Yes, it’s again about the Arsenal. What now – what about them?
The manager himself revealing that “half the dressing room wanted to leave” and that “you’re preparing for a season where you don’t know who’s going to come in, the players who are staying are asking themselves what’s going on at the club, you’ve got a pre-season tour of Asia.”
Again, I stress – it’s too bad, Monsieur. It’s just too bad. We already know that Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy would leave. It’s the worst-kept secret in world football if there are still wide-eyed kids hearing this for the first time. Just sell these players who evidently have their minds drifting somewhere else already and replace them. I’d rather have players who are less talented but have the winning mentality rather than talented kids who are swayed by their agents cashing in on their clients’ abilities. But as Homer Simpson would say –
Why did this happen? Why?! (The Simpsons: Natural Born Kissers – Episode 25, Season 9)
If the expression ‘half of the dressing room’ includes the likes of Denilson or Nicklas Bendtner, then I’m inclined to believe that these players have simply given up their desire to don the jersey again and play for the club. They would be shipped off to leagues more suited for their footballing prowess and remained there till kingdom come, earning reputations like Amaury Bischoff and something like that.
But if the manager is himself hanging dirty linen in public with statements like this, it simply beggars belief that the Arsenal is finally turning the corner after a dismal start to this season.
All eyes are now on Robin van Persie and whether he would sign a new contract. By and large, players’ contracts these days are nothing more than compensation papers when the cash-rich clubs come calling – allowing the selling club to negotiate a higher transfer fee if the duration of the contract is still reasonably long. In two more years, the Dutch striker would be 30 and by then, he would have hoped to win something of significance. Winning Euro 2012 with the Oranje could alleviate some of his expectations but time is not really on his side. Of course, he holds the aces in this situation. If this season the Arsenal flops again, you can be sure that it’d be another bothersome summer for the Gooners who would have witnessed all of their past four captains (if RvP does leave) joining other clubs – Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas.
The club was also boosted by the news that Thomas Vermaelen has signed a new long-term contract. That’s a first step towards rebuilding a squad scarred by the humiliating start to the season. The pairing of Mertesacker and Vermaelen is certainly one to look forward to. The German has been forced to cover the vacuum left in the centre midfield with Alex Song seemingly enjoying his forays in the final third more often these days but I found the new signing to be an inspired purchase.
The face of football is changing rapidly with foreign investment rapidly upsetting the balance of the clubs. If the club is currently financially sound, I guess that this is one way to actually persevere in these uncertain times. The club could sign a good player from another league and sell for a nice profit once the same player becomes slightly well-known. This entire football thing is business after all.