Tarnished Arsenal Careers

The manner of departure determines the status

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Moving on or f*** you Arsenal???

So, Laurent Koscielny has got his way and moved back to France. Bordeaux will pay up to £4.6million for the centre-back (presumably dependent on appearances), who had a year left on his contract. Koscielny made a statement after the move which didn’t really give too much away about the reasons why he felt the need to go on strike other than that, “As you know I engaged with Bordeaux. After nine years spent at Arsenal, I took the decision to leave. My decision to leave has been discussed for months with my club, my teammates, my coach, and it has been a well thought decision.”

Well, just hold on a minute here. Who decides when a player under contract departs? Surely the club. Presumably Unai Emery felt that a final season with Koscielny in his squad would be more use than the transfer fee Arsenal could secure for him. Now, they have something around £10m extra to contribute towards the fee and wages of a replacement (which at the time of writing could well turn out to be David Luiz, who in turn seems to have downed tools at Chelsea!)

Koscielny effectively forced his way out. Having won two FA Cups with the club (he was injured in 2017) and scored some crucial goals (such as the last day of the season winner at Newcastle in May 2013 which ensured Arsenal, rather than Spurs would qualify for the Champions League), he would have been more fondly remembered had he not departed in the manner he did. This in spite of that first season howler that gifted Birmingham City the League Cup. In spite of a statement that said, ‘I have spent wonderful years with this club, nine years during which I learned, evolved, grew up. This experience made me the player I am today,’ the video of him taking off his Arsenal shirt to reveal a Bordeaux one was not the smartest of gestures on the former captain’s part. It suggests his respect for his former club is not so wonderful
With hindsight, Koscielny was a decent enough defender, but not really top grade, in spite of his international career with France. He sometimes struggled with the physical side of the Premier League, outmuscled a little too often, especially in his earlier Arsenal years. I seem to recall he had a propensity for scoring own goals too, but that might be my memory playing tricks. Ultimately, he symbolised the level that Arsenal were at after 2008, when Wenger’s teams stopped credibly challenging Manchester United and Chelsea, and then later Manchester City. The decline has now led them to be on a par financially with Spurs and Liverpool, who are in the process of overtaking Arsenal. It was enlightening to hear the club’s Chief Executive Vinai Venkatesham state at the recent supporters’ Q&A event that he didn’t anticipate Arsenal challenging for the title next season, and if you are looking at football betting tips, I doubt you’d find anyone disagreeing with him. This is a consequence of Wenger’s ability to recruit World Class quality going south. As long as the players he did secure or develop were good enough to retain participation in the Champions League, the board left him alone, even though the evident drift in standards was clear to see. Theo Walcott never became the player he was supposed to and spent a decade at the club before being sold on, when it was evident much earlier there were only going to be limited returns from .

Still, at least Theo left on good terms. He didn’t want to go, but even Wenger realised the money the club could get for him would be better utilised on an alternative. Let’s look back a bit though. Liam Brady wanted to move, and Arsenal agreed to sell him to Juventus. A year later Frank Stapleton also wanted out – this time though, because the buying club was Manchester United, Stapleton became a figure of hate. What, fundamentally though, was the difference between the departures of Brady and Stapleton? The club could have refused to sell him to United. It’s interesting to note that after his first three years in Manchester, the goals dried up for Stapleton, with him being sold eventually by Alex Ferguson at the end of his first season at Old Trafford. Ironically, he joined Johan Cruyff’s Ajax, although it was only a matter of time before he was replaced by a young prospect by the name of Dennis Bergkamp. Stapleton scored a single goal in his time in Amsterdam, against Dundalk in the Cup Winners’ Cup.

Cesc Fabregas left under a bit of a cloud for insisting on a move to Barcelona, although ill-feeling for the player only really manifested itself when he returned to the Premier League at Chelsea, in spite of Arsenal having a buy-back option. Ashley Cole took a more direct route, and became a far more loathed figure, in spite of helping the club to four trophies before being sold. Robin van Persie followed the Stapleton route, but worse, became a key figure in United winning the title, and made pronouncements about dreaming of playing for the club as a boy.

Football professionals, eh? It doesn't have to end in tears, and at the end of the day, how much do players genuinely care about how they are remembered? They make enough money in their playing days for it not to matter too much. It’s difficult to imagine Koscielny will ever return to the Emirates as a player, but you do wonder if he will in the future ever return as a welcome guest. You’d think any former club captain would be able to visit, but Kos has somewhat soiled his patch. In a way, fans’ feelings for footballers are like romantic relationships. Things can be very positive when things are going well, but circumstances change, and at the end, there is acrimony. Shame, but we’ve got used to it now.

It seems likely that Granit Xhaka will get the nod as the new club captain. I wonder how that one will end…


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  1. Don Howe

    Aug 9, 2019, 16:57 #114544

    It always amused me that whilst Brady probably won some Italian things and Stapleton live the high mancunian life, the player who won two league championship Medals was David O'Loughaire, who stayed put. Ha Ha. Sometimes the grass is not greener. Most absconders find both a muck gaff and a mucky crowd.

  2. ArsenalMagna

    Aug 9, 2019, 08:55 #114530

    @Mark I thought the same thing - a shame if Emery doesn't make top 4, but long term we have a structure in the club where squad deficiencies are addressed, even if funds are limited in the short term, which is a huge step on from Wenger's dictatorial modus operandi.

  3. GoonerRon

    Aug 9, 2019, 08:49 #114529

    I think it’s been a very encouraging window. We needed a full back, winger, CB, CM and to integrate some of the academy players into the first team. Job done. Obviously, we’ll see how they get on but in terms of addressing some of the issues we have had a really good go. We have completed over 20 transfer / loan transactions which is a high volume of work in such a short window, and given the widely reported budget we had, we’ve made it work hard for us. My guess is we’ve reduced the bloated wage bill by c. £20m net with all the comings and goings - that could be increased by c. £8m if Elneny and Mustafi get offloaded in the foreign transfer window. Lastly, Emery seems set on a back 4 having played it for the majority of minutes in preseason so we should see some structural consistency to our approach which can only help performances. We won’t know for sure how we’ll fare until we get into the season but to these eyes our squad looks stronger and with more variation available in terms of players types, abilities etc, something I’m not sure can be said about Man U or Chelsea.

  4. markymark

    Aug 9, 2019, 08:34 #114528

    In a way Ozil’s contract becomes meaningless after 2020 as we won’t be extending and he’s then got a choice of either playing well enough to get a club of his choice or wait to see who picks him up. Therefore I see USA or China as a likely destination in 2020. The European window has not yet shut so potentially Eleny and or Mustafi could stil be gone. This has really been the post Wenger window. Those who were signed under Wenger know the writings on the wall unless they buckle down. You could say as well that it’s now all down to Emery. No excuses . If he doesn’t do 4th he’s out. This is the improvement I’ve been blabbering on about. It will see greater strides in some areas than others that is natural. Raul for instance has done more in 2 weeks than Ivan did in 10 years. Says it all. The club is starting to get back to being a proper club. Good and bad coaches will come and go but at least the structure is now back in place. Personally I reckon we’ll get 4th but let’s see.

  5. Colonel Blimp

    Aug 9, 2019, 07:38 #114527

    Compared to Le Fraud's transfer windows this one felt like winning the lottery.

  6. Cyril

    Aug 8, 2019, 23:02 #114526

    Well Ozil does play better in a better team!

  7. ArsenalMagna

    Aug 8, 2019, 22:22 #114525

    I think this has been a really good window all things considered, but I don't think it will suffice to get us into the top 4. On paper at least, the players we've got are good: Pepe was coveted by a number of clubs including Bayern, Napoli and was said to have Liverpool's interest too, so that's encouraging. He's deadly on the counterattack so expecting good things from him away from home potentially; his dribbling and shooting stats are impressive and that's where were deficient last campaign, though he might need a year to adjust to the EPL. Luiz can be sublime or dreadful - hard to call on that one, but think he could struggle in such an open system. Think it's worth mentioning though that Holding and Chambers' return means Mustafi is now 5th choice so he may not even play next season, which is good. Holding and Luiz could be a great partnership if they're at their best. Tierney very hard to call. Ceballos could be great in that he's a good dribbler/passer and is a ready-made excuse to drop the hapless Ozil. All that said, this feels somewhat academic, because probably Emery will continue to play unbalanced football, fail to develop a good counterattacking doctrine, will have to often play Ozil to save face (i.e. make it look like the club did not commit a huge error in giving him £17.5m per year, even though we all know they did), will knacker the first XI with the Europa League which we won't win and will in turn hinder our top 4 challenge. The optimist in me says that as we were third in the 'home' table last season, our new signings will pull us from 9th to 4th/5th in the 'away' table given their ability to dribble/counter, but the pessimist in me says that, for the aforementioned things mentioned re: Emery, we will miss top 4. It might actually be better to miss top 4, as otherwise it's more Wenger-esque gung ho football for years to come. Sad really, because if we just played balance football I'd have no concerns about our ability to make top 4 given the atrocious defences of the EPL.

  8. John F

    Aug 8, 2019, 21:03 #114524

    I was hoping Everton would take them all Ron. We are stuck with the money drains Ozil and Mickey but Elneny and Mustafi maybe if Arsenal put the right 10 second promotional u tube vid of their highlights. I watched a Sanogoals one and he looked world class.

  9. arrgee

    Aug 8, 2019, 20:48 #114523

    Getting nearly £40 million for Iwobi. What a deal! Will pay Micky Targaryen’s and Ozil’s wages fort the year if nothing else.

  10. arrgee

    Aug 8, 2019, 20:48 #114522

    Getting nearly £40 million for Iwobi. What a deal! Will pay Micky Targaryen’s and Ozil’s wages fort the year if nothing else.

  11. Pauljames

    Aug 8, 2019, 20:32 #114521

    Can pick holes in Luiz but he’s better than Mustafi, Tierney has got to better than Monreal and Kolasinac . Pepe is surely better than Mikhi or Iwobi and Ceballos is a bit of a wild card. Also Holding and Bellerin should improve us a bit compared to the back end of last season.Man Utd have had a poor window in my view and there is uncertainty at Chelsea , so I think things look a little better than they did a few weeks back.

  12. itsRonagain2

    Aug 8, 2019, 20:27 #114520

    John F. Who in the right mind would buy them 4. ? Arsenal need the Yanks or the Chinese to come calling or they’re stuck with em.

  13. itsRonagain2

    Aug 8, 2019, 20:24 #114519

    Tierney might need a year to adjust to the Prem. luiz - I get the same feeling as I had when Gallas joined - very dubious and ex chav cast off. Not good for AFC s image. Pepe ? He ll have good days. Not the type to propel Arsenal into being challengers. Who knows about the others. It’s cosmetic They’ve shifted some non achievers like Iwobi and Kos. That’s good. All in all Arsenal have changed very little. Good for 6th though. As good as they ll get.

  14. John F

    Aug 8, 2019, 20:19 #114518

    There is still hope as there is still couple of weeks to go to get rid of those 4 abroad Exiled.

  15. Exiled in Pt

    Aug 8, 2019, 20:01 #114517

    I think I must be the only one who is not quite as excited as the rest of the Arsenal fan base. Still got Ozil still got Miki still got Mustafi still got Elneny! Signed David Luis to replace Kos hmmmm 32 years old threw a tantrum at Chelsea as not guaranteed a first team place so Downs tools to get a move to us. Am I the only one that always thought we had a chance against Chelsea when he was playing!!! The boy from Madrid could be good but his only on loan!! Although I do think Pepe might be a good prospect, although if that good why were none of the big teams in for him. Hope they all prove me wrong and we are suddenly World beaters. Just feels like all of a sudden the owners have got the fan base of there backs and quelled any unrest. With out really sorting the major problems at the back. Oh well let's see what happens Sunday time for another super bock....

  16. John F

    Aug 8, 2019, 19:15 #114516

    That was a good transfer window for Arsenal ,I still can't believe the 40 mil for Awobi . I am looking forward to seeing Tierney who is highly rated by pundits and Celtic fans . I have concerns about Luiz a past his best player like Peter Cech, He apparently sulked when he was not picked at Chelsea and disrupted the dressing room so what is he going to do if Dick drops him?. On the optimistic front give it a couple of years and I think we will have a very good squad especially with the young players we have coming through.

  17. Cyril

    Aug 8, 2019, 17:13 #114515

    All of this - just tells me so much more about Wenger. His stubbornness over the years really set us back. As a ST holder- really quite furious. THe list of dross he bought from Sanogo and back and the goalie who used to throw it in the onion bag. Was he the enemy within in the end. Feel sad saying it !

  18. Don Howe

    Aug 8, 2019, 16:48 #114514

    Jenkinson. Loved the guy. Good luck to him. He got to play for the club he supported. How many of us could wish for that. Iwobi. Also liked him but sensible for him to get going. Smart. KOS: disgraced himself at the end but would always fight for us so good memories. Kierney, let's see. David Luiz. Excited about that one if it happens. He and Sokratis might be solid. Pepe, goodness knows. Biggest regret not shifting Ozil. I will now write to the club with my strategy for getting rid.

  19. Colonel Blimp

    Aug 8, 2019, 11:41 #114513

    I agree with practically everything said about Kos but I will also remember that win over Barca when he had Messi in his pocket. And he did chip in with the odd goal here and there so not all bad.

  20. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Aug 8, 2019, 08:21 #114512

    I could not care how he left Arsenal - thankfully he has gone, we have not just lost Baresi guys, LK was at very best a 6 out of 10 player at average a three! He let the slowest centre forward in Europe get in front of him to head the opening goal in the European Railway Workers cup and every time he was at fault for a goal he would sit on the pitch making out he had an injury, goodbye Kos, thanks for nothing!

  21. Cyril

    Aug 7, 2019, 23:05 #114511

    In truth, as much as we admire Brady- how much did he really give us. As a kid I played as him I’m 3 and in and ‘Wembley’ between the goalposts on my estate . But, he was quick to leave us wasn’t he. So many many more players who served this club and received honours more about him. You should also hear him talking on the Irish channel . The amount of puritanical shit he spouts .. in truth he effed on when it suited him sadly. ..

  22. itsRonagain2

    Aug 7, 2019, 22:52 #114510

    Never mind the manner of his departure. Rejoice it’s another facet of Wengers legacy that been stripped away and cast aside. He’s no worse than droves of others who have manipulated their way out of clubs. Footballs a shitty business and clubs treat players with disdain once their face no longer fits. It’s a 2 way street. Luiz? Good grief. Him to stabilise a creaky defence? I don’t think so.

  23. John F

    Aug 7, 2019, 20:28 #114509

    I think Tierney will be a good signing .I was surprised that Arsenal turned down 30mil from Everton for Iwobi.No matter how bad we think Arsenal are at transfers Everton must surely be worse with taking Wally off our hands and now trying to get Iwobi.

  24. Pauljames

    Aug 7, 2019, 20:12 #114508

    Looks like Tierney is done, if we can get a centre half in tomorrow I actually think this has been a decent window. Time will tell of course but at least we are moving further on from Wenger duds.

  25. John F

    Aug 7, 2019, 20:01 #114507

    It's ironic that we criticize Kos for forcing his way out and apparently according to Sky we are about to sign David Luiz who has forced his way out of Chelsea.I am a bit underwhelmed with the signing of Luiz.

  26. markymark

    Aug 7, 2019, 18:43 #114506

    Couldn’t disagree with any of that. One website is saying, gossip suggested he was a difficult character. From what I gathered another non talker. The shirt thing was idiotic. I suppose there might be some sort of defense that Bordeaux demanded the photo shoot. But honestly Bordeaux social traffic is probably what 125,000. Arsenal 30,000,000+ probably second only to UTD. I bet the idiots Twitter was rocking. Anyway he’s decided to tell us all what a wonderful 9 years he had. If you want a nice goodbye have a look at Jenks. A real trier, also beset by injuries . He knows how to do a goodbye. All the very best to Jenks in your future career. I wish you well. Kos - please shut the door on your way out. Ta!