Analysis of Arsenal’s want away players
Arsenal Football Club can be regarded as one of the heavyweights in World football because of their status in the Premier League as well as the Champions League. The club has won 13 League titles, 10 FA Cups, two League Cups, one European Cup Winners Cup and one Fairs Cup. In Arsene Wenger’s first 9 years as the manager of Arsenal FC, he amassed a large trophy haul ranging from Premier League titles to FA Cups and Community Shields.
However, Wenger’s last six seasons with the club hasn’t brought any fond memories because the club has not delivered any silverware of any sort. Arsenal has dropped from being the dominant force that challenged Manchester United every season for a title to a side that labels Champions League qualification as a success. After ending the season in 2nd place to Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2005, Arsenal has been in a zigzag like motion in terms of their final position in the League. In 2007, Arsenal ended at 4th place, 2008 (3rd place), 2009 (4th place), 2010 (3rd place) and this concluded season at 4th place again.
The only players that have stood on a podium in Arsenal colors are Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy, Francesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie. The remaining lot is yet to experience that feeling at the club and this has made some of the “ambitious” players grow wary. Lack of playing time at the club has also been a factor to some of the players seeking a move elsewhere.
Here’s an overview of Arsenal’s want away players.
Denilson Perreira Neves
Denilson was the part of the Brazil Under-20 side that won the South American Championships and was labeled as the next best thing in Brazil so he snapped up for £3.4m from Sao Paulo in 2006. With World Cup winner Gilberto Silva, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Song and Lassana Diarra all in the squad, Denilson had to settle for Carling Cup starts but as the years went by, Denilson found himself available for first team action and he took his chance in the 2008/09 season because he was the Gunner with the highest amount of appearances that season.
Jack Wilshere’s emergence this season limited the Brazilian to Cup matches and substitute appearances in the League but Denilson was a shadow of the player that was quite impressive 3 seasons ago. After Arsenal played Fulham, the Brazilian told the World that he’s a frustrated figure at the club and he’s going to leave. He ended it all with a sentence that will probably be in Wenger’s head for years to come.
“We play beautiful football but you have to play UGLY if you want to win”
Want away rating: 10/10
Nicklas Bendtner is a striker that was discovered at a very early age by Wenger and he has been groomed ever since. There was even a period in his young career when Wenger sent him on loan to Birmingham City to get match fitness and competitive footballing experience. Bendtner spent a considerable chunk of his career at the fringes but he got his big break when van Persie was sidelined for five months after a rash tackle by Giorgio Chiellini in a meaningless friendly tie between Italy and the Netherlands. Bendtner relished his opportunity and came with the goods in various games with the matches against Hull and Wolves the most notable. There was even a point when Bendtner got his first hattrick for the club but van Persie’s resurgence this concluded season dented Bendtner’s chances of cementing a first team place so he was deployed by Wenger to the right wing to get some playing time but the winger has been dissatisfied with his new role. Few weeks after Arsenal played their curtain closer against Fulham, Bendtner came out to say that he wants to leave the club.
Want away rating: 9/10
The Spaniard has always been the silent type and he left his first team football in Celta Vigo to join Arsenal in 2004. He was labeled as Arsenal’s ‘Cup’ keeper because he was the custodian in the FA Cup and League Cup games while Jens Lehmann kept for the Gunners in the Premier League and the Champions League. When Lehmann fell from grace due to his costly errors against Fulham and Blackburn in the start of the 2007/08 season, Wenger handed the goalkeeping baton to Almunia and the blonde haired keeper performed admirably and made the number 1 jersey his to keep. When Lehmann departed the club for Stuttgart, Arsenal brought in Lukasz Fabianski to understudy Almunia but the Pole kept making high profile mistakes. This brought in an air of complacency in Almunia’s game and the goalie was punished for it this concluded season. Fabianski replaced him in September and put up solid performances before getting injured in January. Wojciech Szczesny also replaced Fabianski for the remainder of the season and performed admirably. This now means that Almunia has dropped down the pecking order and a move away from Arsenal will be the best thing for the 33-year because he’s not getting any younger.
He was linked with a move to Turkey and Spain during the winter transfer window so I won’t be surprised if they come for him again.
Want away rating: 7/10
There was a certain 17-year old Mexican that took the Under-17 World Cup in 2005 by storm winning the golden boot. He was lauded so much by the media that there were claims that he’ll probably be greater than the Aztec legend Cuauctemoc Blanco. Arsenal snapped the lad up from Chivas Guadalajara but work permit issues made Wenger loan the youngster out to Spanish clubs to get playing time under his belt. After a series of loan spells, Wenger decided to unleash Vela to the World in the 2008/09 season. The youngster wowed the fans with a superb hattrick against Sheffield United but he failed to maintain that consistency and the games came in thick and thin. Last season, Vela managed a meager amount of games but it was a lot worse this concluded season. He managed to score 3 goals for Arsenal but he was shipped out to West Brom on loan to get some games under his belt. Wenger has blocked him from playing with his nation this summer in the Copa America but there are reports that Vela might be on his way out of Arsenal.
West Brom has inquired for his services but there are fresh reports that he might be on his way to Galatasaray.
Want away rating: 6/10
Arsene Wenger has had a long line of left backs that have served the club well in his time as Arsenal’s manager. Nigel Winterburn was a part of that back 4 that represented solidity and firmness in Arsenal’s defense. There was also a period when Sylvinho and Giovanni van Bronckhorst served the club but the next in line for years of service was Ashley Cole. The left back has bags of pace in him and worked telepathically with Robert Pires. In his final years with Arsenal, Wenger bought an unknown left back form AS Cannes to understudy Cole but Cole’s departure to Chelsea paved the way for Arsenal’s present longest serving player, Gael Clichy. His pace, surges of energy as well as quality crosses from the left flank earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Year in 2008 but in recent times, Clichy has become very complacent and his errors in judgment has cost Arsenal some vital points with the most notable in the game against Eduardo’s Shakhtar in the Donbas Arena. Clichy presently has one year in his contract but he has refused to sign a new deal yet so there’s a 50/50 chance that he’s going to leave the club for greener pastures.
Want away rating: 5/10
Farmer Emmanuel Eboue
The African cult hero, cocoa farmer and diving specialist displaced one of the best right backs Arsenal has ever produced after Lee Dixon, Lauren Etame-Mayer. In Arsenal’s Road to Paris 06’ final adventure in the Champions League, Eboue was one of the standout performers in that Arsenal side that almost made history. He knew when to balance attack with defense and he had an inch perfect cross. It was Eboue that gave Robin van Persie that beautiful cross against Charlton in the 2006/07 season that saw the Dutch forward shoot the ball in mid-air. The turning point in Eboue’s career was Wenger’s mistake of promoting him to the right wing of attack. Eboue isn’t the best of dribblers in the World but spending so much time up-field took its toll on the Ivorian anytime he’s deployed back to his right back position. This concluded season, Sagna’s goals, crosses, consistent play and amazing fitness limited Eboue to Cup matches and the Ivorian wasn’t too impressive in those games. The media Vultures has played their part in linking Eboue out of Arsenal but he hasn’t been vocal about it.
There was a point in time when they linked Eboue to our bitter rivals Tottenham.
Want away rating: 4/10
Samir Nasri joined Arsenal as the ideal replacement for Aliaksandr Hleb and did well to get a goal on his debut when Arsenal played West Brom in the summer of 2008. Nasri’s versatility has been exploited by Wenger throughout his 3-year stint with the club but he has shown his true colors when he plays in the hole behind the front three. Nasri is a player that has been played by injury in recent seasons but the 2010/11 campaign will be fondly remembered by the Frenchman. After missing out on the 23-man list that represented France in the World Cup, Nasri took the remainder of 2010 by storm with breathtaking performances and scintillating goals. Nasri was awarded for his footballing exploits by winning the French Footballer of the Year award but Arsenal’s downward spiral at the business end of the season came as a shock to Nasri, Fabregas, van Persie and the rest of the lot. This summer also meant that Nasri had a year left on his contract so Arsenal was left with two choices regarding his future, sale to another team or a new deal. Wenger chose the latter but Nasri has been stalling because he wants pay parity with the club’s highest earner Cesc Fabregas. This issue has dragged on for weeks but it seems as if Arsenal has heeded to his demands so a new contract of £110,000 might be on the cards for Nasri.
Want away rating: 3/10
If Arsenal can be likened to a man, Fabregas will be his heart. The Spaniard was picked at a very young age and was sent into action by Wenger. Fabregas still holds the record for Arsenal’s youngest ever scorer with his goal against Wolves in 2003 at the age of 16 years 212 days. He also held the record as Arsenal’s youngest ever player at 16 years and 177 days against Rotherham in 2003 but Jack Wilshere broke that record in that 4-0 victory against Blackburn in 2009. At the age of 24, Fabregas has already spent 8 years at Arsenal Football Club but he has been the subject of constant speculation regarding a move to his hometown club, FC Barcelona. While Barcelona’s player have done their part with their numerous DNA clichés, the club hasn’t done its own part because the fee they offer for Arsenal’s captain is more or less a mockery to the club because we live in a World where Jordan Henderson can be bought for £20m, James Milner for £30m and Andy Carroll for £35m. Fabregas is a highly ambitious player but his professionalism cannot be questioned because he has remained faithful to Arsenal against all odds. Fabregas can’t be compared with Totti of Roma, Terry of Chelsea and Gerrard of Liverpool because the aforementioned players were born and bred in the cities where these clubs are located. One day, Arsenal would allow Fabregas go to Barcelona but that will be when his elbows hurt him for lifting many trophies for the club. That way, the gooners will bid their farewell to “El Capitan” in the same way they said their goodbyes to Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira; with tears that are big enough to fill up buckets.
Want away rating: 1/10
The tweet of the day goes to the Lampback of Stamford Dame, Frank Lampard.
“@FrankLampardUK: #Arsenal, the only team that finished 4th in a two horse race”
We are the only team that have ended up with a draw after going 4 goals up in the Premier League.
We are also the only team that has drawn a match even after scoring in the 98th minute so we might as well be the only team that finished 4th in a two horse race.