Is The Ship Sinking?
Of course it isn’t but to the outsider that could quite easily be construed from the stories surrounding the club at the moment. Tacky auctions for shareholdings; players out of contract looking for new clubs, including one we might rather stayed. All adds up to public chaos even if the private is serene. Well, not serene but certainly not panic-stricken.
Arsene may well have been hoping for a quiet time before the World Cup but his plans seem to be unravelling with player power being flexed. The speculation over Cesc going to Barcelona is no longer guesswork – not that anyone doubted he wants to return to his former club – but Cesc’s father has never been reticent to comment on a return to the Catalan capital and it is simply inconceivable that his comments on Spanish radio were made without Cesc’s approval or do not reflect the player’s wishes.
Add into that mix, Sol Campbell and rebuilding the squad may well be a more involved job that Wenger originally hoped for this summer.
First off, the comments made by Fabregas Senior are of no surprise. His son moved to London at a young age and he acknowledges the contribution of Arsene to the young man Cesc has become. There was also an element of ‘We let him leave to grow as a person you should do the same‘ although the familial bonds are entirely different to the professional. And for the desire to be close to his child, no-one should chastise Papa Fabregas.
However to believe that because the player wants to leave, he should be allowed to is entirely wrong; matters are not so simple. Arsenal is entitled to be recompensed handsomely for pushing the player’s development quicker than would have been achieved had he remained at Barcelona at sixteen.
Trying to put pressure on Arsenal to sell is a tactic which is failing to work, even the Catalan club recognise this. Papa should be turning his desires onto the suitors, telling them to back their words with actions. Failing to see any action on their part should send alarm bells ringing in Team Fabregas rather more loudly than the stubborness of Arsenal. As Phil Oakey crooned, “Don’t you want me?“.
Carlos Vela though put into words the perspective of the player:
He will be going back to his country and it is good for him. It is difficult for big players, they want to win trophies and play in games like the Champions League final. I’m sure he’s disappointed we have not won anything for five years. Of course, it will be sad to see Cesc join Barcelona. He is the star of the Arsenal team and it is better to have him. But it is a decision for Cesc.
There could be some who take issue with Vela’s words but all that has happened is that a view has been stated: It would be better if he stayed but it is up to him. Perhaps Vela could do more, as could the rest of the squad, to persuade Cesc to stay or at least make the decision to go tougher. Barcelona’s players have had no reticence in publicly airing their views about his future, perhaps Arsenal’s could do the same.
It seems that all of the speculation is having an effect with reports suggesting that Cesc is quieter than normal. One wonders if all of the pressure is getting to him, particularly as Captain Caveman noted:
It’s very unusual to see Cesc nervous, but all this is a bit problematic for him because we are talking daily about this topic; his fans, his manager and his teammates must all be respected.
These boys have got more respect than Aretha Franklin. One wonders if the persistence of their desires may actually backfire, the seemingly constant demands may well impact upon his World Cup preparations and if that is the case, there is time for him to be dropped from the squad by Del Bosque and replaced with someone more focussed. And then when the blame game starts, fingers do point back at his potential employers.
Sol Campbell is a tricky situation, once more highlighting the scenario of older players only being offered a one-year deal. In Campbell’s case, he played more frequently than he probably expected and was fitter than many expected. At this stage in his career, you might expect him to be looking for a final deal to see out a playing career that he believes has two years left. In those circumstances, he can hardly be criticised for seriously considering a move that fulfils that desire on paper.
Another aspect is playing time. Wenger is looking for another centre back to replace the seemingly soon-to-be-departed William Gallas and a new signing is likely to be ahead of Campbell in the queue for a first team place. Add Johan Djourou into the mix and Campbell is suddenly the fourth choice, a bit of a comedown for a man who harboured ambitions of being on the plane to South Africa as a playing member of the England squad.
It could be that Campbell has also noted the pace of the Premier League and the quality of his opponents, judging that he might be able to handle the Scottish top flight more comfortably. We shall see.
However, this instance once more highlights the potential pitfalls of the one-year policy at Arsenal. Whilst the fitness concerns about ageing players are not misplaced, there are plenty of examples of over-30s who have played thirty or more games in a season without any noticeable injuries arising. Arsenal will no doubt claim that they have reviewed each case on its merits and someone with the injury record of William Gallas may be unreasonable to a certain extent in expecting an improved contract.
Yet in the case of Gilberto and Robert Pires, was the decision right? The latter is clouded by his injuries early on at Villarreal but they were sustained in challenges and cannot be indicators of definite problems had he remained at Arsenal. With Gilberto, his departure came at a time when Flamini left for Milan. However, with the belief that Flamini strung Arsenal along until deciding to go to Italy, would Gilberto have been tempted to stay with a deal.
In some cases Wenger has got it right but as with the younger players, there are examples of it going wrong and will be more in the future. It appears that Arsenal is the only club that overtly applies this policy, a knock-on from the cultivation of younger players. A balance should be found with more flexibility for excellent players.
Posted on May 26, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 404 Comments.