I had just written about Kenneth Perez here. Just about 2 weeks before the January transfer window slams shut on some drifting players in the market (hint: Arsenal is one), little Lassana Diarra has called it quits and has joined Portsmouth where he alleges that he can afford more playing time to be considered for Euro 2008 in the European Alps. Both players have left both my favourite clubs in similar conditions albeit for largely different reasons even though they are both as selfish as they come.
I, however, stress that the Arsenal is indeed feeling a loss of a rather good, budding player. I’ve never thought of Diarra as a flop as was what happened to Francis Jeffers; Gio van Donkey; Junichi Inamoto etc. He’s a fine player, good dribbler and has a fight in him. When given the opportunity, I’d say that Wenger’s choice wasn’t thrown into the sewage.
But what differentiates him from the abovementioned players (and more undocumented ones who never really made it big at either Highbury Stadium or the Emirates) was his devious use of clubs for personal glory. Note that I’m not advocating players to be shorn of ambition to play for better clubs. If old talents don’t go; new, exciting ones don’t come. It’s a cycle.
The thing is – Diarra has been complaining regularly about not playing since joining the Arsenal last transfer window; where he cited the same reason of leaving Chelski as not having enough playing time. I do like individuals to speak their mind out about some blatantly unfair decisions against them in their daily routine as football players. If at all, it goes without saying that it has to be justified and has to be with solid grounds and is fair to everyone.
Selfishness is norm. But don’t need to come telling me things which indicate that you’re too good for me. We’re all selfish humans because it’s hard for a normal person to make a living and the first chance of self-advancement and self-enrichment is to be grasped with both hands. Opportunities don’t come very often don’t they?
Little Diarra may be a reasonably good player and one who would complement the team really well. But this does not mean that he’s a neat, ready package. His passing, shooting and positioning needs a lot of tweaking to be what Fabregas is today. Fabs did not need to make the same sort of noises when handed League Cup games. A player’s primary duty to his club is to play football and Fabs did superbly.
Still, this is football. Team harmony, team spirit, teamwork and team chemistry are the hallmarks of the modern game amongst others. It’s singularly hard to be lacking of one and I thought that Diarra is one who, while talented, is the one who doesn’t know that a bit of humility goes a long way. He may not have gotten a decent shot of stardom at Chelski with the turnover rate so high but he has had the opportunity to be nurtured to a world class player under Arsene Wenger and he has blown it. Six months ago, when Thierry Henry was bound to leave, we were told that the Arsenal would struggle to even reach 4th spot. Bullshit. So what makes Diarra think that his absence is going to hurt the team?
It’s pretty interesting that Portsmouth is quite fast becoming the favourite next port-of-call for ex-Arsenal players : Sol Campbell; Nwankwo Kanu; Lauren Bisan and now Diarra himself. I think that he’d initially impress but would fall by the wayside because of his fractious mind at work. He’d be crying that he’s not at a big club; that he deserves one and that he would be really unsettled at Pompey. I don’t have to be a clairvoyant to say this. This is not a trend. This is the face of football of the new century.
In other news, Arsenal old boy Nicolas Anelka has joined Chelski. He’d undoubtedly make a grand purchase and is worth every penny Abramovich has paid for him. He’s become more sensible with his comments to the rumor mongers and his actions off and on the pitch has been quite the standard of professionals and has expressed regret at leaving the Arsenal at the promising stage of his career.
I did wish for Anelka to have his swansong at the club where he made it big but Wenger wasn’t in a compliant mood. He’s always making funny comments in hindsight about him wanting to sign these so-and-so players after they have signed for other clubs. I know this is old stuff but it’s rather humorous to say the least. Read about them here and here.
I think that the football world is caught up in the hype of absolutely useless and genuinely uninteresting news: Adebayor happy here; Wenger praises Clichy; Wenger slams Pompey’s defensive tactics; and what not. First thing, I don’t think that Adebayor is going to finish off his career in the Arsenal. Wenger praising only Clichy, while very good is not what I’d do to make the other players put on a better performance. All of this sports business is even more ho-hum than what the sports news industry would lead us to believe. The only news I’d deem as mildly interesting is to see that Man Ure has been deducted 9 points for tapping-up players from other leagues and Chelski’s Russian owner Abramovich hauled up for excessive and serious tax fraud.
Jens Lehmann has also decided to stay at the Arsenal. Good for him. I don’t care that his reason is not for the love of the club but for personal and inconveniences reasons but we need all the seasoned campaigners we can get. With Fabianski still far to raw for top drawer games, I think that Lehmann can make a good difference when called into action once again. He was that very close to agreeing a deal back to Borussia Dortmund, the very club he left previously to join the Arsenal, but has done a temporary about-turn. We’ll see what happens in July when the title victors have already been decided.
Gilberto Silva has also reiterated his desire to play well for the club and to honour his contract. Top stuff. He knows what he needed to get back into the team and he can do just that, with a steady string of good performances for the club.