Morning to you all. The international break slows any sort of developments to a halt, and it shows. The best we’ve been offered in terms of “news” of late has been our blocking of two potential “deadwood” transfers in the Mercurial Russian Andrei Arshavin, and Johan “Djoker” Djourou.
Personally, I’m glad we haven’t seen them off, they’re both very capable players for being 4th choice. It makes perfect sense on the face of it, as there are important circumstances surrounding both players. Take Arshavin for example: would you really be prepared to let your record signing leave for free, and not have an adequate replacement? Yes, he’s lazy and inconsistent, but who can we replace him with? We’re already thin in terms of options up front, and with the transfer window closed, we’d have to look towards our youth ranks to fill his place. I seem to remember the consensus being “experience>youth”, so it’s clear to me why he’s stayed. Besides the stories of him wanting to prove himself here, I think it’s another case of Arsène never giving up on a player, no matter how far they’ve fallen. There are always exceptions to the rule, ask Marouane Chamakh, but you can’t compare their level of skill. At their respective bests, Arshavin is a game changer; the spark in the final third, and the game winning goal scorer. At his best, Chamakh is a half decent centre forward who’s not as technically capable as those that surround him.
Then we move on to Johan Djourou, our hero in a pinch. Where we would have been without Djourou saving our bacon with his composed performances, I do not know. No, he’s not the best defender, but he was the rock of the defense, the player who allowed Koscielny to ease into the Arsenal way. A loyal servant for almost 10 years, Djourou has amassed over 140 appearances for us. If he were to have left, who could we have possibly attracted to fill a 4th choice spot? The last time we signed a defender simply for cover, we ended up with none other than Sébastien Squillaci. Something we surely don’t want to repeat. Djourou is as good as you’re going to get for a squad role, so there’s no sense in moving him on for someone inferior, not to mention probably less loyal. Besides, who would do Arsenal Player specials every month?
Jokes aside, these are two players who’ve never gotten proper chances. Yes, Arshavin was used as a centre forward for five minutes, and Djourou had his moment in the sun two years ago, but for the most part, they’re shadows at the club, gargoyles of the bench and nothing more. It’s tough to make decisions on players who have so much potential, but little to show for it. Fortunately, I think Arsène has made the right move here. Thinning out our squad further sets us up for disaster. We’ve on the light side as it is, so it’s best to keep our current squad intact.
Besides, what’s to say that Johan and Andrei don’t have much more to offer? Yes, the Little Russian is on the wrong side of 30, but some of the inspired performances he put on for Russia during the Euros show that class is permanent, and some things are never lost.
Djourou’s situation is similar to Chamakh, in the sense that they were harshly replaced immediately by the regular starts upon their return from injury. The breakthrough of Laurent Koscielny and the return of Thomas Vermaelen left Djourou with no option but to take his position on the bench, losing confidence with every game. A cruel fate for someone who’s been so good to us, it pains me to see players in this type of predicament.
Hopefully we’ll see more of these two as the season progresses, I’m sure at some point they’ll feature. Every player is important in a team, and I hope they realize this. Just because they’re not picked every week doesn’t make them chopped liver. if you’re employed by one of the best and biggest clubs in world football, there’s little chance you rode your luck that far.
We’ve seen Arsène’s patience pay off time and time again, most recently in the emergence of Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs. Who would have though two years ago that Gaël Clichy would be replaced successfully by the injury prone, inconsistent Kieran Gibbs? Who would think that a relatively unknown defender form Ligue 2 would become our best and most consistent defender last season? Oh how quickly things change.
Not too much else to discuss really, as the interlull drags on.
Hopefully as the week progresses and we edge nearer to the EPL resuming we’ll know more about someone or something, because this is getting boring.