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Groves: Ambition driving Fab to Barca
Published : 20 May 2010 16:47:00
Former Arsenal winger Perry Groves believes the club's failure to win a trophy in the last five years has persuaded Cesc Fabregas to leave. The Spain international has emerged as Barcelona's next major transfer target after the 23-year-old said he would welcome a move back to the club he left for the Gunners seven years ago. Groves is convinced a lack of silverware at the Emirates Stadium - the last trophy they won was the FA Cup in 2005 - has played a major factor in Fabregas' decision. "I don't think it is a real surprise as it seemed if Arsenal didn't win anything this year he would probably want to leave," Groves said. "He is coming to the peak of his career, he is very influential in European football, but he has not won anything for five years. "With Cesc it is not about being greedy or money but ambition. It is all about trophies. "He can see Arsenal are a fair way from Manchester United and Chelsea and Arsene Wenger needs to sign about four players in the summer. "Barcelona are winning trophies and Cesc wants to fill his trophy cabinet. "I don't think he would have looked at Barcelona if Arsenal were winning trophies." Groves also thinks Fabregas may consider playing in Spain is better for his long-term future. Compatriot and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has already stated, after three seasons in the Premier League, that English football may have contributed to his injury problems. "It is a little less physical in La Liga than the Premier League and Cesc has seen horrific injuries to Eduardo and Aaron Ramsey in recent seasons," added Groves. "Barcelona and Real Madrid finished 25-plus points ahead of the other sides and they will get easy games against teams in the middle of the table - you don't get that in the Premier League." Fabregas has a contract with Arsenal until 2014 so, technically, manager Wenger could refuse to countenance a move. Wenger is already planning moves to bolster his squad, with the confirmation of Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh's free transfer from Bordeaux set to be confirmed shortly. Winger Alexander Hleb left Arsenal for Barcelona two years ago, and the Belarus player has been reportedly offered as a potential makeweight in any Fabregas deal, with Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic other possible options. Groves, a cult figure among Arsenal fans, admits chances of keeping prize asset Fabregas are remote. "I think Arsene has probably said to Cesc to give them one more season - like Sir Alex Ferguson did with Cristiano Ronaldo," said Groves, speaking at the launch of Football Replay - an initiative to get more men aged over 35 involved in five-a-side football. "Unfortunately for Cesc it is more of a calling. Barcelona is the only team he would leave Arsenal for. "If Arsenal want to play hard-ball they could do what Martin O'Neill did with Gareth Barry at Aston Villa (when Liverpool first expressed their interest), saying he has a long contract. "Martin O'Neill knew Barry would still give 100% and would not be disruptive around the dressing room and I think Cesc would be the same. "But no-one is bigger than the club and Arsenal have let a lot of good players go in the last three or four years." Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright takes a similar view to Groves, telling talkSPORT: "You cannot keep players of the calibre of Cesc Fabregas when he's got so much to do. "He is looking at Barcelona winning stuff, at them with Lionel Messi, the best player in the world in the team. "It's not about money. It's about the fact that he wants to get to a level where he can compete and win the greatest honours in the game. "That's why I was so disappointed when Thierry Henry went to Barcelona and he won it [the Champions League] because it seems like you have to leave Arsenal to get to the next level and that is why we have gone backwards. "For some reason we cannot attract the great players, that are going to keep people like Cesc Fabregas there, to Arsenal anymore - how can you blame him for wanting to go?"