Or are we still not a club for ‘Old men’ Arsene?
Could the end of this season see a huge portion of our midfielders leave?
Tomas Rosicky has recently said he considered leaving the Arsenal in January , stating also that he will think about it again next summer; Mathieu Flamini and Abou Diaby will be out of contract in July and don’t seem anywhere close to be offered new deals; Mikel Arteta could be heading back to Spain after having seemingly lost his place in the team after Francis Coquelin’s brilliance and Arsène Wenger’s apparent willingness to invest big money on another midfielder in the summer.
Are we really on the verge of losing four experienced midfielders at once?
It would be a very audacious choice by Arsène Wenger, especially given Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey recent struggles with fitness ad injuries.
Each of them brings experience and knowledge to the team and could be a valuable figure in the dressing room but they would all have to accept the fact that they will spend most of next season on the sidelines: a few appearances from the bench in the league, a run in domestic cups and that would be basically it.
Who’ll be ready to accept this new status?
Personally, I’d love to see Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky to be around for a couple of seasons more; their composure, loyalty and leadership could prove to be an invaluable asset for younger players like those mentioned above or the likes of Krystian Bielik, Geodion Zelalem, Jon Toral and Daniel Crowley.
The question is, will they accept to stay at these conditions? And a second question is, will Arsène Wenger stand in their way if they decide to leave?
I worry that the answer to both questions will be the same: no.
Also, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta – and of course Mathieu Flamini and Abou Diaby, if they’re offered one – can only hope for a traditional one-year extension, which could also prove to be a factor when it will be time to decide what to do.
I feel that the quartet won’t be around next term, both Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta could opt for a return to their native countries and possibly former Clubs to finish their careers while Mathieu Flamini and Abou Diaby will be shown the door (sadly so, for the latter) and will find other Clubs. Although the good news just in since I originally write is that Mozart has confirmed he will open talks with the club after the international break.
That would leave us with only Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin as senior central midfielders, with Arsène Wenger hopefully adding another defensive-minded player to the lot.
Would that be enough to face another 50+ games next season? I’m not sure.
We could do fine numerically but we would find ourselves in a situation similar to the one we faced in 2007-2008, when a very talented team fell short because of some evident lack of leadership and experience within the team; the day Eduardo’s leg was reduced in crumbs by Martin Taylor in Birmingham, our captain William Gallas sulked like a 7-years old kid and the whole season collapsed.
I fear that a dressing room without players like Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta could end exactly like that.
The Arsenal is no longer a Club for old men but I really hope Arsène Wenger changes his habits and persuades his more experienced players to stay; if he changed his tactical approach recently – as perfectly highlighted by Dave in this piece – why shouldn’t he change this?
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.