Best deal or no deal
Ray Parlour told Sky Sports News that Arsenal must drive a hard bargain if Cesc Fabregas is to leave.
Last Updated: 19/05/10 1:09pm
Arsene Wenger must drive a hard bargain with Barcelona for the good of Arsenal's future if Cesc Fabregas is to move to Spain.
That's the view of former Gunner Ray Parlour, who told Sky Sports News that the next few days are crucial for the London club as they attempt to strike the best possible deal for losing the 23-year-old's services.
Arsenal captain Fabregas didn't cost the club anything when he arrived from Barcelona as a 16-year-old but has now told Wenger that he wants to join the Spanish champions. However, Barcelona may have to go way beyond the £30million they have earmarked for the midfielder.
"If Arsenal have said 'ok, we can't keep Cesc Fabregas' then we have to get the best deal for the club now - whether it's players and money or money on its own," reflected Parlour.
"Arsene Wenger will look at Barcelona's squad and say 'Look, I like him, he's a very good player who can strengthen our squad - he's the player we need'.
"If that's the case then that's where negotiating comes in. If they can come to a deal I'm sure it will be settled in the next three or four days.
"I hope Arsene can keep him but if you fly from Spain to London to tell the manager that I want to leave it's very hard to say 'no, we want you to stay'. Maybe he's made his decision already.
"Wenger is one of those managers who won't stay in people's way. He'll be a big loss but in the meantime they might get £40m in the transfer and if they can use that money right they have to move on as a club."
Fabregas was Arsenal's leading goal-scorer in the Premier League last season with 15 - five more than anyone else - and also contributed 13 assists.
But he has only won two trophies since arriving at Arsenal - the 2004 Community Shield and the FA Cup in 2005 - and Parlour says a desire to win silverware and the chance to return to Barcelona may well prove too tempting for him.
"Arsenal got close to the Premier League last year - maybe with a bit of a better squad and fewer injuries they might have challenged Chelsea and Manchester United a little bit harder," said Parlour.
"I look at the squad now and think they need four players - two centre-halves if William Gallas leaves, maybe a holding midfield player as well, a centre-forward, even a goalkeeper - so five then!
"Another problem is that Cesc comes from Barcelona. Pep Guardiola is his idol. It was always going to happen one day but whether it's too soon for Fabregas or Arsenal we'll have to wait and see."