Commitment issues and King Henry’s homecoming
Questions have been asked about Wenger’s philosophy, tactics, physios and players but he has done well to give answers to keep everyone in check. Arsenal’s most successful manager of all time is currently going through a spell that would have cost him his job if he was in any other club. Frank Rijkaard defeated Wenger to win European club football’s biggest prize in 2006 but was sacked after going trophy-less seasons after. Carlo Ancelotti is a classic example of how ruthless some club owners can be. Shortly after winning the club’s first league and cup double in eons in the 2009/10 campaign, the U.S.S.R. dictator wasted no time in giving him the boot despite the fact that he overcame all adversity to finish in 2nd place after a grueling campaign.
Since his time at Arsenal, Wenger has built up many players with most of them owing their footballing careers to him. Francesc Fabregas was a young talented midfielder that played his football in Barcelona’s Mutant Academy but he was groomed and polished to perfection by AW the Alchemist. He came in as a direct replacement for Arsenal’s talisman Patrick Vieira, who served the club for 9 amazing years. Since his arrival, Fabregas grew from strength to strength to become one of the best central midfielders in his generation. He has also scooped many individual records and awards in his time at Arsenal but there’s something that has eluded Fabregas so far. The same thing that has eluded everybody that has been in Arsenal since the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium. Trophies.
It’s very true that a branch can’t make up a tree but Fabregas has given his all for the club with the hope of winning silverware but something always happen at the day of reckoning. Even after scoring 19 goals, supplying almost the same amount in assists and breaking his leg in service to the team in the tail end of the 2009/10 season, he watched from the sidelines and witnessed his team get decimated by Lionel Messi in the Champions League quarter finals, manhandled by Stoke in the FA Cup and lost the decisive games in the Premier League.
When his leg healed, he jumped into the jet with 22 other Spainiards to South Africa and spent an entire month in Africa winning football’s biggest prize in the process. He was wooed by his national teammates playing for that Alien club called Barcelona but Wenger convinced him to his team a chance to win things and he decided to stay with the Gunners. His performances last season were not as sky-high as his performances in the previous season but he still gave his all. He struggled with his hamstring for a considerable chunk of the season but got injured a week before getting a shot to win Arsenal’s first silverware in 6 years. The Carling Cup.
The team was so unified that they told Wenger that the injured Fabregas was going to lift the trophy despite the fact that he wasn’t going to kick the ball with them for 90 minutes. Fabregas watched as Nikola Zigic put Birmingham in front before his vice captain scored an amazing equalizer but got injured in the process. Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny put the nail in Arsenal’s coffin as Obafemi Martins put his name in the history books. Barcelona inflicted damage again in the Champions League, Manchester United did their bit in the FA Cup and Arsenal’s title challenge ended in a disaster making them the first team involved in a two-horse finishing fourth.
As expected, many players in the squad became wary and many grumbled a lot. Denilson was the first to raise the white flag and he has been sent across the Atlantic to play for his previous employers. Nicklas Bendtner was next in line to declare his intentions about leaving and he has been a subject of speculation with many suitors awaiting his signature. There was a point when Andrey Arshavin was linked out but he cleared the air and said that he’s staying. Clichy refused to sign a new deal and he’s now in the Blue half of Manchester. The futures of Manuel Almunia, Carlos Vela and Farmer Eboue are still hanging in the balance but the most notable names seeking greener pastures elsewhere are Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
Arsene Wenger has claimed that no money would be able to tempt the club to part with Cesc Fabregas providing he wants to stay, but suggested that his skipper and Samir Nasri must be committed to the club if they are to continue at the Emirates. He says,
“If Fabregas is committed to this club and wants to stay, no money will get him out of here. We are not in a position where we need to sell our players. We want to keep our players. We are not looking after money. We want the players to stay here, from our side that is clear.”
“It’s not ideal for us on the financial side [Nasri potentially leaving on a free transfer next summer] but, on the sporting side, he is an important player. We have to deal with the situation one way or another. In the next 10 days we have to be clear on that front.”
“If you ask me if I want to keep him [Nasri], I say yes. But he needs to be committed to that as well. I don’t give them [Fabregas and Nasri] 10 days, the transfer period is until August 31.” “Ideally, we go into big games in two weeks, in the next two weeks we have to sort our problems out. There is no specific deadline of one day or 24 hours. It’s not like you shoot a shuttle into space. Sometimes it’s very quick on that front and sometimes it’s very slow.”
“If I translate your question you are asking [on potentially signing Mata] that if the two go do we need to sign one then of course. They are two exceptional players and that’s why personally I want to keep the two. I play the players who are available and Nasri is available so I play him.”
“Yesterday, I made a check up of all our situations and, I must tell you, nothing has moved since yesterday. Not one way, nor another way. Cesc loves deeply this club, he loves deeply as well Barcelona. That shows you that an honest player can love two clubs at the same time. He cares about this club and that’s why I hope we can keep him.”
This saga has gone on for a very long while and it’s eating into me. If Fabregas wants to go to Barcelona, he should ping Pep Guardiola with his BlackBerry and tell him that he should cough out £40m or hold his peace forever. We live in a World where Andy Carroll can be purchased for £35m and Jordan Henderson can be acquired for £20m so why would Barcelona insult Arsenal with a meager £26m bid for the best 24-year old central midfielder in existence?
As for Samir Nasri, I prayed to God that Inter Milan, Bayern Munich or oil money PSG would wake up from their slumber and bring the £20m that Manchester City wants to offer because Nasri is very replaceable. As a player, he’s still in his learning curve and I’m in the opinion that Juan Mata is way better than him so if he doesn’t want to sign a new deal, so be it. The Wenger of old would have accepted Man City’s bid but the only thing constant in life is change.
Moving over to happier news, Thierry Daniel Henry will be the star attraction of Arsenal’s match against the New York Red Bulls this evening. He was voted as the best ever player to wear the Red and White and he’s still Arsenal’s all-time top goal scorer with 226 goals with 174 scored in the league. Henry is a player I’ve adored all my life and I’m pretty sure that I’ll get his autograph someday; even if he’s very old in a mansion wearing a set of pyjamas like Hugh Hefner. Henry has said that today’s game is going to be emotional and you’d expect that from a Gunner at heart.
When Arsenal played Barcelona in 2009, Henry couldn’t believe that he was playing against the club he was worshiped and adored and he didn’t play well at all. His services were not even needed in the 2nd leg because Messi did all the damage himself with 4 well-taken goals.
Welcome back, King Thierry Henry.
I hope that the fans will sing all your songs this evening.
I could do with an own goal though 🙂
Here’s to the Emirates Cup
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.