Arsenal have given up in trying to keep Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri from leaving North London with manager Arsene Wenger telling chief executive Ivan Gazidis to go ahead and sell the pair. With that, it appears as if Fabregas will make his desired move to Barcelona, while Nasri will head north to Manchester City. The sales will bring in roughly£60 million that Wenger plans to use immediately in an effort to replace the two and fill a hole along the defense.
Fabregas has spent the last two years linked to Barcelona and he has done nothing to stop the talk by continually admitting that he would like a move back to the Camp Nou, while Barcelona have put in bids and made no secret of their desire to bring the Spaniard home. Now Fabregas will finally make the move for an estimated £40 million where he can join Javier Mascherano as surplus in the Barcelona midfield.
Nasri has just one year left on his contract at Arsenal and made it clear that if he were to play out the last year, he would look for another club that has been more successful on a free transfer. The Gunners had no interest in losing Nasri without getting anything in return, while both Manchester United and Manchester City showed interest. It was City who continued to pursue him as the summer went on while United gave up the chase and now the Frenchman has his move, joining the Citizens at Eastland for an estimated £20 million.
Losing Fabregas isn't much of a surprise. Barcelona has been chasing him for so long and the midfielder has made it clear that he would like to make a move so it was assumed that he would eventually be sold. It was just a matter of when and for how much. Nasri's sale is more of a surprise for Wenger and Arsenal who were close to a contract extension with the Frenchman in February. Now he is on his way out and Arsenal have some work to do.
With the season just two days away, Wenger doesn't have much time to waste in bringing in reinforcements. He will not be able to get signings in for the season opener versus Newcastle on Saturday, but he will have to get them in soon because the rest of the schedule before the transfer window closes is tough. They are home to Udinese in a Champions League playoff, home to Liverpool, away to Udinese in the second leg of the playoff and away to Manchester United.
The sales of Fabregas and Nasri can fund plenty of buying. Wenger is expected to make a new bid for Valencia's Juan Mata, but he will need two more signings, one in the attack and one in defense. That is without getting into Arsenal's goalkeeper problem that remains unattended to.
This is a major moment in Wenger's Arsenal tenure. He has holes in his team and money to fill them, but he will have to do so wisely and quickly. With City's emergence and Liverpool's recent buying they are in danger of missing out on the top four this season. If he cannot buy well, Arsenal might even be looking at a battle just to stay ahead of rivals Tottenham so the next three weeks are among the most important Wenger have ever faced.