Cesc Fabregas out... but who's coming in at Arsenal?

20 May 2010 07:13
The end of an era is very nearly upon us. Arsenal's talismanic captain Cesc Fabregas looks set to move back to Barcelona - leaving a gaping hole in the Gunners' midfield. [LNB]Fabregas scored 50 goals in 269 games during his seven years in north London - but his sphere of influence on the pitch stretched further than just goals. [LNB]The driving force at the heart of Arsene Wenger's young side, the creative catalyst and often the difference between Arsenal winning and losing. [LNB] Team-mates? Fabregas could be lining up against his old friend Messi next season[LNB]But the lure of a move home, to the club where he started his career, has proven to tempting an opportunity to pass up. [LNB]He has the chance to add championship titles and European glory to his miserly record of just one FA Cup winners medal at Arsenal - which he won back in 2005.[LNB]So, who's going to replace him? Sportsmail takes a look at the Fab Five who could fill his boots[LNB]Wesley SneijderAge: 25 Nationality: Dutch Club: Inter Milan Cost: £35m[LNB]A revelation in this season's Champions League, Sneijder seems a perfect fit for the outgoing Fabregas. [LNB]The Holland international has been the driving force behind Inter's European challenge - dictating midfield with skill and a passing style much in keeping with the Arsenal's. [LNB]And with Jose Mourinho's future anything but settled now could be the ideal time to prise him away from the San Siro.[LNB] Arsenal-bound? Sneijder has been in fabulous form with Inter this year[LNB]Mikel Arteta Age: 28 Nationality: Spanish Club: Everton Cost: £25m[LNB]A name often linked with a move to the Emirates and a player Wenger admires - Arteta has just enjoyed yet another fine season with Everton. [LNB]After 10 months out with a knee ligament injury, Arteta returned to invigorate the Toffees' season. [LNB]A year which looked certain to end in a relegation scrap finished with David Moyes' team just outside the European spots - thanks, in main, to the Spaniard.[LNB]Technically very gifted, tough in the battle and, crucially, he has bags of Premier League experience. [LNB] Sticky position: Would Arsenal be able to prise Arteta away from Toffees[LNB]Luka Modric Age: 24 Nationality: Croatian Club: Tottenham Cost £30m[LNB]Revitalised at Tottenham since the arrival of Harry Redknapp, the Croatian has been described as the one 'world class player' at the club by his manager. [LNB]A tireless worker who is happier playing in an advanced role but two factors would hamper any potential move down the Seven Sisters road to the Emirates. [LNB]Tottenham are highly unlikely to sanction any move for another of their stars to the Gunners and Spurs' Champions League qualification is sure to satisfy the Croatian's ambitions. For now. [LNB] Contentious move: Modric would fit in but would Spurs let him leave[LNB]Yoann GourcuffAge: 23 Nationality: French Club: Bordeaux Cost: £25m [LNB]Another player to have flourished in this season's Champions League, Gourcuff has attracted the attention of a number of Europe's elite. [LNB]The Bordeaux playmaker was instrumental as his team won through to the quarter-finals but the club fell short in the league - finishing sixth. [LNB]And with Les Girondins' manager Laurent Blanc primed to replace Raymond Domenech as the France national coach after the World Cup, the Gunners have a great opportunity to steal in. [LNB] Hot property: Gourcuff is being chased by Europe's elite clubs[LNB]Eden HazardAge: 19 Nationality: Belgium Club: Lille Cost: £25m[LNB]Currently being tracked by all of Europe's big club's but the pacy  Belgium international has made it clear he will only leave Lille for one of two clubs. [LNB]And it's good news for Arsenal, Hazard said in an interview in April: 'If one day I leave Lille, I will go to Real or Arsenal.' [LNB]Of the options in front of him, Wenger will definitely see Hazard as the best fit for Arsenal but may opt for a player with more experience. [LNB] No danger: Hazard has made it clear he favours a move to Arsenal[LNB]P.S. What about Jack Wilshere?When Cesc first came on to the scene Arsenal's midfield was dominated by giants such as Patrick Vieira and Gilberto. [LNB]And now Arsenal have a like-for-like replacement in Wilshere who has enjoyed an excellent spell on loan with Bolton the season. He surely deserves a chance. [LNB] Cesc is going home to Barcelona: all that's left is for Arsenal to agree a fee Barca promise to respect Arsenal - as they step up bid to take Fabregas homeCesc Fabregas Barcelona deal hit by Yaya Toure snubbing Arsenal for better offers - as Manchester City eye IvorianARSENAL FC

Source: Daily_Mail