Cesc Fabregas would block paths of Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain if he returns to Arsenal, says Martin Keown

Former defender Martin Keown offers warning over possible return to the Emirates for the Spain international

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown would not be surprised if Arsene Wenger turns down the chance to re-sign Cesc Fabregas.

The Spanish playmaker is reported to be available for transfer this summer and keen on a reunion with Arsenal, where he scored 57 goals in 303 appearances.

Arsenal, however, are understood to have passed up the opportunity to bring Fabregas back to the club, leaving London rivals Chelsea in pole position to seal the 27-year-old's signature.

"I'm not surprised," said Keown, who made 449 appearances for the Gunners and was speaking on behalf of Official England Supporter williamhill.com.

"After Fabregas left, Arsene had to invest time in someone else and he doesn't want to block their path if Fabregas comes back.

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is someone who can play in that central midfield position as well as Jack Wilshere of course.

"Wenger probably feels he's more than catered for in that attacking midfield area - it's a defensive midfielder that's going to be more purposeful in that Arsenal squad now."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England arrives into Rio de Janeiro Galeao International Airport Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England arrives into Rio de Janeiro Galeao International Airport  

Arsenal splashed a club-record £42.4m on Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil last summer and already have the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta in their creative ranks - as well as Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

If the club are to make any star signings before the start of the new campaign, Keown believes it will be a striker - rather than a midfielder - that comes in.

"I do believe Fabregas would improve any team in the world so of course, he deserves special consideration but there are only so many £30m players you can buy every summer," Keown said.

"Arsene Wenger has just signed a new three-year contract and I'm not sure he'll be signing another one so he might think if he's going to spend £30m, he would prefer it to be on a centre forward than another midfielder."

Fabregas joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2003 and matured into one of the world's most exciting creative talents.

Named club captain in 2008, the Spaniard developed a strong attachment to the Gunners and described Wenger as "like a father figure" in an emotional parting tribute in 2011.

Keown admits a move to another English club, particularly fellow title-challengers Chelsea, would prove difficult for both Fabregas and Arsenal's supporters.

"I don't think Chelsea would be an ideal move for Fabregas having been at Arsenal before, but it remains to be seen where he ends up," Keown added.

"People move on, people make their decisions and if he ends up playing for one of Arsenal's rivals that's football, it's just the way it is."

Fabregas is currently on World Cup duty with Spain, who start the defence of their title against Holland on Friday.

PA

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