Cesc Fabregas loss would be 'enormous' says Andrey Arshavin
Andrey Arshavin admits it would be an "enormous" loss for Arsenal to see captain Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leave, but insists focus must remain on ending the Gunners' trophy drought.
Barcelona are looking to complete the transfer of their former trainee before the new Barclays Premier League starts this weekend, but Arsenal remain steadfast in a £40million valuation.
France international Nasri has yet to agree a contract extension with Manchester City ready to offer £22m for the midfielder, who could leave on a free next summer.
Arshavin, part of the Russia squad for today's friendly against Serbia in Moscow, accepts there is little any club can do when a player has his heart set on a move away.
"The policy of our club [next season] is the same, but it is difficult to say anything specific now, not least from the fact that two leading players, Cesc and Samir, have not decided their future," Arshavin said in an interview with Russian newspaper Sport Express.
"The loss of any one of them would be enormous, and we naturally want to see Cesc and Samir play with us in the future - but if the player wants to leave the club....
"It is hard to say [whether they will stay]."
Arshavin, however, rejected suggestions he was set to leave Emirates Stadium, reports having linked the former Zenit St Petersburg winger with a move to Anzhi Makhachkala, who are bankrolled by billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov, captained by former Brazil World Cup winner Roberto Carlos and recently signed Yuri Zhirkov from Chelsea.
"I have already said that this season I am sure to be at Arsenal, and not somewhere else," added Arshavin, 30, who signed for the Gunners in January 2009.
"If I ever return to Russia, then the priority option for me will be Zenit - but no-one can predict what will happen to you in the future, in a few years or even a season. As the saying goes: if you want to make God laugh - tell him about your plans for tomorrow."
With or without key men Fabregas and Nasri, Arshavin accepts Arsenal will face a testing campaign ahead as they look to remain competitive.
"The season will very difficult. I think that six teams will challenge for the top spot," he said.
"The main thing, though, is to win any title with Arsenal."
Like most Premier League sides, the Gunners have plenty of their first-team squad away on international duty.
Ahead of Saturday's trip to Newcastle, which could yet be postponed due to the civil unrest currently sweeping across the country, Arsenal will check on the fitness of midfielder Jack Wilshere, who was forced to pull out of the England squad because of an ankle problem.
Winger Theo Walcott looks set to be short for the trip to the north-east, while striker Robin van Persie is also nursing a sore ankle.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is understood to have been less than impressed by Nasri's involvement with France this week after the midfielder sat out Arsenal's final friendly in Benfica because of a muscular problem.
Wenger is determined to further bolster his squad following the £12million arrival of pacy forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton.
Defensive reinforcements are top of the agenda, with a £6million move for Birmingham's centre-half Scott Dann said to be imminent after Arsenal failed to complete a deal for Everton's Phil Jagielka or Gary Cahill from Bolton.
Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner, linked with Stoke, has yet to find a new club, while utility man Emmanuel Eboue is expected to sign for Galatasaray.
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