It’s been a while since I delivered a post, partly due to the fact that the season is over but mostly due to my ever increasingly hectic schedule. So I felt I should write about what’s been on my mind lately.
Like all Gooners worldwide, it’s going to be a very long month and a half before I get to see my beloved Arsenal play. This is because I can feel that a wind of change will blow our way, and 2013-14 is going to be a season when the respect we have lost over the years will be taken back. For now, though, the transfer season is here and rumours have been flying left, right and centre regarding potential arrivals and departures. Nothing new there.
I have to admit the suspense which comes with waiting to see what moves Le boss will make in the market, is killing me. On a positive note, though, the preseason trip to Asia, the emirates cup and the friendly against city, will afford us a chance to see what the new faces will bring to the squad – and against proper opposition, I might add (the latter competitions more so).
A few days ago, phase one of getting rid of the dead wood in the squad commenced with the confirmation that the contracts of Arshavin, Denilson and Squillaci have ran out, and they have been released by the club. There are still a quite a few names missing from this list, but I digress from my subject matter.
It is becoming obvious that this is going to be a summer where the squad will be virtually overhauled, where more than 5 players will leave and roughly the same number brought in. Call it my 6th sense but I think that’s why the club has packed our preseason like that. Wenger has the ins and outs in mind and wants the new faces to have proper preparation before our new campaign begins. And people wonder why they call him Le Prof.
The main reason for this post though lies more with the outs than the ins. Like I said earlier, the rumour mill is going wild as expected with TV5, Poldi, Rosicky, Gervinho, Koscielny, Wilshere and Sagna all being linked with exits from the clubs. Some of the names on here are ridiculous, or rather, are unacceptable to the Gunners faithful. Wilshere, Poldi and Kos being the three. With some, the fans smile inside and hope that the predictions and links by the media come to fruition: a certain Ivorian comes to mind. Finally there are those who split opinion and this is my reason for writing this post. Obviously I am referring to TV5, Rosicky and Sagna.
It is of no debate that, by their standards, these three had less than stellar seasons. With Rosicky and Sagna injury was to blame and weirdly enough, these two were able to pick themselves up and finish strongly. With TV5, I can’t really tell you why. Some say it is the pressure of being made skipper but ultimately, only he can tell us what changed to cause this loss of form. I won’t dwell on that, however.
As is expected, there is a section of fans AND media which is calling for their heads. More so because they know that in this transfer window, Wenger has the financial capability to replace them. I am here to prove to you that this would be a mistake. A massive one at that.
Axing these three players would not only be insanely myopic, but would have an effect on the team that these critics don’t seem to see. These three are the longest serving Gunners we have. Not only that, they are the most experienced, and at their best are undoubtedly world class.
If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why despite the poor season Vermaelen has had, he is still being linked to the likes of Barcelona. These players have not only football but Arsenal football experience, which is part of a balance that would see us win a trophy next season, if Wenger played his cards right. There is always talk of Wilshere, Walcott, the Ox as the spine of the team, but take away the three mentioned and see the adverse effect it would have on the team.
Their experience is what guides us. These are players who are leaders on the field. How many times has TV5, a defender, scored a winning goal that awarded us 3 crucial points? When we are under pressure, which three players are you assured will remain calm and pull us across the finish line? With the exception of Jack, it is these three. They are also mentors to the younger players and even Jack in all his glory I’m sure would attest to the guidance he has received from Rosicky. In the away tie vs Bayern, Rosicky ran our midfield. Sagna was part of that incredible back four. This is a game that many would have choked. Just ask Barca players.
I am going to come out and make a very bold statement that is sure to cause some debate.
If we sell these three, no matter who we replace them with, there is an 70% chance that we will not win anything next season. At least not yet.
I say this because you cannot replace their experience at Arsenal, the EPL and as footballers in general. They know the workings of the club and league in and out and are core of experience that we need to build around in order to achieve success. Thankfully, Le boss seems to agree with me and is working to ensure that they stay firmly put as we prepare to mount a serious title challenge next term.
I will leave you with something to ponder on. Form is temporary, but class is permanent.
Written by: Marcus.
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