BARCELONA – In football, one of the worst experiences a fan can feel is relegation. Just beow that is having the heartbeat of the team ripped out while the body is still beating. That is what Arsenal fans are feeling right now.
The spiritual center of this club since the departure of Thierry Henry has been Cesc Fabregas. He was the last link to the team that used to win silverware on a regular basis, but now he's gone. He's returned home, to the team that nurtured him and the club that for the last two years has dumped his side out of Europe's elite competition, the Uefa Champions League, FC Barcelona.
It's got to hurt and sting because without Cesc the chance of winning the Premier League title or any other trophy diminishes rapidly. The bad news doesn't end there though as Samir Nasri, perhaps one of the most exciting French midfielders since Zindine Zidane is also but one blue moon away from also leaving the Emirates.
Losing one jewel understandable, losing the two, unforgivable but sometimes in this crazy world of football, rejection is protection because Fabregas and Nasri looked to have currently left their best in North London.
If Arsene Wenger plays his cards right and thinks outside the box, Fabregas and Nasri could be replaced. It will require two moves that will stun the football world but if successful, they could easily propel Arsenal and Wenger back into the conversation while making them a legitimate threat for that elusive silverware.
Signing one of the most polarizing figures in English football.
Joey Barton seems part psychotic thug and intellectual genius (follow him on twitter). He's a player who is constantly flirting on the edge of superstardom and the precipice of disaster. A man with a neon sign flashing above his head reading 'dangerous, handle with care' but is he one of the missing ingredients.
"Nobody dismisses signing Joey Barton but I don't think we envisage doing that at the moment," said Arsene Wenger. He added, "he's a good player. Sometimes there's trouble with his temper but he's a great player." Then for good measure he threw out the olive branch to the troubled midfielder stating, "Maybe the way to sort Barton out is to sign him. Maybe that's the solution."
Yes, Arsene, that is the solution and Barton is the answer!
You've not had that kind of attitude in the heart of your midfield since Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour snarled and barked their way through opponents in the Premiership en route to winning multiple league titles.
Joey Barton would be the soldier and potential leader that your youngsters need. All you have to do is figure out how to channel the animal in him and direct it towards the Arsenal cause. C'mon Wenger, you're the Professor figure it out. It could be your Eric Cantona moment.
The most audacious swap in Premier League history.
Samir Nasri wants out of the Emirates. Carlos Tevez is desperate to move away from Eastlands. It makes perfect sense not only from a playing standpoint but a business one as well.
Tevez would be the perfect foil for Robin van Persie and the faithful will finally have that Ian Wright type figure to worship. Yes, Thierry Henry was all cool and class but 'Wrighty' was Arsenal, he personified what the club was all about and Tevez has that same type of character.
He's a street fighter that works all over the pitch. He also scores the type of goals that Wright made his name doing. They're dirty, scruffy, spectacular, brave, breathtaking and above all consistent. Other than RVP, the Gunners have struggled to find anyone to support the Dutchman in the most important art of football.
After four seasons in Manchester, returning to London could be just the tonic for the homesick Argentine. Now, I'm not going to claim that London is any closer to Buenos Aries than Manchester, but it would be considered slightly more cosmopolitan.
This could be the environment for the Tevez family to settle and end his never-ending wanderlust, at least for a few seasons.
I know for a fact that right now Arsenal fans are distraught. They want to know what is happening to their club and where it is heading. There are also more questions surrounding Arsene Wenger than at any time since he joined the club in 1996.
What a way to lift the supporters and silence the critics than by pulling off the biggest coup we've ever seen. Barton and Tevez in Arsenal shirts - now tell me that doesn't make them contenders and the Professor a genius?