Had Arsenal won on Sunday, had Alex Iwobi been playing well recently, it would have been a complete non-story. But Arsenal did not win, and Alex Iwobi has been rank awful all season.
Some people will point to the fact he is just 21 years old, and all of us have had a beer on a work night. Hell, in my younger days, I would occasionally go out until 5am on a Tuesday morning, head straight into work pissed, and battle through the day. But then I was not paid £50,000 a week to do so (not even £50k a year).
And whilst I would do this, I would still perform over the year – One of the top billers in my company. So not much would be said if I came in drunk or hungover from the night before.
Had I not been performing, not far exceeding my minimum standard, I would have been pulled aside, warned that my behaviour was affecting my performance, and disciplined accordingly.
Staying out until 2.30am on a Saturday morning was just poor judgement by Alex Iwobi.
Yes, it happened often back 20-30 years ago, but Paul Merson in his book mentioned that in the modern era of smart phones, the likes of the Tuesday club and doing cocaine in the back of a black cab would not have happened.
Alex Iwobi is on £50,000 a week, he is a professional footballer. He might only be 21, but he is not a normal 21 year old. He is not a student falling out of the Hippodrome in Colchester at 4am. He is paid a lot of money to be at peak physical fitness. This means diet, sleep and watching what you consume.
He might not have been drinking, he might not have been doing drugs, but he needs to be aware of who he is associating with. The excuse of “it was my mate smoking weed, I just inhaled second hand smoke” is not a valid excuse in the eyes of doping control.
Iwobi fails a drug test, he could be facing a year long ban, all because his mate was smoking a little bit of the herbs.
All young footballers get paid too much too early.
Just last week, Chuba Akpom admitted drink driving after crashing £60,000 Range Rover while ‘drunk on vodka cranberry’.
Akpom, who is now 22 years old, has achieved nothing in football. He could go on to achieve nothing, yet Arsenal have made him a millionaire. This is not just an Arsenal problem, but an English football problem. It is why the national team struggle.
Young players becoming millionaires before they have contributed anything meaningful in their career.
Alex Iwobi is at a cross roads in. He is underperforming massively. He is in danger of going down the Emmanuel Frimpong route. Too much partying and social media.
Personally, I would punish him by sending him on loan for the remainder of the season. Somewhere backwards like Hull, Norwich or Bolton. Make him realise he is lucky to be at Arsenal. And see if he comes back more grown up.
Next season Alex Iwobi has to be declared as part of Arsenal’s 25 man squad. This means he takes up a space. The club will evaluate as to whether he is good enough to take up a space. On current performances, he doesn’t. His behaviour only makes things worse.
In a year which could see Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez leave, Iwobi should be standing up and putting in performances – like Cesc Fabregas did in Patrick Vieira’s last year – which makes the management think we have a replacement already. Instead he is misbehaving and underperforming.
His Arsenal career is hanging by a thread.