Johan Djourou insists the Arsenal squad cannot concern themselves with whether or not Cesc Fabregas will still be around to lead the club next season.
The Gunners – understood to be on the verge of completing an £11million move for Ivory Coast striker Gervinho from Lille – are set to head to Asia for a lucrative tour on Sunday, with speculation continuing over whether or not wantaway captain Fabregas will be on the plane.
Barcelona are determined to bring their former trainee back to the Nou Camp, but appear unwilling to meet Arsenal’s £40million valuation with vice-president Josep Bartomeu calmly maintaining “we have the whole summer to sign players.” and it is believed that they are willing to wait until the last minute of the transfer window to conclude the transfer.
While Fabregas does not want to leave the club he joined as a teenager in 2003 on bad terms, it remains to be seen whether he would be prepared to effectively go on strike and not join the rest of the group to front up the Far East tour in a bid to push through a move before the Barclays Premier League season starts.
“We know there will be stories but we know what we’re aiming for and what our goal is,” Djourou told the BBC.
“We want to be successful so we don’t really get distracted by this. If he [Fabregas] goes, he goes.”
- [Confirmed Lineups] Arsenal v Crystal Palace – Jenkinson, Mavropanos, & Ozil Start
- Lacazette, Aubameyang & Ozil Start – Arsenal v Crystal Palace [Predicted Lineup]
- [Team News] Arsenal v Crystal Palace – Update On Aaron Ramsey Injury
Djourou, however, accepts sometimes when a star name leaves, it actually allows others an opportunity such as Wilshire and Ramsey.
“It could be true because when you look at players who normally come out and express themselves, it’s when someone goes,” Djourou added in Match of the Day magazine.
“When Thierry [Henry] went, Cesc expressed himself even more, but the two together [Fabregas and Nasri] are great so you’d rather keep them.
“If someone goes then I am sure someone will step up.”
Arsenal imploded after losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham in the last minute at Wembley, crashing out of Europe and then the FA Cup before any hopes of a sustained league title also fell by the wayside. But Djourou is confident Wenger has learned from those bitter experiences as they look to end a trophyless run which stretches back to the 2005 FA Cup.
“Last season we were so close to trophies, but also so far. There was a little bit missing but it’s not much,” he said.
“Sometimes you are missing a little something to give you what you deserve. It’s hard to say what’s missing. We have players who are still young and who will grow up. Experience is very important, but now if you look around this team we have been here for a long time, so it’s no more an excuse to say we don’t have experience.”
Like Djourou said, it will pave the way for Nasri (if he stays), Wilshire, Ramsey, perhaps Diaby to step up. But if we get £65m from the sales of Fabregas and Nasri, you’d hope Wenger buys at least one more star such as Juan Mata to fill the creative void, and get some solid defensive reinforcements.