Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh has admitted his fear that both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri will "likely" leave the club. Both players have been the subject of interest from elsewhere this summer, and Chamakh conceded on French television that the pair would probably depart, but only if manager Arsène Wenger finds replacements. France coach Laurent Blanc later said that Nasri was in talks to leave Arsenal.
Chamakh was speaking to "Foot & Co", a football discussion programme on L'Equipe TV. He suggested that both midfielders would leave once their successors had been recruited, and said it was "strange" that the players had not signed contract extensions. "I think both of them are likely leaving the club," he said. "It's a difficult situation for the manager.
"I don't think it's a matter of money for Fabregas or Samir," Chamakh said. "I think he [Wenger] is looking for their successors and he hasn't found them. I think before letting them go he wants to find the players to replace them. That's my opinion about the situation. The problem is the season starts this weekend, and it's even more difficult for us."
There was an implicit criticism of the club in Chamakh's discussing how Nasri's contract had been allowed to run down. The former Marseilles midfielder has just one year remaining, meaning that – presuming he does not sign a new deal – Arsenal must choose between selling him now or allowing him to leave for free next year. France coach Laurent Blanc said last night: "I know he [Nasri] is negotiating with the club and it's not to renew his contract, that he will not renew, but to find a new club."
"I think in the situation the club was in, they could have let only one leave," Chamakh said. "Especially Cesc, he wants to leave for several seasons because he's born in Barcelona. But Samir is now in a situation where he has one year left on his contract, so if they don't sell him this summer he will leave for free at the end of the season. Is the club ready to refuse a little bit more than €20m to keep a good player for one season? It's strange, at a club like Arsenal, that he's now with one year left on his contract, that the club couldn't make him sign a new contract before."
Fabregas has been the subject of renewed interest from Barcelona this summer, with a bid totalling nearly £35m not reaching Arsenal's £40m valuation of their captain. Nasri has been courted by both Manchester clubs, and while reports in the French press earlier this week said that Manchester City had agreed a deal with him, City insisted yesterday that despite their interest those reports were premature and speculative.
For all the talk of departures, though, Arsenal included both midfielders in their squad list for the Champions League play-off against Udinese. Should either play, he would be cup-tied and a less attractive proposition for any suitor.
Ryo Myachi was granted a work permit to play first-team football for Arsenal this season, after an FA Panel met at Wembley yesterday.