18th January, 2005: London, England
The day had been a long time coming for Patrick Vieira. Being an Invincible had been too much of an achievement for his ultra competitive personality to accept. He needed a challenge to flourish, to establish himself as one of the all-time greats of world football. For that, he needed a move. A well thought out move preferably but any move would do. The silky passing and cohesive team ethic were not doing too much for him. He needed something else. And so he walked. Down the flight of stairs to his garage and then into the car before whipping out of the driveway and towards Colney for the days training and his talk with the boss.
He wondered how his teammates would take it as the car stopped at an intersection. Thierry Henry, his fellow Invincible and countryman, would of course understand as they had talked of it many a times but what about the others, some of whom held him in high regard as captain and who were held in high regard by him as players. The success of the past years had not diminished his zeal but he could see Arsenal would not be climbing ladders such as the unbeaten season any time soon again. He saw Arsene watching him as he came into the car park and wordlessly the two men decided to meet after the days training.
The training ground back in 2005 looked like a place of enigma, housing talent and powerhouses by equal measure. Every few paces a world-beater, every few paces a world class talent in the making. As the players went through the drills, Wenger wondered what it would be like to fuse some of their abilities. A Vieira with the touch of Bergkamp, a Midfielder with the dexterity of Henry and the game intelligence of Bobby Pires. He walked back to his office, dreading the words he knew Patrick Vieira would one day come to say.
After the gym session, Vieira walked into the hallway leading to Arsene’s office. He knocked lightly and entered, noticing that the boss had been working on some files as he was ushered in. Everyone always admired him for that, he was always working, the gaffer.
“What is it about then, Patrick?” asked Arsene in his usual tone, looking at his charge a bit like a kind headmaster looks at a boy with a request he knows but doesn’t want to fulfil.
“It is just… I need to…” stammered the player as he struggled to come to terms with his words.
“I know. I have known for a while now.” Smiled Arsene kindly. He, of all people, always knew.
“You… know? I never told anyone I swear!”
“I know because I know you, it is all done. You need to leave, yes?”, he asked as the rain started pouring outside.
“Yes, I need to… A new challenge… A new field to conquer,” the towering midfielder looked away to the rain outside the window not able to face the reality of what was coming soon.
“We will sort that out then, You have my word, mon garcon” said Wenger, and then he rose to shake hands with him across the table.
“Owww. What was that boss?” asked a bewildered Vieira as he looked at his thumb which had started to bleed after the handshake.
“Oh its nothing.. erm, my skin is a bit prickly these days. Terribly sorry about that. We will talk about where you need to do later, I have a meeting now so here you go,” beamed Wenger happily as he held the door open for the player to leave and then shut it behind him.
As he walked out of the office bewildered, Patrick noticed a very academic looking man standing outside the offices asking for Arsene Wenger. He pointed the man towards the correct door, noting his studious visage and air of secrecy.
“Come in, I have just the thing for you,” smiled Arsene as he handed over a small vial to the man. The men exchanged looks before the stranger passed a note over to the boss. ‘2010’ the note said simply.
“So long? Do you not have a boy?”
“Patience, Arsene. Patience. The boy is perfect. We will see you in due time.”
The view outside was dreary as the Frenchman looked out into the expanse from his window after the stranger had walked out. The future was bleak also, as Arsene already knew. The revival was far away, maybe too far. He hoped to last that long in the job to make it happen. This grand a plan deserved fame and credit, but he would get none so he had reserved himself to bile and insults.
He knew, as always. The times were a-changing.
26th September 2010, Geneva, Switzerland:
The experiment had been a roaring success.
By all means the Human Genome Project had been a bit fluffed up by the lead researchers but that was only to popularise it as a stream of science for young people to take interest in, and nothing had really been done up to now.
The two men in the room were monitoring carefully the parameters of a human form suspended in by a cage and connected to a system enabling rapid cell growth and regeneration. He, or it, was just five years old but already looked 18. He was the greatest creation from CERN after the internet and yet, nobody would ever know about it. The only people who knew were the two in the room and a certain Frenchman.
The boy had been hidden from everybody at CERN for years now but everyone outside in his adopted home setting knew him well enough. The implanted family had done well and the boy needed to be brought over only for a few days now before finally letting him go permanently. The most peculiar of problems had cropped up. The boy recently began showing a passing resemblance to one of football’s greatest ever players. It was causing great merriment but the causes needed to be studied. You don’t let things go in such a carefully monitored setting.
By all means, their tests said there were unknown DNA strings in the boy now. Where it came from nobody knew. They were all looking to one another as a call was put through to London.
“Whose blood was it?”
“Vieira. You saw that.”
“No, there are unaccountable traits in the boy. He is not yet fully stable because of those. What did you give us?”
“What do you mean he is not stable? I need him now damn you!”
“Another four-five years minimum before he stabilises. Mood swings, aggression, sky high ego and immaculate self confidence. He is showing troubling signs of personality disorder.”
“I will wait. I have waited long enough. He is the perfect midfielder, I must have him. If not so young, then so be it.”
“Then so be it. We will let you know. Let him grow.”
4th March, 2016
“Yes, what news?”
“It is time.”
“Good, very good.”
“What did you put into the last sample?”
“Don’t you see it on his face?”
“Ronaldo wasn’t it? You bastard, you endangered him!”
The smile from the man who cut the call at that question, was that of a man whose foresight was beginning to bear fruit. He, of all people, knew. He knew what it took to win in this world of oil money and United riches. Nobody knew what the samples contained. Only he did. And it was not just Ronaldo either. The grin faded as he realised Spurs were still above Arsenal.
25th May, 2016
From a report in the Guardian:
Arsenal have confirmed the arrival of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach as their first major signing of the summer, with the Switzerland international having signed for an undisclosed fee believed to be an initial £25m.
Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said: “Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player, already with good Champions League and Bundesliga experience. We have been watching him for a long time now and he is a player who will add quality to our squad. We wish Granit a good Euro 2016 with Switzerland and look forward to welcoming him to Arsenal ahead of next season.”
Truly, a long long time.
If you have enjoyed reading this you can check out part 1 in the link:https://www.gunnerstown.com/arsenal/2016/07/08/arsene-and-his-transfers-part-1-exclusive-truth-behind-takuma-asano-signing/