5 ‘New Signings’ Cement 4th Place For 5 More YearsPosted: December 21, 2012
Monday’s victory over Reading and 5 promising young players agreeing new deals feels like a great week to me. Such a great week in fact, i’ve plucked up the courage to reflect on all things Arsenal and write a post. So rarely these days do we have the opportunity to soak up a convincing victory, that Monday night at the Madejski left thousands of Arsenal fans wondering why, if we’re capable of performing like that, we’re usually left regretting what might have been. I must say it was an incredible atmosphere. The pent up frustrations of our fans were finally outpoured for all the right reasons. I understand the concerns that still remain, but why not enjoy a great victory against an appalling team whilst we can.
On Wednesday morning an agent who represents a few Arsenal players, decided he wanted to grab a bit of the limelight by suggesting Arsenal fans had a ‘feel good’ announcement from the Club due at 3pm. Obviously a twitter meltdown followed as everyone suddenly knew someone who had the inside scoop. By 3pm, much like the Mayan Calendar bollocks, there was a sudden realisation that nothing had happened. Excitement was slowly turning to anger until around 3.05pm when we were informed that our ‘young British core’ had all re-signed. The future was bright. Once more however it took all of about 5 minutes for people to clock the absence of one particular youthful British player. Where was Theo Walcott? Delight turned once more to disappointment. It looks to all as if Theo is off, but frankly the loyalty of Jack and the thought of him captaining the team at the age of 25 is far more important than the future of Theo.
All 5 players signing at the same time is a great PR move by the Club at a difficult time. Arsene, the man under so much pressure, standing over them like a proud father. It certainly draws some patience from the fanbase, but it also shows a drastic change of tact from Wenger. This a man who, in February 2005, fielded the first ever 16 man Premier League squad consisting of no English players. At the time he was slated by the media, told he was showing a lack of respect to English football and the victim would be the national team. He explained that his priority was the quality of the Arsenal team. He explained that it would take 10 years until Arsenal and some other English Clubs could produce youth players with enough technical quality to compete with the best in the world.
Surely the most important thing we’ve learned from all of this is that Jack Wilshere is left footed but right handed..
Jenkinson, Gibbs, Ramsey, Chamberlain and Wilshere are great players, all of varying quality, but I think Wenger’s British core is evidence of an appreciation of the importance of players who understand the Club, understand English football, who grow up together and understand each other more than simply technical ability. The turnover of players over the last few seasons has been ridiculous. My dad doesn’t go to many games but he came to Sunderland at home, the first game of the season. He didn’t have a clue who most of the players were. Almost all of them had been at the Club for under 3 years. How can we expect the current squad to know how to win consistently in this league when most of them are new to it and new to each other?
I know everyone, including myself, has been critical of Ramsey but this contract confirms to me that Arsene sees him as his little project. We know somewhere deep inside him, Aaron has quality. He suffered a horrendous injury and he hasn’t played at all well since. Nevertheless, every time I’m reminded of his age I’m pleasantly surprised. The bloke is still only 21. What I don’t understand is why, in order to make great players, we have to hold the rest of the team up in the process. As Phillip Auclair has said many times, Arsene plays the likes of Ramsey and Bendtner wide to test them in more compact spaces. His intention is always to move them back to the middle at which point they will find it easier. Surely this is the point of the reserves or the U21s though. Can he not learn his trade in the 2nd team or out on loan and then, once he’s good enough, come back in and look the part? If he’s not good enough to play in his own position, how is he ever going to be good enough to play out of position!
Interestingly the BBC were running the headline ‘Wilshere and four others get new deals’. The way we’ve been going lately I think we’re all surprised when anyone signs a new contract. You get the feeling he’s offering them all new deals and just hoping some of them want to stay. The headline should have been ‘Wilshere and four others agree to sign new deals’.
It’s an early start at Wigan tomorrow so let’s pray we can go into the Christmas break with a bit of joy. No West Ham on boxing day means if it goes wrong tomorrow we’ll have to wait a while to put it right. Let’s hope it doesn’t come top that..