Everyone knows Arsenal's squad is not perfect.
The Gunners finished fourth last season, throwing away numerous chances at winning the title, and they have not yet been improved in any way.
Moreover, key players from last season are leaving: Bacary Sagna was an absolute stalwart at right-back (as he has in the last seven seasons), Lukasz Fabianski played a large part in Arsenal's FA Cup triumph and Thomas Vermaelen is likely to leave given his dearth of playing time.
These three are going to be difficult to replace adequately in one summer.
That's not all Arsenal have to do: they clearly need a striker, a defensive midfielder and probably another winger in addition to what they currently have.
All of that at least partially explains why Arsenal just rejected the chance to bring prodigal son Cesc Fabregas back to the club for a cut-rate fee. After several days of rampant speculation, the BBC's respected David Ornstein shut down the rumors:
Arsenal have informed Barcelona they won't be exercising buy-back option on Fabregas. He was keen but #afc not seeking a creative midfielder— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) June 5, 2014
It was a harsh message for Gooners trying to relax on Thursday, but it was going to be disseminated sooner or later. Surely the nearly universal report that Barcelona are intent on letting Fabregas go is true, but now it seems abundantly clear he will not be headed back to Arsenal.
While Fabregas is not strictly needed for footaballing reasons, his re-signing would give the team's morale a tremendous boost, cause more celebration amongst the club's beleaguered supporters after the triumphant end to the season and add amazing depth to the squad.
There are quite logical reasons to not bring Fabregas back, of course. Manager Arsene Wenger obviously calculated that snagging the Spaniard would have been a net loss, all things considered.
In doing so, he must have come to the conclusion that the money he would be spending on Fabregas would be better used elsewhere.
But he must intend the money to be spent elsewhere.
Because now—in addition to the nagging naysayers Wenger always has at the ends of transfer windows—he will also have to deal with those who continuously question him for letting Fabregas go to Chelsea.
Every game the two play will be a spectacle.
This is the summer when Arsenal have to do something drastic to improve the team. Laurent Koscielny knows this, as he told Sky Sports:
We'll need a goalkeeper, a right back, a midfielder and a striker.
It's important to have a minimum of these four players so that we'll be better able to challenge over the course of a whole season against teams like Manchester City, Chelsea or (Manchester) United. Winning the FA Cup can change things and lead to other players coming.
We need to recruit a very, very good striker, because it's important for us, for competition for places, because Olivier needs that to become even better.
Having a striker who scores more than 30 goals a season can help us win the Premier League. Compared to the squads like Manchester City, even United, Chelsea, you can see there's a certain difference.
Koscielny's comments are exceedingly frank for a player commenting on his own club, but he hit the mark perfectly. Arsenal need significant upgrades in several areas and must act quickly now that they have extricated themselves from the Fabregas quagmire.
And the Gunners will be under more pressure—not merely to act, but to act dramatically. When you pass on an historic deal to bring back a legend in his prime, you must prove to the fans you are worthy of their trust.
When players from within your own camp point out the blindingly obvious, the manager is put under even more pressure to move.
It's Arsene Wenger's turn now, and he has quite a lot on the line.
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