No Resting On Your Laurents
When the news of the day around Arsenal includes the stage being erected for a Coldplay gig, you know it is quiet times. Laurent Koscielny came fourth…pffffft, who cares? Player of the Season will be
Jack Wilshere Robin van Persie, surely (a) recognition of the Dutchman’s efforts and (b) his marketability. Unless of course, a real surge of protest votes came at the last minute, fed up with the contract saga, and Gervinho is going to cap his debut season with a gong. Somehow I doubt it.
Koscielny is candid about his improved form this time around, in his own words happier on and off the pitch. Transfers are an interesting subject. Not in the gossip or the chicanery which surrounds the deal itself but in the club’s attitude to the players. In their recently revised book, Soccernomics, Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski offer an interesting insight into football’s attitude to new players: get on with it. Very few offer, for example, dedicated staff who assist with the players who are relocating.
When you think about it, it is at once a strange state of affairs yet utterly expected. Clubs invest millions – Eden Hazard is expected to cost Chelsea about £80m over the course of his contract. £80m. And Chelsea will do very little to help him settle. His will be the least complicated type of move; single male, no family. Others are not so fortunate, left in hotels with children to school, etc. It cannot be an easy adjustment; it can be hard enough moving to different areas in the same country, let alone cross borders with language barriers and associated cultural differences.
Koscielny had to deal with his family settling in this country as well as himself. It is little wonder that new players sometimes struggle to settle at a club or take time to rediscover their form. None of this matters to supporters though; patience wears thin very quickly and judgements formed in those early stages are hard to change for the positive. It is quite easy for them to become more entrenched and negative.
Koscielny bucked that trend. Derided when he was signed because of the club and league he came from, the centre back has turned things around in opinions. Factor in his contribution to the Wembley debacle and you see the enormous strides he has made to become a French international. That is recognition enough of his personal form this season.
It is an example that you hope Gervinho follows. The initial hope trailed off post-ACN. That may be issue again with the same competition arising this Winter. The disruption that tournament wreaks is not unique to the Ivorian but Arsenal need to be prepared for this eventuality. I am sure it will be a stick with which he is beaten metaphorically speaking, during the coming campaign.
A quiet day and I would be surprised if that changes before next Wednesday. Why then? Ivan is hosting a Q&A session so expect any good news on that morning or at that session. Arsenal On This Day marks the anniversary of Ted Drake’s death.