Arsenal may face an exodus of the club's star players if Cesc Fabregas agrees to join Barcelona this summer. The Times says concern for Arsenal fans is that Fàbregas's decision could be the start of an alarming trend. Several players have chosen to leave the club over the past few years - such as Alexander Hleb, Mathieu Flamini and Emmanuel Adebayor - but Fàbregas is the first iconic star to demand a transfer while at the peak of his powers.

"Although it was not presented that way, Vieira and Thierry Henry were sold because Wenger considered them to be past their best, surprising decisions at the time but since vindicated.

Fàbregas may not be the last if some of his team-mates reach similar conclusions. Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin would have no shortage of offers from Europe's leading clubs, while Aaron Ramsey is also likely to be inundated with offers.

Arsenal's aspiration is to play the football of Barcelona while achieving a similar level of success, but they do not want to become the Spaniards' feeder club.