Avoiding a big break-up

Posted by Sam Limbert

Arsenal Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere clebration APArsenal's current stars appear settled ahead of next season

The last few summers have been traumatic for Arsenal fans. The annual big break-up has become all too common and is never taken well by the fans, as Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and others can testify to. It usually means fan expectations at the start of the season are immediately lowered and that the squad then take longer to get up to speed because of having to adapt to massive changes in the squad.

The signs going into this summer are positive that such an emotional situation might not occur. Within the Arsenal squad, whilst it is often helpful to have one talismanic figure that can inspire the rest of the team, there isn't one stand-out player whose departure could damage the team.

Arguably, you could point to Santi Cazorla as key to the way Arsenal play, especially after he won player of the season in the prestigious awards ceremony we had last week. However even Cazorla could be replaceable and wouldn't rip open the squad in the way previous players leaving has done.

One of the trends since Arsenal last won a trophy has seen the club captain not last very long in the role, with their departure from the club often leading to the need for another overhaul. The current incumbent, Thomas Vermaelen, has been subject to speculation about his future at the club. However this isn't because he's a lynchpin in the squad.

Vermaelen will be the first to admit that his performances have been nowhere near the level he's reached at Arsenal before, and the team positively thrived without him during the season run-in. The Belgian has reiterated his commitment to the club in light of the speculation, and even though he’s not been in the side recently, he remains an excellent centre-back to have in the squad. If Vermaelen went, it'd be disappointing, but far from calamitous and wouldn't bring the wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst supporters.

With the current squad suddenly looking settled and ready for additions to be the focus this summer rather than departures, everything feels a bit too calm for Gooners. This is Arsenal though. There has to be a drama.

One man, and former captain, who did cause a lot of emotional turmoil when cutting his ties with Arsenal was Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard was part of the 2011 break-up, but unlike most of the players to leave in traumatic circumstances, Arsenal fans still have a lot of affection for Fabregas. The media speculation about a potential move from Barcelona to Manchester United is beginning to intensify. The mere thought of seeing Fabregas pulling on a United shirt alongside Robin van Persie is an extremely painful one for Arsenal fans.

To see another loved one being with someone else hurts. To see them with someone that’s already caused you a lot of trauma just feels extremely careless.

As much as I really don't want to see Cesc Fabregas back in the Premier League at Manchester United, it's a good sign that the most trauma Arsenal fans could face this summer won't directly involve the club. Arsenal's squad is in a better position going into this summer because of the togetherness that's been developed. Rather than focussing on players leaving, the task now for Arsene Wenger is to develop the squad for next season. Signing the quality players the fans are hoping for could lead to future break-ups, but with the exception of some more Fabregas drama, Arsenal fans should avoid a painful split this summer.

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