Morning good people of Goonerland.
Yet again, quite unsurprisingly, little of note is happening by way of the Arsenal news scene. The occasional ‘Giroud to Arsenal’ story is being scraped from the proverbial football sidewalk, being fed into the combine harvester that is the Internet and being re-worded as new content for the hungry gooner masses to feast upon, all for the sake of a few click throughs. It’s funny though, invisible and pointless statistics that mean nothing yet can be so important can affect any humble web trafficker. I would be a man with his pants ablaze if I didn’t admit that occasionally it is nice to see that more people than my dad read my thoughts on this blog. Although I’d like to caveat that comment by saying that it was not the reason why I got into this blogging game. I actually use it as my own version of footballing therapy, laying my thoughts bare, like some sort of online punchbag for me to leather hard pretending it’s my year 9 geography teacher. I would definitely recommend you try it.
Anyway on to more pertinent commentary relating to…well…footballing matters obviously. With little of any real news to bring, I thought I’d share a thought I’ve been having since the start of these Euros. It relates to this strange double-edged sword that many of us fans suffer from when watching some Arsenal players playing for their national sides and involves the players in particular that could be leaving the summer.
In essence, it is the Catch 22 that is wanting the Arsenal management to ship a player on and get enough money for him so it can be re-invested on better players out in the marketplace, but not wanting them to be too amazing because you start to wonder a) why they couldn’t do it last season and b) whether selling them on will come back to haunt you in the future a la Nicolas Anelka for Bolton and Chelski, or Adebayor for City and spurs. I cite a couple of examples in this situation: Andrey Arshavin and Niklas Bendtner.
Arshavin was widely tipped to be leaving the club in the summer and around February of this year those in the ‘pro Arshavin’ camp were outnumbered somewhat by those wanting him out. In fact it was quite difficult to locate the ‘pro Arshavin’ camp amongst all the pitchforks and teeth nashers. Fast-forward to June and an inspired performance in a Russian shirt has led some Arsenal fans that called for his head taking to Twitter and wondering whether or not he could actually come back to the club in some sort of rejuvenated Tomas Rosicky ‘Phoenix from the flames’ style script. The same goes with Bendtner. Many will question whether a good international tournament this summer will mean the manager could, or even should, rethink his perspective on the big Dane and talk to him about having another shot at breaking in to the first team. However the potential arrival of Giroud would probably spell the end in that regard.
To these people, whilst I respect your views, I have to try to pour a little bit of cold water on this line of questioning. Firstly with the Euros itself. International football has totally different demands on players than club football. Players are playing with different teammates, strike difference bonds and have different roles within each squad. just look at the all-conquering Lionel Messi as a classic example. Unbeatable in the striped shirt of the Catalan giants Barcelona, unnoticeable in the striped shirt of his native Argentina.
The pace of international football is also different, noticeably slower than the fast and frenetic Premier League. There are countless examples of players that have excelled at international level but could not make it In the Premier League and in this tournament alone we’ve seen a resurgent Schevchenko roll back the years and drag his country over the line to claw three precious points. So a player that can jink passed four international defenders might not necessarily be able to saunter their way into the Stoke penalty box with a clodhopper like Shawcross salivating in their ears. For some players the English game is just not their cup of tea and we have to respect that and wish them a good career elsewhere. Unless its Barcelona. Then they can attach themselves to Xavi’s undercarriage and disappear for all I care.
Ultimately, as a season ticket holder, when it comes to The Arsenal players i’ve been watching for nine months of the year, i’llkeep my judgements until the end of the season and try to make my opinions of a player when all the smoke has cleared. I personally think Arshavin’s time is probably up at Arsenal. By his own admission, he stated that Wenger lost faith in him, which effectively seals his exit from the club. And as for Bendtner, whilst I felt (and still feel) he has more to offer than the statues of Chamakh and Park on the bench last season, Wenger’s insistence on playing him as a left winger demonstrates to me that he’s probably lost faith in him too. And that is surely the end of their tenures. Bendtner’s own press mutterings won’t have helped either.
So it leaves people like me in a bit of a state of limbo when watching performances like Arshavin’s last night and at the weekend. On the one hand I am rueful that he couldn’t replicate that form for us last season, but on the other I am pleased – a good tournament should add a couple of million on to the price tag which, I would hope, could be reinvested in getting new players in and not subsidising big fat contracts for crocked players or perennial bench warmers. I think that is probably why so many Arsenal fans seem to worry about how much money we get for players. It’s true that we don’t physically benefit from an extra few million on a players resale value, but because we have been told how important it is that Arsenal are self sustaining, we know that the only chance we have of improving the squad is if we make good money on players. Arsenal fans have effectively all become accountants because of the clubs agenda and sometimes propaganda. But that’s probably another debate for another day.
Have a good one folks. Until tomorrow.