transfer rumors heating up, and Arsenal fans already frustrated that no one has
been bought, I thought that I would discuss one of the most divisive Arsenal targets
floating around in the ether. The bald virtuoso himself – Wayne Rooney.
Let me preface this by saying, I’ve been in
favor of a Rooney move to Arsenal since it was first mentioned as a possibility
(though how much of a possibility is certainly up for debate). I’ve always
loved watching Rooney play – although I’ve hated him at many times throughout
Rooney, the player, I think is a good fit.
I don’t want to speak too much about why I think this is the case, as I don’t
pretend to be a football scout or tactics expert. However, I think it’s
apparent that he has the technique and versatility to play a significant role
in an Arsenal side: either leading the line, or just behind the striker. He is
impressive in the link up, and would bring our wingers into the attack more than
someone like Olivier Giroud. Not to mention, he’s still capable of that moment
of sheer brilliance.
This post, however, isn’t about Rooney the
player and what it means for our formation, or Theo Walcott, or how we line-up
against Stoke City away.
This is about a club and a fanbase that has
lost its swagger. For years, we have struggled to stamp out a sad cycle of
player exits, disappointing results, and fan expectations that never seem to be
Sometimes a club needs to make a statement.
In any sport this is the case. There comes a time when a club must break from
its patterns. To keep the sport on its toes. To bring intrigue back to a team
that has been shrouded in uncertainty and disappointment.
Could Gonzalo Higuain serve this purpose? Yes,
I believe he could, but not to the same degree.
Buying Rooney shows a capacity for audacity
and ruthlessness we have been yearning for in the transfer market. I imagine
Wenger with a wry glimmer in his eye, sipping Chablis by the fire, as he gives
the go ahead to purchase Rooney.
For me Higuain, or David Villa, or Stevan Jovetic,
or (insert any number of linked forwards) would add goals to the team. But Rooney
does more than that. It’s an F you to Manchester United and the other squads
that have picked us clean like Vultures over the past few years.
It doesn’t heal all the wounds. It
certainly doesn’t make us forget about the Carling Cup Final disaster. Or the
Eduardo injury (and subsequent collapse). Or how Cesc Fabregas ran for those
Catalan shores when we needed him most.
But, it’s a start. I said something similar last year about our
purchase of Santi Cazorla. To me, Santi was a good fit and the kind of player we
needed to improve our squad.
But, more importantly, Santi was a sign of
us buying again from the top shelf. Santi wasn’t discount talent. Maybe he came
at a discount price, but he was the real deal and that was apparent from the
get go. Other players mentioned almost immediately how amazing his technique
was; how fun it was to play with someone like him.
Rooney can do the same for us this season.
His purchase, in my mind, would be a line in the sand. Arsenal is done being a
selling club. And, when we buy, it won’t just be a Ligue 1 up and comer. We
will come to your club and take one of your best players. And, more
importantly, that player will WANT to join Arsenal.
However, despite what I see as the apparent
reasons to buy Rooney, many on Twitter seem unconvinced – even hostile to the
idea of bringing him to Arsenal.
It’s been a little baffling to me. But now
I think, I get it.
The best way I can sum up the collective
mindset for many Gooners on here is this:
you have taken on the persona of a 21-year old guy mired in a dry spell
with the ladies.
Low on confidence. Questioning yourself. Tempted
by anyone who will look at you (Marouane Chamakh, anyone), thinking the better-looking
woman will never be interested.
You’ve been hurt too many times. Spurned by
your long-term Spaniard girlfriend who you thought was the one. Then left at
the altar by the Dutch firecracker that gave you some of the best months of
I get it. You’ve forgotten you have value. So
now you’ve become resentful. And a solid catch comes along. She isn’t perfect. She
is losing her looks a little, and has a temper. But deep down you also know
you’ve pined for her for years – and so have most of your friends. But you can’t
get past your bitterness. And, sorry to
break it you, bitterness is not a color you wear well.
Still, you now have a bit of money, and
it’s a 10 or nothing. You are done dealing
with Alan Pardew’s rejects you tell yourself.
But that’s false swag. That’s the attitude
of an uncertain man. You have an English bell of the ball who is interested, and
you can only see her flaws. Sometimes you need to accept you aren’t going
straight from the Ivorian letdown to the Polish looker from Dortmund. In the
last couple years you hit rockbottom, and it takes time to rebuild your
Rooney can be your stepping stone. You show
you can tame the bad girl. You have the date that others wanted on their arm –
and suddenly you are looking more appealing. Moreover, you swiped her from that
hated Northern rival after he moved in your Dutch flirt. All of a sudden, the
Polish looker sees you have value. Others start to recognise you again. You
have your swag back.
Now, since you have your confidence back,
everything starts looking up.
You don’t take shit from your boss. You
start surrounding yourself with better friends – people who make you happy.
Life is bright and rosy. You forget the last few years and realise it was just
a dry spell. Every great club (oops, I mean 21-year-old guy) goes through it.
But, no, keep playing it safe. Keep buying
Rum and Cokes for the Danish drunk at the bar even though it’s clear it will be
a huge letdown.
Real winners go big and more often that not
it pays off.
This club has taken too much flack from
other fans and clubs for too many years. If you really want to make a
statement, you need to be bold.
Wayne Rooney is a bold move. And it’s a
confidence builder for a club that is in dire need of it.
It might not a flawless match, but it’s
certainly a huge upgrade. And others will recognise that.
Now is not the time for Gooners to let
perfection be the enemy of the good.
Many thanks to Sean Patrick for a
superb piece of writing. Sean will be known to many on twitter as
@ArsenalAbroad and I have had many a late night debate with him. He
wrote an excellent piece on Cazorla last summer for I Nil Down Two
One Up and ever since we relaunched this site I have been asking Sean to write
for us. Born in Australia, he lives in America but has firm English
Gooner roots and I am glad he finally has and I hope he will again.