Howdy y’all (I don’t know why I’m lapsing into Cowboy vernacular).
At a time of year us Arsenal supporters are accustomed to a barrage of stories linking our players with moves away from the club, this summer is refreshingly different. Walcott, Ramsey, Jenkinson, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain have already penned new contracts, Vermaelen intends to fight for his place, and now Rosicky and Koscielny have stated their desire to remain at Arsenal.
I almost miss Barcelona sniffing around, and their deplorable minions spewing their thoughts in the media at every available moment. Had that occured this season, I actually think I may have travelled to Catalonia just to punch Dani Alves or Xavi in the face.
With only one year remaining on his contract, Tomas Rosicky states he won’t be returning to Sparta Prague and is very much in the managers plans for next season. Good news, as Tomas adds a little bit of urgency to our midield, and I’m nothing but an unabashed fan of his.
Laurent Koscielny, however, stated his desire to stay, but it came with a caveat of sorts. I’m far from the type to want players at Arsenal who aren’t hungry for success, but I can’t help but worry slightly when vastly improved members of the team say things like this:
“I feel good at Arsenal, if we have ambition to fight against the other teams of course I want to stay here.
“It’s hard psychologically. We are constantly pressured because if Arsenal is not in the Champions League it would be a catastrophe.
“It is hard to not win titles year after year. We are competitors, professionals, we want to win.
“I want to add to my list of achievements. If Arsenal cannot allow me that, I’ll seek a move elsewhere.”
I’m not sure how much of that last part is genuine. I’ve read the same story in various places and the end does tend to read differently depending on how bombastic the website likes to be. However, the general message conveyed remains the same, and I can’t say I hold anything against Laurent for saying it.
He wants to win titles. Arsenal should employ players with that mentality. We’d be foolish not to. However, I can’t help but be a little disappointed every time I hear/read it. It’s one thing to have ambition, it’s another thing entirely to state your desire to move elsewhere if your current team doesn’t succeed. At the end of the day, some things are best left unsaid, as people will invariably blow those things out of proportion when they are.
Elsewhere today, Arsene has received the backing of one-yime confident and friend, David Dein – a man sorely missed at Arsenal, in my opinion. Dein says:
“I think there is plenty to celebrate in finishing fourth. Arsene has yet again waved his magic wand to come fourth and get into the Champions League as he has done for the last 16 years.
“It was quite remarkable because it was not the greatest squad he has ever had, they are certainly talented, but I think for what he had working with him this season he has done really well to get into the Champions League.
“To a lot of Arsenal fans, of course, that’s not good enough, because in the final analysis they still finished 16 points behind Manchester United, and that’s not classed as success.
“I know Arsene will try to improve the squad if he can. It’s up to the scouting network around the world – they are looking to find the best players possible for Arsenal.
I wouldn’t say a great deal of wand waving took place to get us to 4th. You could make an argument saying we wouldn’t have had to lower our standards had the club done a little more to compete in the transfer market. You could also agree it’s remarkable to accomplish Champions League qualification with such regularity whilst keeping the club financially stable.
Such things depend on your stance with Arsene. Some folks are frustrated and yearn for a change of direction, others stand firmly behind a man responsible for some of our team’s finest moments. I’m somewhere between the two; I love Arsene for what he has done, but there will come a point where past glories don’t cover up mistakes and shortcomings in the present.
As it stands, I have absolute faith we will see a greatly improved squad come kick-off in August, and I’ve high hopes a greatly improved season will come also. If those points turn out to be wrong, then a change in the hot seat might not be as bad an idea as some believe.
And that’s all for today. I know the Arsenal family tends to be split down the middle regarding Le Boss. The comments await a head-to-head battle between WOB and AKB – and whichever set of initials I’ve missed out. I consider myself a BHTIAGABS.; bloody hell, this is all getting a bit stupid.
I look forward to reading a few of your thoughts.
I shall return with more tomorrow. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.