Odds on Arsenal to win the title have lengthened to 11/1 following the Gunners’ opening-day draw with Newcastle and the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona.
Fabregas has joined the club he left as a 16-year-old on a five-year contract after a protracted transfer wrangle.
The European champions have long been open about their desire to take the Catalan back to the Nou Camp – frustratingly so, as far as Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger have been concerned – but the north London side had until now been reluctant to do business.
Crucially, Arsenal were in a strong bargaining position given the four years left on their captain’s contract, but it appears Fabregas’ desire to move has left the Gunners with little choice but to sanction the £35 million deal.
“We have been clear that we didn’t want Cesc to leave and that remains the case,” Wenger told the club website.
“However, we understand Cesc’s desire to move to his hometown club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona. We thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and wish him future success.”
Wenger’s reluctance to sell was based on the fact that Fabregas is one of the best midfielders in the world and replacing him will be a tough ask.
This has been reflected in bwin’s football betting market, with the events of the last 72 hours having apparently hit Arsenal’s chances of winning a first Premier League crown since 2004.
The Gunners were priced at 6/1 in bwin’s title betting market when odds for the new season were first released back in June.
However, with Wenger having spent the summer trying to convince his best players to stay rather than add to his squad, Arsenal had drifted to 9/1 by the time the Premier League kicked off.
With Fabregas now a Barca player and two points dropped on the opening day of the season, Arsenal title odds have lengthened even further to 11/1.
As such, a £25 free bet on Arsenal to win the title, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £300.
Although losing a player of Fabregas’ quality is a setback for Arsenal, Wenger could yet use the Spaniard’s departure to his advantage.
He now has a sizeable transfer kitty at his disposal and will be looking to use it to make the team better rather than blow it all on a single world class player in the Fabregas mould.
With this in mind the Gunners could still be worth a punt in bwin’s title market, particularly given the returns on offer now their odds have lengthened.
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