Maturity Brings A Different Perspective On Loyalty

For once, I haven’t been upset at there not being a game this weekend, Number 1 son’s 10th birthday falling on a convenient weekend. I suspect Mrs YW is not upset at me disappearing off to football today either although she would never admit it…!

There is a media bandwagon edging out of first gear at the moment for Cesc to return to the Camp Nou this summer with the latest fuel to that fire coming from his father. Apparently, the youngster will decide his future once the World Cup is over, a hardly unsurprising statement since every player apparently does the same, according to the media at least. The Presidential elections at Barcelona fan the flames with each candidate making Fabregas a key plank of their manifesto. Poor old Juan Laporta will see his ego damaged if his annointed one loses and another candidate succeeds in securing the deal.

There is a sense of deja vu over the whole situation, reminscent of the lead up to Thierry Henry’s eventual departure to the same city. The constant dripfeed of stories to the media from those at the Catalan club or those reportedly in the player’s inner circle (normally an agent but this time Fabregas’ Mr20% has been strangely subdued); the unsubstantiated reports of househunting in the city; assertive denials from the player.

In the end though, the player will do essentially what he wants. If he is unhappy at Arsenal, so be it. He has put in good service to the team, he must believe that he and the rest of the squad can win silverware and satisfy their personal desires in this respect to be happy, a ‘miraculous‘ occurrence according to some.

A major factor, you suspect, will also be that he can satisfy those ambitions elsewhere as well as being a first team regular, an option by no means guaranteed elsewhere but one that is conveniently ignored in reports.

Solutions are proferred, assumptions made that Barcelona will not sign anyone else to neuter the suggested formations. Arsenal will receive a fee – although nowhere near the ยฃ80m that was commanded by Cristiano Ronaldo – and move on; clubs survive all players, particularly those who offer Champions League football. That is the nature of the sport / business.

A crucial thing about Arsenal which is often overlooked is the loyalty to the club. There is some to the manager, without a doubt, but as the players mature, the father-son footballing relationship diminishes. The draw is Arsenal Football Club. The change is subtle. Following the defeat at Stamford Bridge, Nigel Winterburn noted that pride in playing for Arsenal added an edge to his performances.

Fabregas was the highest-profile of the younger players to also note the change last summer. Interviewed about his plans, he rebutted this aspect of his relationship with Wenger, proclaiming that he had but one father. It is not a conscious snub to Wenger nor should it be interpreted that. Simply, the players are maturing, their relationships and understanding of the bonds is changing with age.

Robin van Persie has further confirmed that change:

It is good that four teams were really interested in me but I had to turn them down. It’s not as easy to leave Arsenal as you maybe think.Even if you want to leave, as a player, I don’t think it is easy because when you move to Arsenal you are led there by your heart.

The Dutchman’s absence has been adverse, there is no argument. Wenger did not sign anyone in the January window partly because deal’s could not be completed but the suspicion has also to be that he was not convinced about fitting them in once he had everyone available. van Persie slotted into the central role quickly and looked as if that was his natural position, pivotal in creating and scoring seemingly for fun once his duck for the season was broken. Such long-termism is more in keeping with Wenger’s methods than a short-term solution of making the big signing that was craved.

van Persie acknowledges that he has a particular barrier to overcome before being considered a ‘great’ player:

When you look at great players, they are always fit, always sharp. When you play 50 games a season, you can score more goals and get more assists, so it follows that you are more important to the team.Everything starts with your fitness and some players are lucky like that. I hate it but I can’t do anything about it because this is my situation

It is a harsh situation for him. Few of his injuries have arisen in training, the recent major ones have been suffered in matches for his country. There is not much which can be done about those. Phlegmatic that may seem but asking van Persie to change the way he plays will rob you of some of the spark which makes him an outstanding player.

Maturity will bring different assessments of passages of play in any case; managed changes can influence this but to suppress the spontenaity of a gifted player is frequently to the detriment of the club.

Getting him back to fitness is the key with rumours surfacing that he is back and jogging. Returning to action in an Arsenal shirt will help satisfy his desire to appear at the World Cup. Ignoring the crass demands of the Dutch FA is crucial in this, Arsenal surely has a case for refusing to release the player come March even if the KNVB demands it.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 13, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. Cesc stays this summer.

    Of that i am pretty certain.

  2. let’s hope so

  3. i think i just saw bolton score a goal playing nice football and with a well-worked build up…

    the sky isn’t falling down. the earth beneath me seems still. weird

  4. Let’s kick racism out of football.

    Abou diaby almost did a few years ago in the carling cup final

  5. an away goal is vital at porto. I reckon we can even afford a narrow loss but we HAVE to get an away goal..


  6. Zap is Song definetly out?

  7. Who cares if he goes and stays? It seems to me that constant speculation is more damaging than losing him.

    I’m just going to avoid any more of this nonsense and I recommend that action to everyone else.

  8. Come on Ole its like a mini international break, what else is there to say, other then speculate on Cesc leaving again..

  9. JD

    Medial ‘strain’ ought to preclude his involvement. The second leg is there to remedy any failings in the first no matter how much of a reminder of the 2007 tie against PSV this scenario is.


  10. Ole

    You are a cheery bugger aren’t you!

    Personally, I have always taken the view that if a player wants to go, let them provided the price is right.

    Arsenal FC has been around for more than a century and will outlive us all, provided no-one untoward gets control of the club.


  11. Ole – i really care if cesc stays or goes.

    We have done all the hard graft of making him a world class player, i would dearly love to see him play and captain our young team for just another couple of season minimum.

    If he left at 25, he would only just be approaching his peak, and able enough to give barca plenty.

  12. you will do well to get a rise out of that.

  13. Cesc will leave sooner or later let’s enjoy him while we can. We were lucky to keep Henry for many years as the frogs have a shit league. Spain is different and when the team that wants you is playing the most beautiful football in the world and is winning and is coached by your childhood hero and is in your hometown? Well it’s hard to resist!

  14. if he left at 26… we could give him a testimonial before he left for barca ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. YW give Ole a break for once I’m of the opinion that he’s quite right.. Christiano Ronaldo said he wanted to leave, which is why everyone knew he wanted to go.. which is much more than can be said for our wonderful Cesc..

  16. wow, bolton scored a wonderul goal today.

    owen coyle really does have it.

  17. I agree that we should enjoy cesc while he is here because he will go to Barca some days. While I don’t know what he is thinking, looking at the situation i can’t see him move this summer for a few reasons.

    In Barca’s midfield there are 2 creative players and a defensive one, the defensive being either Toure or Busquets and I don’t think that it is the place he wants to play. This means he would compete against Xavi and Iniesta plus Keita at the moment Iniesta sometimes plays on the left wing but as there are a lot of speculation with Ribery going there in the summer so I guess Iniesta would less as a left winger if he moved.

    So competition for him would be strong and as he is not yet a definite starter for Spain it would be better for him to stay in a team where he will start when fit no question, captains it and is the main player (RVP having problems with his fitness).

    Xavi starts to get older but is still 27 years old and as I see Cesc as Xavi’s replacement in the barca way of playing I hope he will be leaving in 3 or 4 years time when xavi gets past its best.

  18. xavi turned 30 in january.


  19. cannot see him leaving!…(not till he;s 28-30 anyway).hes captain hes worshipped and hes at a great club.
    also the reason that Bolton are not just long ball now is Owen Coyle!…good luck to them!

  20. The Hayward article was really poor, awful stuff.

    We have more important things to worry about now than the media’s fabricated rubbish about Cesc.

    Anyone who cares about the team should want him to stay, he would be a big loss, but I doubt Cesc has it on his mind now so why should we? He has said as much.

    Another clean sheet against Porto would be a lovely thing.

  21. Yogi, I note with interest your comments about loyalty and its place in the world of intentions of a football player. Will the player intend to stay at a football club if he feels more attached. I have heard it mentioned over and over through the years spent in my career that attachment to special people and their methods holds people in place even when more money can be made elsewhere. Wenger does appear to have that special personality that many of us have seen as fatherly and we are sure that the players see as especially understanding and supportive. I am convinced that many of the current players at Arsenal are held in place by the attachment they feel to Wenger and his methods.

  22. you would think he’s staying he say over and over

    “Iโ€™ve said many times, probably too many times, that Arsenal have a special place in my heart. I owe them a lot and to be captain of the club means everything. Itโ€™s an honour. My commitment to Arsenal has never changed, despite what other people may say.”

    kind of getting boring now just dont bother listening

    also the barca fans dont even want him
    hes bad luck for them

  23. lol, i would suggest a very, very, very small subsect of intelligent barca fans would subscribe to that view, rsd ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. California Gooner

    I refuse to get sucked into the Cesc talk — it is just a lot of useless anxiety about something that may or may not come to pass. I have too many other things to be anxious about without worrying about that one!!!

    But I like hearing RVP talk the talk… we can not get him back soon enough. Had he stayed healthy, I think we would have won the league on the trot. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.

    And Arseblog has a funny bit on the end about Chamakh standing for election in Bordeaux; a quote that he is ‘brilliant’. During the transfer speculation last summer I read that his parents had been reluctant about him moving to France since they wanted him to finish university… again, it is just speculation (which I refused to engage in with Cesc — so call me inconsistent), but he sounds like an Arsenal player to me. Of course, who knows.

  25. you do have to love RVP
    lets hope we meet them in CL and fab can prove to barca hes bad luck lol

  26. Sticking with the idea of player loyalty.. One of the positive facets of “project youth” is that the players once they have become stars are extremely loyal to arsenal, not to mention to AW and their teammates bc they’ve been playing together, with the same shirt, for so long. It’s wonderful.

    In years time people will be writing books about how AW revolutionized football on and off the pitch. Visionary, revolutionary, whatever you’d like, plenty will be written of him

  27. Great blog…RVP is awesome,once his injury problems have gone..Cesc is an Arsenal player always will be….Chamakh will become ,along side Arshavin, the reason Arsenal will win the title consistently over the next 10 years. As long as Arsenal buy a qualitiy centre back and another holding midfielder to cover for Song..SWEET.

  28. California Gooner

    NJGOoner, unfortunately that isn’t the case. Last time we came close, Hleb and Flamini both left for what they thought were greener pastures. That was really lame; they were part of an amazing midfield with a fabulous understanding between the players. Had they stayed and fought another year we might have won. Hopefully their travails will make other players think twice before leaving. But, with Arsenal’s strict wage structure, teams know they can come in and tempt players away.

    RVP is really unique in that way. He has very, very strong principles. I wonder if it has something to do with growing up with two artists as parents??? Clearly they believe that there is something more important than money in life. Hopefully his example will influence others who might be more tempted to leave.

  29. California Gooner, there was an American Bishop who many years ago commented along the lines that the if he had a child young enough he would make that child his forever. Now, please forgive me for placing a religious slant on this matter of loyalty but I wish to emphasize that Wenger has an alterior motive in his youth program. He wants to make believers out of them! Certainly, every time these youngsters step out on the pitch I observe a certain method to their play that is quite unlike anything else in the Premiership.

  30. California Gooner

    Two Owls — that is why Arsenal appeals to romantics… or to the romantic in everyone. People who say “it’s all about the silverware” tend towards Chelsea or perhaps ManUre. No worries about the religious analogy. When people ask me why I became an Arsenal fan I tell them it is because I saw a game and understood that if there is a god he (or she) would have wanted the game to be played like that. Btw, I’m basically an atheist). So, up with The True Church of Saint Arsene of Highbury and The Grove!

  31. My choice of players against Porto:


    Sagna Gallas TV Clichy

    Cesc Eastmond Diaby

    Rosicky Bendtner Eduardo

    Subs: Denilson, Campbell, Ramsey, Fabianski, Theo, Traore and Nasri.

  32. Wow, pretending to Post something sensible, just to hide a trolling attempt inside. I am surprised you didn’t drop Denilson altogether!

  33. The sad thing about that Moda is if Eastmond dares to slip up people will HATE him just like they HATE Denilson. I remember after Olypmiacos people suddely HATED Vela??? its like WTF??? Now they cannot wait for Vela to step in and do the job, the man they hated last autumn. One must wonder wheter the Arselal fans are al schizo.. Trolls like you certainly seems lie that…
    PS: Just before christmast people were screaming get denilson back cos DIaby sucks so they just think the oposite… shizoooo……

  34. Denilson will play, lets hope this back injury of his has properly cleared up.

    That incident against Everton and his percieved laziness in tracking back at stoke and against manure were down to an injury, got to be.

  35. chamakh, back of the net for bordeux this evening!

  36. when do we plqy porto tues or wed?

  37. California Gooner

    Yeah, I don’t get the Denilson haters. He was poor against ManU and Chelsea, but in general he puts in a great shift — and against European opposition his style of play is optimal. I also think he will have benefited from 10 days rest.

  38. Yeah, Denilson was nowhere to be seen against Chelsea – a totally anonymous performance.

  39. i see man city’s first team couldn’t beat stoke either? And spurs drew again… replay means extra games… when are the replays for the fa cup?

    Why cant Pompey replicate their cup form in the league? i don’t want them relegated
    There are more “nicer” trams to wich that on!

  40. Injuries to backs are such difficult things and some say they are killers of careers. Remember Larry Bird and his troubles with his back. Mario Lemieux and his disk problems. Often times they are never quite the same after back injuries. Both of these players were at the top of their respective sports when the injuries occurred. Injuries to the back are such unpredictable things. I agree that Denilson’s recent games have been affected by his back injury. Prior to the injury he was flying, smiling, and scoring goals.

  41. YW many congrats to your boy… very convinient weekend indeed LOL.

    Are u suggesting u are glad we lost to stoke?!

  42. Two owls with all due respect you are a very, very boring person

  43. Happy Birthday to No1 boy Yogi’s W.

  44. Can we just lay off Denilson pls!! He’ll be back once he’s fit. Did any one else see him paired up with none other then Mr Campbell on the Arsenal bench v L’pool.

    I think that was a masterclass with Sol helping boost Denilsons confidence and passing on his wishdom so the young man can come back better.

  45. I hope we get Barca in Europe this season, we can end all this talk and their title defence.

    Moda – that is foolish. Denilson should play, certainly ahead of Eastmond who has no experience at this level.

  46. Agree with Arsenalholis.

    The absence of any real football last week gives rise journos and hacks the excuse to pen all the pub conversations they have had masquerading it as journslism. Apparently no trophies with Arsenal equals Cesc is leaving. Indeed Cesc will leave Arsenal for Barca. This is inevitable and no one cam begrudge him that. Cesc will know when the time is right. He will also leave if Wenger does.

  47. For me, abou visikiri diaby takes it for me. If he is fit, he starts before denilson. that is if song is unavailable. If not, i would put denilson with diaby and play denilson further forward in support of cesc and not in he definsive mid area. He is too light weight for me. Further forward, he can recieve balls won by diaby and complete the passes with cesc which he is good at.

  48. Song is gradually emerging from the declarations that he is not an arsenal qualify player = who would have thought Song will be so missed when he went fro nations cup this year?

    so am sure Denilson will go through all the necessary ups and downs and eventually be recognized. Its a slow and painful process especially when injuries are involved, but he has the quality to get there!

  49. Does anyone know if wenger will bring Mario Balotelli from inter? for me, that is the guy that will properly fit into arsenal and give us that final edge. I also like his attitude, he cannot be bullied. I fully trust the rest of the team.

  50. Almunia
    Eboue Gallas TV Clichy
    Fab eastmound diaby
    rosicky bendtner theo

  1. Pingback: Top Posts —

%d bloggers like this: