Amidst rumours of Alexis Sanchez having a row with his team mates before the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League, it becomes clear that a few old but persistent cogwheels are turning at Arsenal yet gain: Those all too familiar gears leading to good players leaving the club.
Arsenal is a worn-out and dusty Beetle pretending to be a Porsche. World-class footballers have joined the club over the years to experience the Premier League or because of Wenger’s reputation, or because they were seduced by old Arsenal stories bragging figures such as Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, only to discover the bitter reality after a year or two: that Arsenal is rather different from the image it projects.
I won’t go into the well-explored details of it all. It is evident nothing has changed in a decade and that the poisonous problem looms bigger than any of Wenger’s attempts to build on top of what he’s fought so hard to get.
Arsenal sold the fans a dream with their Invincible team, one they snatched away and kept retelling it to hide the fact it had long sunk down behind the horizon.
Indeed the eventual departures of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, and likely of Arsene Wenger, would symbolise a capitulation to a long-term problem to which the current board has failed to find a solution, or didn’t want to.
Why would anybody be surprised at Sanchez leaving? The sad thing is even the most ambitious among the fans would not bat an eye to admit he deserves to go to a better club.
It’s not like Wenger didn’t try to build on the foundations of Ozil and Sanchez, after all, the players have been for over three years at the club. He could’ve brought other world-class level players to take the burden off them. The more I think about it the more it smells of rotten fish hidden behind the kitchen plot – a major refurbishment required.
Rumor has it Sanchez is leaving because his salary demands are not met. It might be true, or it might not. What is right in front of our eyes, however, is that he is trying his best while his team mates look like 40-watt bulbs held up to the mid-day Saharan Sun. Nobody can blame him for wanting to leave. With Wenger’s failures to build something to which players can attach and show loyalty to has made it such.
The question of loyalty to Arsenal is even laughable now. It is now: ‘Yes, Sanchez is right and Arsenal should match his ambition, not the other way around’. That is the prevailing opinion of the fans, except a heap of, dare I say deluded, hopefuls.
Things are likely to get worse before they get better. Arsenal might do a Manchester United for several years before they find the right recipe. The next years will be revealing to the board’s ambitions too. But, boy, how apologetic we will be to Wenger, if it turns out that the board with their money-grabbing ways was to blame. That he’s qualified the club to the Champions League every single year of his tenure is an argument which we have pushed away under recent developments. But make no mistake, the appreciation for such a feat will smack us in the face when, and if, a few other European tacticians take over, and fail.
Whatever the case might be: one thing we will not be witnessing is the loopy Arsenal story which ends up in disappointment for its fan base every single year. Cheers to the new chapter. May Sanchez be the final stroke.