Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Top Guns Adding to Summer of Uncertainty at Arsenal

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Top Guns Adding to Summer of Uncertainty at Arsenal

Article excerpt

DAYS after David Dein was forced out of Arsenal by the rest of the board, Arsene Wenger called the first-team squad together at the training ground to reassure them that the departure did not affect his own long-term commit


But it was clearly not enough to put the minds of the players at rest.

In an interview with Standard Sport last Friday, Gilberto hinted at the possibility of unrest in the camp by revealing that some of the players were concerned at Wengers reluctance to sign beyond June 2008.

Cesc Fabregass candid comments to the Spanish media today have gone a few steps further and set the alarm bells ringing.

His claim that his own future at Arsenal is inextricably linked to Wengers is not altogether surprising given that it was the Frenchman who, after stealing the Spaniard from under the noses of Barcelona, threw him into the first team as a 16-year-old and has kept him there almost ever since.

But Fabregass disclosure that his perception of the club has been changed by boardroom events should be of huge concern to anyone of the red-and-white persuasion.

While stating that he is happy in London and on an individual level Im happy at Arsenal, his words are a thinly-veiled hint that, should Wenger not extend his contract beyond next summer, he will be on his way, probably to Barcelona or Real Madrid.

The midfielder is speaking from a position of strength. He knows that, unlike his countryman Jose Reyes, who engineered his own exit from the Emirates Stadium, he can have the pick of the top Continental clubs any time he feels his ambitions cannot be satisfied at Arsenal.

At the heart of the uncertainty of Fabregas and probably quite a few of the senior players is Wengers unwillingness to rush into signing a new deal.

At the end of the domestic season, the Frenchman said he would talk with the remaining directors over the summer and pointed out that it is not a new situation

his present deal was signed only nine months before the previous one expired. …

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