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If any Arsenal fans were watching England's friendly against Ecuador on Wednesday night, presumably they were doing so whilst rolling their eyes. They cannot have been surprised that two of their midfielders, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, were both injured while on international duty, Arsenal midfielders picking up injuries of any sort being more an inevitability than a possibility.
Running parallel to the England game was a debate about whether Arsenal need Cesc Fabregas. The midfielder is of course available from Barcelona, his three years in Catalunya seemingly coming to an end after some success if you measure such things solely in trophies, but perhaps not in terms of his personal form. Fabregas was signed to eventually take over from Xavi, but that Barca are seemingly keen to get rid and instead chase Koke or Ivan Rakitic, tells us that plan will not come to fruition.
The word on the street (the internet street) is that Arsenal have turned down the buy-back/first refusal option they had placed in the agreement to sell Fabregas, with him available for around £27million. Apparently, Arsene Wenger believes he is well-stocked for creative midfielders, and thus isn't keen on a reunion.
Of course, it's true that Arsenal don't need a player of Fabregas's ilk, but does that mean they shouldn't buy him? Absolutely not. The concept of having 'too many' brilliant players is an odd one at any club, but particularly at Arsenal, where injuries routinely tear the guts out of their side and derail any chance they might have for a genuine title bid. Last season they were going great guns until Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and others were inevitably felled, to which Wenger's response was to sign an ageing Swede who turned out to have a cracked vertebrae. Frankly, Wenger might as well have registered Gunnersaurus for all the good Kim Kallstrom did them.
Arsenal are turning Fabregas down on the basis that they have enough players in his position. And sure, with Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla already knocking around, the midfield is a little crowded, but Fabregas is better than all of those bar Ozil, and possibly Ramsey if he keeps up last season's form.
Wenger should not be fretting about how he would get Fabregas in his first-choice XI, because his first-choice XI are so rarely all fit at the same time that it's something of a moot point - Arsenal, of all teams, should recognise that they need as many class players as possible. And in any case, Fabregas is versatile, able to play in a deeper midfield role, as a No.10, a forward or, at a push, on the flanks - his adaptability merely adds to his allure.
Obviously there are areas of the Arsenal team that require more urgent attention, with vacancies at right-back and goalkeeper adding to requirements for a centre-back, a proper defensive midfielder, definitely a striker and maybe a winger. However, Arsenal have been telling us for years that now they have stacks of cash with which they can compete with the biggest spenders in the game, so surely they could afford some/all of those as well as Fabregas?
Indeed, for those Arsenal fans keen on the idea, the apparent reluctance to bring back Fabregas on the basis that they have more pressing needs would probably be rather easier to take if they could trust Wenger to convincingly satisfy those needs. As it is, the chances are we will see another textbook Arsenal transfer window, with plenty of rumours, plenty of talk about the right player coming along and ultimately a couple of underwhelming recruits as well as possibly one reasonably exciting buy. That will be okay, but not the sort of shopping spree that will make them proper title contenders.
And, of course, the crowning turd in the waterpipe is that if Arsenal don't buy Fabregas, they are merely making it easier for Chelsea to bring in a custom replacement for Frank Lampard, should both he and Jose Mourinho be persuaded they can stand to be in the same room as each other.
Arsenal are being offered one of Europe's best midfielders for, by the standards of the current transfer market, a very reasonable price, and they are turning it down. Re-signing Fabregas might have been seen by some as a sentimental choice, but it is actually one of the most pragmatic things Wenger could have done this summer.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter here
At first I agreed that bringing back Cesc didn't make sense because of where we needed to strengthen..but f**k it, bring him home, Arsene!- Jay_D