Arsenal have always been a top side, attracting and showcasing some of the best players whilst producing a brand of football that is respected throughout the world.
They have produced legendary players, and have invested in some top youngsters. Whilst the club are infamously stingy when it comes the transfer market, they still have an eye for talent.
Some players, such as the latest investments: Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski, have proved to be bargains. However, in recent seasons Arsene Wenger has brought in some empty cannons. In fact, most of these disappointments still continue to play for the club.
Andrei Arshavin, was bought from Zenit for a £16.9 million fee during the January transfer window. The Russian midfielder was a promising buy for the Gunners. He had a certain style and characteristics that made him a perfect match for the London outfit.
When he made his debut in 2009, he looked like a great star. He was simply becoming an asset to the club. After his first season with Arsenal, he started to dip in form.
Every player does from time to time, but this was different. He dipped so much that he was barely getting into the first XI or even the substitutes bench. He now gets the odd match for the club, but he’s certainly lost that magic touch he had when put four goals past Liverpool back in 2009.
The contrast between the 37 league appearances in the 2010/11 season and the seven overall appearances this season just shows the major drop Arshavin had made with Arsenal. His contract expires at the end of the season and there is very little chance he will be at the club next season.
When Arsenal signed Gervinho for a fee worth £10.7 million it looked as if Arsenal had bagged themselves a bargain. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
You only need to look at his Premier League debut to see that he was another disappointing signing for the club. He was sent off for slapping Joey Barton in the clash with Newcastle United and since the incident, he has managed to score just 10 goals for his side. Just like Arshavin, he too, remains at the club, and he too has faded, although he has a few more years to turn it around.
Other empty cannons at Arsenal include Sebastian Squillaci, Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner. These three players started promisingly with Arsenal.
Wenger hoped he could build them into quality performers, but they haven’t quite worked out. This season, Chamakh and Bendtner were loaned out to other clubs, to try to force their best form out of them but they have failed to do so and will return to the club with the same stature in which they left.
Squillaci’s contract is coming to an end and the French player is likely to be released at the end of the season but Wenger needs to recruit some stars this summer, and must clean out some of the deadwood currently lying in the squad.
These are some names that have left the fans questioning whether Wenger still has the ability to sign the right players. Whilst these players may value their role at Arsenal, is it time for Wenger to let go, and realise that these players have not progressed with Arsenal, and that they should pursue careers at other clubs?
They have all faded into the background, and it’s hard to see this club build with these players in mind. Many fans would want to see these players depart, whilst they see world-class players join this summer. Will Arsene have the same mind-frame?
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