Over the last decade or so, the transfer window has been a fraught time of year for Arsenal fans, as they ponder “Who will be leaving next?”
In fact, I lie, it is not a new thing that only developed over the last decade. It go’s beyond that. From Anelka in 1999 all the way through to Bacary Sagna last summer, we have often lost players we do not really want to lose. The big difference in the last 10 years is that losing top players has been more consistent in the mid-late 00’s and into the 10’s, than it was in the late 90’s-early 00’s.
Last year, there was already a feeling of change. Yes, we wanted to keep Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna, but it was also felt that they were replaceable. And we replaced them.
This summer, however, the feeling is even stronger that we will not lose anyone we do not want to.
Abou Diaby, and Damien Martinez are set to go on a free. Podolski and Campbell set to be sold. None of these have exactly been key players this season.
There is a question mark of Theo Walcott. Arsene Wenger has said he would stay, but let’s be honest, if we decided to sell, it will be our decision, and he will not be missed.
What all this results in is we do not need to worry about the mindless speculation linking our players away from the club. From the likes of Anelka, Vieira and Henry being linked away because they could join a bigger side, to Nasri, Toure and Adebayor who’s head was turned by money and titles. We are now in a strong position, and will build and strengthen rather than weaken.
What will be nice this season is that it is set to be our opponents who are going to be speculated about departures.
Having lost Suarez last season, Liverpool are facing a summer of uncertainty when it comes to Sterling. He has refused to sign a new contract. Once the season is over, the speculation about his future will be on a daily basis.
Despite having all the money Arab oil can bring, Manchester City also have a turbulent summer ahead. James Milner and Micah Richards both set to leave on a free (Milner having already gone). Edin Dzeko and Jovetic complaining about lack of 1st team football. Yaya Toure not having a very happy birthday. There could be a massive overhaul in Manchester. Add in Fernando and Ferdandinho underperforming, and the problems they have in the centre of defence, it could really be as much as 10 in 10 out.
Manchester United are in the same boat. Despite having sign Angel di Maria last summer, speculation is rife that he will join PSG this summer. Mata could return to Spain. Falcao to France. And RVP, well he will probably try to engineer a move away in the same way he did at Arsenal. They face another summer of upheaval. Speculation. Disastrous signings.
The only other club looking fairly set at the moment is Chelsea. Bar Petr Cech, it is unlikely anyone will leave who they do not want to lose. Unless Real Madrid apply the pressure on Eden Hazard. And that could be fun to watch.
So Arsenal fan’s, with a trophy in the cabinet for the 2nd successive season, we can go on holiday, put our feet up, cigar in hand, and relax, knowing that this year, the heart will not be ripped out of our club.
Instead it will be ripped out of our opponents.