The likelihood of a Champions League winners medal for either Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri with Barcelona or Manchester City has slightly declined with today’s news that Arsene Wenger has named BOTH players in Arsenal’s 25 man squad for the Arsenal tie against Udinese.
Cesc Fabregas has been on the verge of signing for European champions Barcelona for a fee believed to be around £35m for the summer with rumours it was supposed to go through this weekend still coming out of the Arsenal camp.
Should either player feature in the two leg encounter against the Italians (the first leg is on August 16th) then they would NOT be eligible to play for any ‘ new club’ in the tournament IF the North London club qualified for the Group stages of the competition. Nasri is in fact suspended though he could play in the away leg some 10 days later but since the Gunners will also be missing another suspended player – top scoring Robin Van Persie for the first encounter with Udinese it is conceivable that Wenger could call upon Fabregas though the latter is himself not 100 per cent fit and is ‘unlikely’, according to sources in the British capital to play any part in the weekend’s scheduled opening Premier League game against Newcastle United.
Arsenal’s decision will put greater pressure on Barcelona to seriously improve their last rejected offer for former Barcelona youth player Fabregas. It will also force Manchester City to make a decision on whether to put forward an ‘unbeatable’ offer for Nasri who seems determined to move to pastures new. Of course even if Fabregas or Nasri DID play in the qualifying round and Arsenal failed to overcome the Italians then the players WOULD be able to play in the competition for any clubs they later joined. Smart money in London football circles suggest that the odds remain heavily in favour of both players having moved from the Emirates shortly. Intriguing days ahead though Arsenal fans will surely be praying that the Barca and City offers are rejected.