on a midfielder, Arsene Wenger should be focused on securing his backline. Arsenal’s need for a center-back far outweighs their need for a Cesc Fabregas replacement.
In conclusion, Arsenal do not need to rush out and panic buy (as if Wenger ever panic buys) to compensate for the loss of Fabregas. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey can play in the middle without inhibiting the amount of formations available to Arsenal. Barcelona’s cash should be used to strengthen the back four, not replace Cesc.