47 Comments

You’ll miss me when I’m gone.

Today is a Guest post by @Wilsheristic .You should give him a follow on twitter,he tweets as well as he writes.

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As the dust settles over an enthralling win, people have logically begun to talk about transfers. I mention logically, since the Newcastle win seemingly heralded a flurry of activity over the summer.  An agonizing wait of almost 88 days is upon us and we are perfectly poised to be sitting ducks for transfer rumors and speculation.  Amidst all the noise, it’s easy to undermine the efforts of those who helped us reach this stage, berate the ones who had an off season and disown the injured. Yesterday’s heroes become today’s villains.

Let’s start with Bacary Sagna. Unimpressed by two broken legs, Sagna still flies into tackles with scant regard for his injury record. His heroics over the past four seasons have seen him rise up the ranks significantly to be acclaimed as one of the best RBs in the world. I will never forget THAT clearance against Aston Villa in the 09/10 season, one of his many vital contributions . His audacious defending at CB against Sunderland was one of the highlights for me this season. However, after four glorious seasons, it has taken just one seesaw season for most of us to write off his importance. I do acknowledge that Carl Jenkinson has been filling in excellently and has improved remarkably from the past season but his steady rise has seen a number of people lose patience with Sagna and inexplicably welcome his departure. Surely, I have missed something? This is someone who’s recovered from two leg breaks and who, in Wenger’s view, is adamant enough to play games even when he has sustained a knock. That kind of determination doesn’t materialize without a level of commitment and motivation to play for the club. Surely, he deserves another chance/season? He’s been pivotal in our top 3/4 finishes in the previous years and I hope he’s part of our title challenging squad next season. “You never question his commitment and his intelligence”, said Wenger. They don’t like make ‘em like that anymore.

Likewise with Vermaelen. Once we start rotating the CBs, which we will have to eventually, there are few better options out there than our very own Vermaelen, someone who’s highly respected by his teammates, evidenced by . Could it really be true that Arsene Wenger made someone, who apparently has neither drive nor skill, captain of Arsenal without thinking twice?

True, he’s been underperforming recently but if we had to part with every underperforming player we would never have had the RVPs, Nasris or even Mertesacker for that matter. What I fail to understand is how quickly we turn against our own players even though history has always taught us otherwise. The very people who were hurling abuses Ramsey, for example, have been embracing him pretending as if his place in the team was never in doubt. If we don’t support our own players, I don’t see who else would. The last thing we would all want to see is Vermaelen shining in another team’s colors.

I was hoping to include Arsene Wenger in this argument but I will reserve it for some other time since that would take up an entire post. These players have been excellent servants for the club and I am certain that people will comprehend their true relevance only when they leave.  We have to thank our stars that we have someone at the helm who perseveres with out-of-form players until they come of age or survive a bad patch. Wenger couldn’t have put it better himself when he said “You will miss me when I am gone.”

47 comments on “You’ll miss me when I’m gone.

  1. Any Dream 11 without Dennis Bergkamp is rejected as nonsense out of hand

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  2. Great post.

    [audio src="http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/fivelive/tms/tms_20130528-1734b.mp3" /]

    The interview i’ve tried to link to with England cricket coach by the plundit Agnew ( he may be ‘nice’ but he is a bit of a plonker ) captures everything you say. I’m not sure if the link is available outside the UK so I’ll paraphrase, the context was an England victory over a weaker New Zealand team in the build up to the Ashes series against Oz. The press were picking at minor decisions, things that could have been better.
    The coach replied that instead of being a negative ninny he would rather focus on the positives, because that is how he coaches a winning team. As the MOTM Swann says earlier in the clip (also a great interview, interesting comments on injuries & returning to form) it’s all about confidence, building and taking that confidence into the games to come. He’s only England’s best spinner in more then a generation, so i’m happy listen.

    Only a nincompoop would focus upon the negative when looking forward in sport, in the opinion of the successful England coach (also a top top player). That doesnt mean to ignore things that canbe improved. And it is hard to disagree. It’s a funny interview. Some would say Flower was rude to the plundit, I would disagree.

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  3. While you are right to focus on the fickle nature of support for players I cannot help but think the Sagna situation has come up not just because of what is the first sticky patch the player has been through but because of the club’s policy/Arsene’s policy in relation to extending contracts for players over 30/31years old.

    I have never really understood why Arsene, a man whose brain is the size of Jupiter,. allows himself to become entangled in a rigid one size fits all approach to players based upon age.

    Some players are still performing very well and playing regularly at 33-34-35
    Others are fucked at 28/29
    Every player is different – therefore negotiate every contract differently

    It seems to me that Sagna’s expectation at 31 years old (in Jan 13) of a slightly longer deal than one year is far from unreasonable

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  4. I was as baffled as you Fins, and Flower, to read this morning the criticism of England in respect of yet another absolute thrashing (again) of New Zealand – listening to Atheron, Botham, Lloyd and Nasser moan on Sunday about the decision not to enforce the follow on was bad enough – when it was shown to be exactly the right choice by Alistair Cook the moaning moved on to a new target

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  5. Anicoll
    I can understand people having different styles, Nasser was a breath of fresh air when he began his partnership with Fletcher. But people are allowed to have different styles as long as they are within the rules of the sport (there have probably been thesis’ written on reverse swing: the politics, media narratives, the skill, the rules etc. i’ve always admired the skill). And anyway, it’s hypocritical considering the old leg side bowling tactic that the latter two employed when they were not blessed with as many quality bowlers. The cheeky monkeys. No wonder Flower wasn’t impressed!

    Is the situation with Rosicky indicative of flexibility?
    I’d love to keep the Warrior Sanga(!). He can play at CB, I’d like to see him given a chance at being first choice, don’t know why. Then again he definitely was up for the showdown with his rival/sub for RB in the French national team during the Newcastle game, and he proved that he’s still better then Debuchy (minus crossing, but we’ve got Jenkinson and Bellerin to come). The sorry sight of Kolo Toure being shipped off to top four ‘contender’ Liverpool ( tbf they were improving as the season progressed) is a fate that he doesn’t deserve.

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  6. nice one, wilsheristic

    And I recall the rending of garments, the wailing and gnashing of teeth, when TV was injured at the start of the season before last, ditto Djourou and Santos. People have short memories. It’s yet another manifestation of fans’ tendency to panic.

    @ anicoll5
    On the age-related contract issue, the cutoff age for offering long-term contracts (which is 32, not 30) is based on sound data. There are of course exceptions to the rule that players’ performance declines after this age, but what AW’s policy does is put the cost of the gamble onto the player, rather than the club. If the player does maintain his level, his contract will be renewed annually anyway. I think there is some flexibility in that Gallas for example was offered 1 year at his current pay or two years at half – he may not have considered that much of a choice! Like you, I am a massive Sagna fan and I hope some compromise can be worked out, because if anyone deserves special treatment, he does. If he’s 31 next Jan, the longest contract extension they would offer is 18 months, which, added to his remaining year would take him to the 11th month of his 33rd year (the cutoff date). So maybe we can hope for another six months, making it a two-year extension and perhaps that would be acceptable to him? And assuming I can add, which shouldn’t be taken for granted!

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  7. Checking Bacary’s birthday he was 30 this Valetines Day – As you say Fun he will be 31 early next year- a time perhaps when he will have his mind on our maintaining our runaway lead at the top of the PL and our inexorable march to the CL trophy.

    And the World Cup of course !

    Oi Arsene – sign him up

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  8. Palace, Brewsters Millions at Hull, and possibly the Oooze will slither back into BetwinMorder* after some time spent as a shapeless shadow in the dark forest (his agents back garden – tghe same agent as Jo? How the smeg does the Ooozy get linked with these gigs after the farce at $ity. And elsewhere. Can I borrow his agent?)

    Hmmmm. Along with the existing crew, that’s too many toadies for the cheating Mancs in one division.

    *You bet your hard earned wonga, you win (of course!), and you too can make it to the land of eternal darkness and foul odours.

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  9. Whats up folks!

    I am In full agreement with this. Thanks, Wilsheristic.

    It seems that when you are a football player you cease to be human, such is attitude of supporters. Give me Sagna every day of the week. The man has been our most reliable player in recent history and our best defender, until just the other day. Supporters are all for Jenks, until he has a rough patch that is. Then there will crying about not having a suitable replacement on the bench if Sagna moves along. Football is a beautiful sport but supporters can be so ugly.

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  10. How is it that so many don’t take long term injuries into account when dealing with players struggling for form? It is not just about the physical but also the mental side of things.

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  11. Is FB in our set up a position for someone past their peak?
    Its the most physically demanding position on the field.
    Now Bac wants an extension that will see him 33 or 34,and on top money.
    My heart says he deserves it.My head says he would be a good/great back up.But should we be paying top dollar to back up players?

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  12. Been offline all day, so missed the discussion this morning of the Test match (and the “follow-on controversy”).

    As is the norm, the pundits’ story was about themselves rather than the match. Their dubious narrative was elevated over the actual event, in which the coach and the captain had demonstrably chosen the right option to give the opposition a real towsing. (Does that ring any bells?) Though there was some belated recompense in hearing Flower giving his interviewers short shrift after the match.

    I sometimes wonder why we bother with sporting events at all. Wouldn’t it be easier just to let the pundits decide the results? After all, they’re always right.

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  13. I agree with George, Alex’s dream XI is shit without Dennis the Menace. I would have sacrificed the one trick pony Ronaldo because he’s just a faster, flashier Ashley Young.

    I don’t think Sagna taking off is dependent on Wenger. Sagna is a hell of a player and I’m sure there are lots of clubs lining up to give him a massive wage. Wenger, good sport that he is, will not stand in the way of him seeing out his career with a huge pay day. I’m sure he had the same conversation with Van Persie before he left.

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  14. “Is FB in our set up a position for someone past their peak?
    Its the most physically demanding position on the field.
    Now Bac wants an extension that will see him 33 or 34,and on top money.
    My heart says he deserves it.My head says he would be a good/great back up.But should we be paying top dollar to back up players?”

    I would love Sagna to stay for a few more seasons. Jenkinson is just getting his feet wet in the first team and having him develop his defensive skills alongside such an incredible player and human like Bacary Sagna would be awesome.

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  15. Point very well made on Sagna, PG.

    I agree, G69, the important part is that Sagna stays – morphing into more of a CB over the next couple of seasons, and perhaps that change of position would in itself lengthen his Arsenal career.

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  16. Such is my desperation, I find I am looking forward to the two international friendlies in the expectation of seeing two Arsenal players.

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  17. I think Vermaelen is a no-brainer. He wants to stay and fight for his place and he has years left on his contract. I can’t imagine there’s any pressure or desire from us to sell. If Vermaelen doesn’t get his place back next season, and it seems difficult for him to do so unless injury strikes Per or Kos, then next summer his future may become a legitimate question.

    Regarding Sagna, my worry is whether the injuries he suffered might cause further niggles going forward. He finished the season strongly, his error against Man Utd was a tiny blip in an otherwise good run of form. I don’t doubt he can still perform to an excellent level, even if his athletic performance weakens, because he’s a very intelligent and highly committed player. My concern would be if we extended his current one year deal by another two years, on lucrative wages, for him to then miss significant periods through injury. The club should have plenty of data to make the best decision. I would be sad to lose such a great servant to the club but wouldn’t begrudge him the opportunity to have a big pay-off after the loyalty he showed (allegedly being chased by Inter and Real at some point) and given us the best years of his career.

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  18. @ LeoS
    That’s why I wondered if converting him to a backup CB and part-time RB would resolve some of those issues. Even if he gets a two-year extension, I doubt it will be on the same money, as he would be trading security for lucrativeness. How much less money could be the problem – that balance is almost certainly the main sticking point – I’m sure in principle he’d love to stay and AW would love to keep him. (See what you started, Swales – I’m speculating like crazy!) And he would be so great to have around for younger players to look up to and learn from. Plus he is still better than the much-improved Jenks, in my opinion. I feel like we are finally about to come good, big time, and I really want Sagna to be a part of that and get his reward for years of outstanding and loyal service.

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  19. A very nice write up. I tend to agree regarding the fans that bend to a different direction as the wind changes. And they don’t consider the rough road back from long term injury, as PAUL stated before.
    SAGNA has been one of my top players ever since he came to the club, so much so that he was my pick to be captain or vice captain two years ago. I think the main issue with him not agreeing a deal yet is the same that made cesc plan his exodus from the club. The leakage we have been suffering for the past three or four summers. You might recall him making some statements to the French press requesting ARSENAL to do everything in their power to keep rvp at the club. For a player who sacrafices body and soul for the club it is very disheartening to see the best talents in the club deciding to leave year after year. I’m hoping that he has seen the potential we all see in this new team and decides to stay two or three more on year to year basis. And I wouldn’t hesitate to up his pay so that he is happy. If anyone deserve it it would be him . And I hope he understands that after THEO saga the corner has been turned as far as leaking talent. I really hope so.

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  20. Really good article Wilsheristic. I look forward to many more

    “I feel like we are finally about to come good, big time, and I really want Sagna to be a part of that and get his reward for years of outstanding and loyal service.”

    Totally agree with you FG. Jenks is at least another year away from regularly playing in the PL and having Bac around to bring him on would be great.

    Anicoll15 – I think people misunderstand the ‘over 30 policy’. It was mainly linked to the move to Emirates when we needed to shift older players on high wages and replace them with cheaper and younger alternatives with a sell on value. Times are changing – Rosicky is still here and he is into his 30’s and I don’t think he’ll be the last. As FG points out, the player has to demonstrate through his fitness and work in training that he has not lost his edge.

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  21. 81% – Before tonight, England had won 81% of games with T Walcott playing, the best record of any player (10+ games) since Euro 96. Charm.

    From OptaJoe on Twitter. Think it’s an interesting statistic that shows just how Theo has come leaps and bounds over the past couple of seasons. I am happy we have him with us for the near future, he’ll probably get close to 30 goals next season and combined with his ability to give plenty of assists, he will be an integral part in what will hopefully be a league-winning side.

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  22. If it was a matter of reducing the wage bill for older players surely you would just not offer them an extension to their contract – get them off the books if that is what you want or need to do ?

    As you say Passenal I hope we have seen the end of what seems a silly policy unworthy of our mighty leader

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  23. Poldi is in the mood. Opening the scoring for Germany after 9 seconds (take that, Theo!) and adding another one in the 17th minute. I am expecting big things from Lukas for next season, when he will be back and not carrying an injury any more.

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  24. Excellent article Wilsheristic – like many others I’m looking forward to plenty more!

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  25. @ Evil
    “shows just how Theo has come leaps and bounds over the past couple of seasons.”

    “leaps and bounds” is exactly the way to describe Theo ‘s improvements – he seems to be making no progress for ages and then some aspect of his game seems to have blossomed overnight. I think that’s why some people get frustrated with him, he doesn’t seem to be getting game by game or month by month.

    @ anicoll5
    It’s worth offering them a one-year extension because ideally you would prefer to have them stay for obvious reasons, but you can’t afford to tie up (let’s say) £16 million – a four-year contract at 80k a week – when they might only play 20 games a season in the last couple of years because of dipping form or injuries. Once that money is contracted to the player it is no longer available to pay or to buy a younger player to play the games the older player can’t play. Then the only way you can get any of that money back is by selling the older player, whose value will have gone down considerably in the meantime. The 32-years rule is a ruthless policy, and I concede it has hurt us a bit because I don’t think anyone has taken up the one-year extension! But it was a policy born out of necessity – the money just wasn’t there to pay an experienced head AND a young ‘un with potential, so AW chose the younger player. One advantage of having a greater resources nowadays is that we could be more flexible.

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  26. Good post the myopic approach by most fans is indicative of the premier league ethos, now or never, im surprised some of the fans remember which club they promised their alliegence to, at the start of every season.

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  27. I am a big Bac fan their is no braver header of the ball in the club and sas has been alluded to he put in a tremendous performance at cb. My only gripe is he cannot cross a ball. If he could he would be truly world class

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  28. I disagree that it was a silly policy anicoll – as FG points out, it was a policy borne of necessity and based on sound economics and access to player stats that we don’t have. One thing about AW, he does not make policy on a whim. Anything he does is well considered from every angle. We scout players for years before making a move – even going as far as climbing over fences to watch them in training! That’s what happens when you don’t have access to a bottomless pit of cash, you have to be really careful before you start dishing out multi-million pound contracts like sweets.

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  29. A policy borne of necessity ? I do not follow
    These players were offered one year contracts,and the following year would have been offered the same again subject to their performance

    US being a club that always weighs contracts against performance (coughs politely)

    Where was the necessity to offer these 30ish players one year contracts rather than two year contracts,three year contracts or no contract at all?

    Where was the necessity, what was achieved, by disposing of Gilberto for a pathetic £1 million ? Are you seriously telling me that on the basis of some secret statistics that we are too dumb recomprehend that Sagna will quit and we should not query it? That pathetic old creature Pires ? What did we get – anything – I forget

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  30. Thats not the point Anicoll.
    When you approach 30 the chances are you have given of your best.And its not the 18 month or even 2 year deals that is the problem.They are looking for top whack and a 4 year deal.(See RVP)
    Arteta was given 4 years aged 29.Rosicky 2 years .Its not hard and fast,but it is the right idea.
    “If its good enough for Dennis ,its good enough for anyone”

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  31. @ anicoll5
    We didn’t sell Gilberto to get £1-2 million, but to enable him to get the bulk of the money Panathinaikos (or AIK Athens? can’t remember) had available for wages and transfer fee – given that he turned down a short contract with us anyway. It was a classy gesture to a wonderful player and human being.
    I would hope we’re not too dumb to understand the data, but we don’t have access to them. There are myriad indicators of diminishing performance, many of which the player himself will not be aware of. I can’t recall whether it was RvP or Wilshere, but a while ago a player said that he had not realised he was in the notorious red zone until he was actually shown his charts. The medical team can see the decline coming in advance and I am sure that information is weighed up with other factors in deciding what deal to offer the player. And in fairness, I can’t think of a case of the older player going on to play week in week out for their new club for three or four years at the same level, which we would have needed them to do, seeing as we wouldn’t have a replacement – assuming we would lose the younger player. Though I’m sure someone will tell me if there is a case of the older player cutting it.

    I am quite hopeful about Sagna staying though – because of what I am now calling the Walcott precedent, ie the improved financial situation and the fact that he doesn’t seem to be talking to anyone else specifically. And as someone else hinted, our transfer business may have a bearing on his decision.

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  32. “If it’s good enough for Dennis, it’s good enough for anyone.”

    And what PG said.
    I hope you noticed I put in the apostrophes which you omitted, PG (banned smiley face).

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  33. What are you talking about FG? Are you blind?

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  34. So, so late to the party today. Hell, it’s tomorrow for you guys. But I wanted to say, great post Wilsheristic. Look forward to more.

    Glad to see a positive outlook on Vermaelen, especially after seeing so much twitter traffic today for a blog outlining why we should get rid of him. (I did not read said blog, BTW, so you can correct me if the content belied the title.) I so hope he stays. He did start this evening in the US/Belgium friendly, but unfortunately went off injured.

    @FG “I feel like we are finally about to come good, big time, and I really want Sagna to be a part of that and get his reward for years of outstanding and loyal service.” That’s exactly right, and exactly how I feel.

    Night, y’all.

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  35. Good discussion and I can’t argue that at the time the 32 year old age policy was probably the right thing for ARSENAL and players that gave us many years of good loyal service and deserved a big pay day. One in the amount we could not provide and match. Even so we needed a player and good leader like SILVA to be the bridge between the two generations of players. We absolutely missed his teachings of the game to players like cf and DENI. it was touch much on their young shoulders too soon. They did themselves proud by competing at the highest level with players five to ten years more mature and at the top of their games. If there is any one part of the past seven years we could have redone( with the benefit of hindsight )it would be to have kept GILBERTO and ROBERT for one more season to give the youngsters a chance to find their feet and their game , so to speak. Their induction would have been much less daunting. Maybe we would have achieved a bit more success on the playing field and that in turn would have slowed down the tide of the talent leaving the club for other pastures a green. I know ,I know 20/20 hindsight.
    But I did feel this way back then also.

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  36. Great article

    The problem I have with Sagna is not his defending but his attacking, apart from a poor final ball. He slows the game down when he gets to the final third of the pitch, too often Sagna stops and plays a short ball backwards rather than (like the two left backs) drive at the defenders and take them on. I think he does this to give himself time to get back into position. His recovery to right back was slow last season leaving huge gaps behind him for teams to exploit. I think the two leg breaks have taken their toll on him as an attacking force. When Wenger is pushing for a goal towards the end if a game it was Sagna who was taken off for Ramsey to move back into that position. I would like Sagna to stay at least till the end of his contract as his is still good enough against 75% of teams in the PL and can help CJ (a funny image of the rise and fall of Reggie Perrin just popped into my head lol) become our next right back.

    TV5 is a strange one when he arrived he was quick in the tackle, he could drive forward with the ball and was covering all in defence, but since his ankle injury’s he has been rash in his challenges, he does not drive forward as much and gets dragged out of position to quickly. I can only think that the injury to his left ankle is either taken a long time to heal properly or it has just put that element of doubt in his mind about himself. I am glad to read reports that he wishes to stay and fight for his place.

    With both these players though I am wondering if a decent offer came in from a European club would Wenger not be tempted by it?

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  37. Looks like you’ve found another one George,great write up Wilsheristic.

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  38. Old Weng will be happy of his strong hand at CB, only if the player wants to go would it be considered. Same as it ever was with Viera and the rest I guess.

    Quick trawl on news now yest:
    “Former Arsenal player says Arsenal need to borrow some money from the Wonga Wallahs because ‘they are The Arsenal'”
    “Arsenal crushed by losing out on player X, says agent of Player Y who is now Arsenal’s next target. We think. Possibly maybe.”
    “Arsenal youth player is left too weak by Arsenal’s tippy tappy coaching regime. This is football not croquet Arsene! These kids need to be eating roast beef not frog’s legs”
    ( The last one was almost as funny as someone who manages a club up norf telling Viera’s former manager what a tackle is)

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  39. I enjoyed reading the Post and you have been loyally supportive to an ex-player, to your credit.

    It is undeniably the case that Sagna has consistently been a top performer for the Gunners over recent seasons.

    What is also undeniable is that following his two leg breaks he has lost a good yard of pace. His crossing, although adequate, has not always been of the top quality, but his other attributes more than compensated.

    Now however, the lack of pace has affected his whole game, because in attack he nearly always has to check and pass backwards, because he is unable to outrun the opposing defender.

    In defence, he is now much more vulnerable, as he cannot get back from an upfield foray as he did so well in the past, and as a result he is not as effective.

    These things are always subjective, and Sagna is still an OK full back, but no longer at the peak of his powers. At the age of 30 he is obviously aware that tempus fugit, and will have an eye open for a last well paid hurrah, and it might be a mutually beneficial time for bot him and Arsenal to draw the curtain on his Arsenal career.

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  40. Oh I agree it is not a hard and fast rule George – Jens was way over 30 when we signed him on a three or four year contract

    When we declined to offer the lunatic German any contract at 38/39 he then went onto play for two years at Stuttgart – and play regularly and well

    Now you can say keepers are different, and they are not the same as outfield players

    But the principle is the same – don’t discard players who are important to the club or cause them to leave, with no better or even equivalent replacement, just because of age

    And Red Arse I do not go along with Sagna having lost a yard of pace since his second leg break, he has made errors, as has every other member of the back four, but his errors have not been down to pace ( or lack of it) imo. They have been down t the fatal virus of overcommitment forward which is part of the ‘brand’ (!)

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  41. @ anicoll5
    OK, fair example of Lehmann at Stuttgart – but mostly, that’s not what happens. Usually they go downhill fairly quickly, or they can’t stay fit consistently, eg Gallas.

    Can I just reiterate to you and goonerkam that as I understand it, the option you are saying we should have gone for, ie keep older player on long-term contract AND bring on newer player, was not available. The money to do that was not there. The choice was either younger player on long-term contract OR older player on long-term contract. Not both.

    @ pedantic george May 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    What are you talking about FG? Are you blind?
    No, you are! (banned winky thing).
    This was your original:
    “If its good enough for Dennis ,its good enough for anyone”

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  42. hi, alabamgooner!

    @ anicoll5
    “But the principle is the same – don’t discard players who are important to the club or cause them to leave, with no better or even equivalent replacement, just because of age”

    There must be a reason why there aren’t many 40-year-old outfield players. Look at Lampard. Apparently still doing the business for Chelsea, but only a one-year contract extension. Why not longer? They must know something we don’t. By and large, players can’t cut it after a certain age – which does vary in each person as you say, but 32/33 is the age after which they are much more likely to fall away.

    And we did have a replacement – the younger player. An equivalent replacement would be no cheaper than the original. (we brought in cheaper experienced players but they weren’t of the same quality.) Money was tight and we had to make hard choices – either pay three or four years at top whack for a player who will give you one year, or pay a less good younger player who, you believe, has equivalent or greater potential. We couldn’t have our cake and eat it.

    Again, I’m not saying it totally worked as a policy – clearly it didn’t. We missed out on the experience of the older player and some of the youngsters didn’t work out or left. But I am defending the policy against the charge of being misconceived – there was a clear and logical rationale to it.

    Anyway, I’d best leave it there before I bore everyone to death.

    @ Red Arse
    The point of Sagna staying would not be wholly about his ability – it would be for his experience, his personal example, etc. Though having said that, I think he’s still a top RB and we should give him time to recover fully from two leg-breaks before assessing him.

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  43. I have worked through my obsession Fun !

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  44. Yup,
    Sagna can’t have fully recovered just yet, it takes time! I’m happy to guess that the flash of anger in reaction to Cabaye’s kick indicates that there is more to come there.
    And as FG says Arsenal’s circumstances have (slightly?) changed, as things do over time.

    It is tricky: Freddie was another one let go, and it turned out he had a hairline fracture in his hip which wasn’t picked up till he moved for a second or third time after leaving Arsenal, when he was stateside. Was it wrong to let him go in that instance? In that case i don’t think so but who knows? at this point, with the improved facilities, who cares? Pires has said he fancied the change after the CL final and maybe there were some benefits there: he dropped some nice hints about Arsenal to a certain Carzola!

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  45. @Swales1968 @ 8:30 am – Agreed. If AW can sign an experienced, younger, more mobile right-back then I am afraid Sagna will be sold. The two German teams in the Champions League finals demonstrated the importance of fullbacks who are effective in both aspects of the game. Closer home, the Monreal-Gibbs combo is the template.

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  46. Anicoll5,

    I did say that these things are subjective, and Sagna’s pace or lack thereof, falls into that category.

    I do not mind you having a different opinion to mine, and I hope you do not mind me having a different opinion to you! 🙂

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  47. FunGunner,

    @1:22, there is much to be said for experience in all walks of life, not least for a footballer.

    The problem with that is the only way to get experience is to play — and that is what Cpl Jenks needs to do. In addition, if experience was the main yardstick, we would have a team of 50 year old players.

    I do not have any ill feeling towards Sagna, he has been fantastic for us, but my gut feeling is that he is becoming injury prone, and now also getting long in the tooth, so the time must be nigh for a younger man to step up.

    I think Sagna senses this and that is why he has been making noises about moving on (allegedly).

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