When Robert Pires moved on from Arsenal after taking six years to leave his mark and become a Gunners legend, Arsene Wenger was keen to find someone in the similar mould as the 2003 Football Writers Player of the Year in order to continue playing the same way that had brought him recent success.
So in 2006, Wenger moved quickly to snap up a 26-year-old attacking midfielder from Borussia Dortmund who went by the name of Tomas Rosicky for what seemed a bargain price of £6.8m.
Fast-forward six years later, and the 31-year-old Czech Republic captain is only just starting to prove his worth after spending much of his Arsenal career in the treatment room.
Since that performance in the 5-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur this year, Rosicky has been nothing short of sensational.
He seems to have his mojo back, his trademark turn and pass has not been lost during his tenure on the sidelines and he is still ever so hungry to get forward and join the attack whenever he can.
But one has to think that, had he not been in the captivating form that he was for the last few months of the season, he could be one the ‘deadwood’ being forced out of the Emirates.
On high wages and low playing time, Rosicky has almost been the forgotten man for the Gunners since he first started to pick up injury after injury and it was almost as if the club had retired the famous number seven shirt after the dazzling Pires era at Highbury.
However the Czech skipper has turned his fortunes round and was rewarded for his displays with a new contract midway through March.
But despite this form, is Rosicky really worth keeping? Or should he be sold for a decent price now?
Here are the reasons why Wenger should let him go:
The most obvious reason is without a doubt the fact that a gust of wind seems to put Rosicky back in the hands of the Arsenal doctors. In his six seasons at the Emirates, he has only played 118 times and scored just 18 goals. Compare this to his 126 games in five years at Dortmund and it is clear that injuries have taken control of his footballing career.
Almost coupling his injury problems is his age. At 31, Rosicky isn’t getting any younger and is almost standing in the way of the likes of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey who are keen to get their Gunners careers blossoming. Rosicky could be a reason, particularly in the Welshman’s case, for hampering their development.
Money is the third issue. While he is in a rich vein of form, he has been being paid like he has been permanently running the show since he touched down in London. His £6.8m transfer fee seemed peanuts at the time for a player of his quality, but considering his wage and the amount of games he has actually played for Arsenal, this may not now be the case. If Wenger was to try and sell the Czech, then he could probably still get a decent amount of money for the international captain as well as trimming the wage bill.
Now here are the main reasons as to why Rosicky should remain a Gunner.
For starters, as previously mentioned, he signed a new two-year-deal with the club back in March so it would be unlikely for him to leave in the current transfer window. It is quite clear that Wenger rates the playmaker as well, stating:
“I’ve always been a big admirer of Tomas’ abilities and am delighted he’s chosen to commit his future to the club.”
The next key factor in him staying in the red side of North London would be his experience. While he is starting to get on a bit, Rosicky’s experience at both the international stage and elite club level is imperative in a young team like Arsenal and can help nurture the younger players. He isn’t the captain of his country for nothing, and it is leaders like him that the Gunners have been lacking over the past number of years.
Finally, and perhaps the most obvious reason, why get rid of Rosicky when he is in the form of his life?
Having started off his Arsenal days on the left wing, Rosicky is now commanding the centre of midfielder just behind the front three, the position that bring the best out of the Czech Republic international. Many target his form as the reason for the rejuvenation that took the Gunners from outside the top four to automatic Champions League qualification.
After years of forgetting about him, it would almost be laughable to get rid of him in the purple patch that Rosicky currently finds himself in.
So there you have it. Let us know what you think about Rosicky’s future, if you were Arsene Wenger, what would you do?
For now anyway, it looks as if we’ll be seeing more playing in the red and white (and now blue) of Arsenal.