When Is A Player Good Enough?
Arsene has been rebuffed in his search for all and sundry this morning with another summer passing and Sebastian Frey not joining Arsenal because Fiorentina are not selling. Equally disappointing is the news that Mark Schwarzer is not joining because Fulham are not selling. Wenger’s options are becoming increasingly limited if he wants to buy a goalkeeper; it’s going to be world-class or nothing. Or a Moldovan who is talking a good game and believes he will be signing for Arsenal tomorrow for £5m. Which Arsenal that is remains to be seen because even by Wenger’s low-key standards…[Thwack! Enough of the sarcasm – Ed.]
Central defenders have risen to the fore but no higher than 6’2. Per Mertesacker is not joining Arsenal this summer because Werder Bremen are not selling – do you ever get a feeling of deja vu? Fear not though, Emir Spahic is talking a good game and in these times of rebuttal, it is nice to see someone who wants to join Arsenal. The player is quoted as saying that talks are progressing well with Arsenal.
It has been greeted underwhelmingly because most of us have not seen him player regularly for Montpellier. Apparently this equates to him not being good enough to play for Arsenal because – and this was my favourite comment last night – “I know all of the world-class centre backs in Europe and I’ve never heard of him. He ain’t good enough“. It has been pointed out that he was a crucial member of the Montpellian campaign which resulted in his club qualifying for the Europa League, his form also taking him into several ‘Team of the Season‘ picks.
I have not seen Spahic play so cannot pass comment on how good he is. Nor can I comment on the veracity of the reported statement by the player although the source seems to be relatively reliable. However, the reaction to this story is quite telling. Quite simply, the internet is ruining reputations before players have even joined. Those of a certain age will be able to relate to this observation. When George Graham signed Steve Bould and Lee Dixon, few had seen either play on a regular basis. Nowadays, the pair would be disparaged and dismissed before setting foot on the pitch in an Arsenal shirt. Dixon in particular was replacing an experienced England international, Viv Anderson, and would nowadays have been written off.
Perhaps I am too idealistic but it would surely be better to wait and see if (a) the player signs and (b) the player’s ability before ending his Arsenal career? Too many comments had the ring of waiting for a self-satisfying ‘Told you so‘ in a year’s time.
Defensive lynchpin Thomas Vermaelen is not obviously concerned about whom he partners this season. In recent weeks he has praised both Koscielny and Djourou, highlighting their individual and team strengths. Wenger bought the Belgian international for his leadership and winning mentality:
You have to keep performing every year. If you play for Arsenal you can never say ‘I had a good year, so now I’ll ease off’. That’s not possible. People ask you to do better every year and I will try to do that. It’s always more difficult to stay at that level and next year that is the challenge – not only to maintain the level but to improve upon it because it wasn’t enough last season. We didn’t achieve anything. We have to grow again.
Given that the title was lost in the final seven games – thirteen points dropped from twenty-one – the improvement is to win the title. A number of the squad are accused on a regular basis of being satisfied with their wages and nothing more. It would be a surprise if the fringe players do not have an element of that mentality, knowing that they are not going to break into the first team squad on a regular basis. But to accuse ‘regulars’ merely serves to justify an irrational dislike of individuals.
That is not an accusation which can be levelled against Vermaelen and it is not hard to see why he was captain of Ajax and Belgium. Looking at the squad, it is also not hard to see why he would be a popular choice as captain.
Posted on August 4, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Rumours. Bookmark the permalink. 342 Comments.