If you’re like me, you’ll be taking great pleasure from the fact that it looks as if Cesc Fabregas is finally on his way to Barcelona.
For the figures that are being bandied around, Arsenal could actually go out and strengthen their team with the proceeds. I think that even without Fabregas, their side as a whole would be improved by signing a top striker, goalkeeper and central defender.
But will Wenger actually go out and spend the cash? It’s doubtful, considering that Arsenal must have had money in the bank for the past few seasons and he still hasn’t made any major purchases. Wenger used to be a pragmatic manager who wanted to build a winning team, but now he’s just a dreamer searching for the perfect one.
It’s not just Arsenal that are likely to be weaker. It looks as if Rafa Benitez might be staying at Liverpool and will be continuing to make terrible signings, before complaining that he hasn’t got the money to build a better team. Torres will go and if Gerrard has a good World Cup, then perhaps one of Spain or Italy’s elite will make a move for him also.
I don’t expect Manchester United to be weaker, but considering that Ferguson is claiming that they will only sign one more player, it’s also hard to see them getting much stronger. Much of their success in recent years has been built on the foundation that is Ferdinand and Vidic’s partnership, but the former is not getting any younger and has been dogged by injuries all season.
It’s difficult to see Villa and Everton becoming significantly better either. They will be desperate to hold on to Milner and Arteta respectively, but neither are going to have pots of money to throw around unless they sacrifice their most valuable assets.
Of our rivals, the only teams I can see getting much stronger are Chelsea and Manchester City. Chelsea don’t need to make a lot of purchases, but will probably be in the market for one or two special players who could make a real difference for them and give them a shot at the Champions League. Torres or Arguero spring to mind and if they get someone like that, then they’ll be short priced favourites to retain the Premier League.
City will have another crazy summer, where they will probably blow lots of cash on players who have performed well at the World Cup and are looking for a move to England. Their lack of a Champions League place will stop them from the world’s biggest stars, but there’s nothing to stop them recruiting some of the world’s best young stars and domestic talent like James Milner.
So while I won’t be placing a large bet on us to finish above Chelsea next season, I see plenty of reason to believe that at the very least, we can retain our position within the top four. City will be stronger, but I still think that we’ll have a better squad than them next season.
There’s not many teams around who are able to spend major money this summer, but we’re one of them. We also go into negotiations in a position of power, as we’ve actually got a very solid side without any major weaknesses that need to be addressed. It wouldn’t be wise to go into next season without making any major signings, but neither would it be disastrous.
I’m normally bursting with excitement at the prospect of watching a World Cup, but right now I can’t wait until August.