In the last two days, I have many questions posed my way about the much hyped Arsenal Exodus – many people asking me why I refer to it as an “exodus” as it’s clearly not. Why am I bothered or worried about Clichy leaving, after all, he’s error prone right? He’s made too many mistakes and cost us too many points. That is the opinion of many and furthermore, many people think the former Arsenal left back will be rubbish for City.
Let me remind you of something Arsene Wenger once said…
Apart from the special talents like Messi and Fabregas, the majority of players learn their trade from 20 to 25 and reach their peak between 26 and 30.
For the last 8 years, Clichy has been playing for us – over 250 appearances, a host of great interceptions, and quite a few mistakes. Well, Clichy is 25 now and according to our manager, he will now enter the peak of his playing abilities. For that reason, it’s very confusing to see everyone so happy about his departure.
We’re going to replace him with our next in line youth product, Kieran Gibbs, who will surely going through the same learning process as our dear Clichy did. Don’t forget our dear Ashley – we dealt with his mistakes and we put up with his inadequacies and right about when he become the best left back in the country, we sold him on to a title and top four rival in Chelsea.
The problem with a youth policy which is not supplemented with a experienced title winning mentality and players to go with it, is that the club becomes a feeder club for all the big clubs in and around Europe. We took Adebayor, who was absolutely rubbish when we signed him, and polished him into a decent player and then sold him on. We did the same with Toure, Vieira, Overmars, Petit, Anelka… the list goes on. If Cesc and Nasri do leave, I really think it will be a massive statement to the world that we are in fact a youth academy for top European clubs.
Alex Ferguson managed to win the Premiership with kids at a time when the gap in quality was much bigger. Nowadays, you can’t win anything without experienced players. At Barcelona, for every Pique, there is a Puyol, for every Pedro, a Xavi and for every Busquets and Iniesta – quality youngsters, supplemented with experienced players.
And the problem will only self-inflict – if we continue to not invest in our squad and we continue to sell our best players, then we won’t win anything for a long time. Nasri summed it up last week, when he talked about not signing his contract – it’s clear that money is everywhere for you if you are a decent player – but trophies aren’t.
“The priority is to make a big career and to win titles. This is more important than everything else. With no titles under your belt, you can’t be in the list for the Ballon D’Or. I came to England to get trophies because I haven’t won anything in my career, apart from an Under-17 European Championship in 2004.”
Arsene has played down the need to win trophies and that 4th is like a trophy. Maybe that is true for the club, but it is certainly not true for the players.
“Trophies are one way to judge a club. They’re not overrated as it allows you to say you have won a trophy, but would you swap winning the FA Cup for playing in the Champions League?”
For a player, knowing that the mentality of the club is not to win titles, but to be all right, is not the motivation you need or want. I am sorry to say, but any player at Man United, Barcelona, Real Madrid or Chelsea goes there thinking they will win a trophy and if they don’t they’ll be sold.
Down at Arsenal, we reward mediocrity, and do not demand excellence - we need change, simple as.
I’m not a doom and gloomster (check out previous “Why it’s not all doom and gloom”)… but certain things must change soon for us to stop collapsing every season and being the laughing stock of Europe.