Daily Archives: February 11, 2014
Arsenal has been renowned in recent times as a “selling club” following the high-profile departures of key players in recent seasons. Unlike a club like Atletico Madrid that replaces a high-profile departure with an equally exciting new signing, Arsenal usually replaces their stars with cheaper options that won’t match the player that left for greener pastures.
For instance, Arsenal lost two creative talents in the forms of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the same summer but the manager chose to favor an Aaron Ramsey that wasn’t ready at point in time, so he struggled for fitness and form. More recently, the Gunners lost a perpetual goalscoring machine of the first kind, Robin van Persie, and replaced him with Olivier Giroud, a forward that combines his purple patch of good form with goal droughts.
This summer, it looked as if the Gunners finally got it right in the transfer window, as the club was a deadwood-disposal campaign which saw the likes of Gervinho and Vito Mannone leave for meager amounts while Andre Santos, Denilson, Andrey Arshavin, Seb Squillaci and Marouane Chamakh left for nothing. The Gunners went on to sign a progidal son, Mathieu Flamini, and a world-class talent in Mesut Ozil, which gave everyone a lift.
Since then, Arsenal has mounted an impressive Premier League campaign (currently in second place), awaiting a FA Cup fifth round clash at home to Liverpool and they have a double date with the European champions, Bayern Munich.
Just when we thought we were having a bad start to the week after the decimation at Anfield, the Daily Star has reported that the club’s most consistent fullback, Bacary Sagna, and reserve goalie, Lukasz Fabianski, have rejected new deals with the club and are set to leave on a Bosman this summer.
According to the Daily Star, Fabianski said,
“I want to be No.1 in the club and in the Polish national team. I have learned a lot at London during very positive and challenging periods. With biggest respect to this great club, I didn’t accept the extension offer as I am looking forward to a new challenge in England or abroad.”
Since his arrival as Manuel Almunia’s deputy in 2007, Fabianski has made just 71 appearances and has kept 22 clean sheets. That’s an average of just 10 games per season and for a young keeper in need of consistent game time, that’s not good enough. His cause isn’t also helped by the fact that he’s been benched by his Polish compatriot, Wojciech Szczesny, and with Artur Boruc doing well in Southampton, Fabianski is unlikely to add to his 21 caps for Poland.
The Polish goalie has expressed his dissatisfaction over lack of game time in the past and there was a time when he instructed his agent to find him a new club. Lukasz Fabianski arrived at Arsenal on the back of two Polish League Goalkeeper of the Year awards for 2005 and 2006 but he was a deputy for Manuel Almunia. Wenger offered the Pole a chance in the Cup competitions but he continued to push hard for a first team place.
It was fabled that Fabianski kept like a goalie with eyes behind his back on the training ground but he couldn’t replicate that form on the pitch. When I think of his top-notch calamitous moment against Porto in February 2010, I always give myself a few fits of laughter but Fabianski matured as a player in the 2010/11 campaign. Manuel Almunia let complacency creep into his game and Fabianski came in his stead and grabbed the bull by its horns and its balls.
There were times when Fabianski would have had the chance to make the No. 1 jersey his, but he has had some bad luck with injuries. After usurping Almunia in the 2010/11 campaign, Fabianski played consistently and put up some great performances notably against Everton (away) and Wolves (away). However, a shoulder injury paved the way for Szczesny to make his Premier League debut. Last season, Wenger reinstated Fabianski ahead of Szczesny in the crucial encounter against Bayern Munich and he kept his place against Swansea recording two clean sheets in a row. Unfortunately, a rib injury suffered in the game against Norwich cost the Pole his place.
There are not many second-choice goalies that are as good as Fabianski and with his heart made up with an imminent departure, I wish him all the very best. I hope he moves to a Premier League mid-table side so that at least, I can get to watch him on a consistent basis, and when he comes to the Emirates, his songs will be in full voice.
I’ve shared my thoughts about Bacary Sagna’s future and I won’t drawn into making more words on it but all I can say is that losing a player like Sagna would be disastrous, but if the club can replace him with quality players like Lukasz Piszczesk, Seamus Coleman, Sebastien Corchia or some random bloke from outer space, the blow would be softened. I don’t believe that Carl Jenkinson has what it takes to replace Sagna yet but he’ll get there soon.
According to the Daily Star, Sagna is upset that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal did not approach him sooner about a new deal, leaving talks until his final year at the club – in sharp contrast to their approach to other stars. Arsenal wants Sagna to sign a contract extension with the same amount of £60,000 a week but the defender feels that he deserves more.
For a player that has served this club with all dedication even to the extent of breaking his leg twice, it would be a shame if Arsenal loses Sagna because of a few extra pounds. Teams like Galatasaray, Paris St. Germain and AS Monaco will be willing to break bank for Sagna and for the fact that we haven’t heard any info about them signing a pre-contract with the fullback, it means that he still wants to stay but he believes that he has earned a pay rise.
Sagna would be 31 on Friday and this protracted saga would continue till the end of the season. However, it doesn’t look as if it’s affecting his game, even though he and the rest of his teammates had an off day in Anfield.
I’ll keep you updated as the situation unfolds.
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