It seem if an Arsenal player utters anything that strays from die-hard commitment or expresses anything less than undying love for the club, fans immediately turn on the player.
They point accusatory fingers and make outrageous claims of treachery and deceit. And, ultimately, given what fans have had to endure over the past few seasons, this is comprehensible – perhaps even pardonable.
In the last two years alone the Arsenal faithful has had to watch in anguish as their hero and club favourite Cesc Fabregas walked out of the Emirates door to return to his boyhood club in Catalonia.
The torment continued as midfield maestro Samir Nasri defected to big-money Manchester City and finally the stake was driven home as the Emirates’ favourite Dutchman Robin van Persie committed one of the ultimate acts of treason by swapping the Arsenal red for that of Manchester United’s.
And, to add a mixture of salt, vinegar and acid to the wound, they were forced to watch as their former talisman was crowned league champion with his new club where, as it turns out, the pastures really were greener.
This is enough to test the faith of the most unyielding of devotees and it is quite understandable that fans reacted the way they did after Koscielny’s latest comments to the media.
But the media will sensationalise anything they can dig up and won’t hesitate to blow out of proportion simple and honest answers to a set of questions obviously designed to lead the Frenchman into controversial responses, sparking a frenzy and inducing panic in the ranks of Arsenal followers.
“I feel good at Arsenal. I’ve just come to the end of a complicated season, especially the first six months, but it’s over now. I do not want to go anywhere,” Koscielny told Eurosport.
“I want to win titles and I hope the club has the means. It deserves it. If the club has the means to compete with the best, I have no reason to leave. But if it fights every year for Champions League [qualification] it’s hard psychologically to be under such constant pressure.
“I want to lift trophies and to have a winning record. I hope the club will give me the means. If this weren’t the case, I’d look elsewhere. Paris [Saint Germain]? I don’t know. I’ve not heard anything.”
Although these comments remind of some of Robin van Persie’s statements before he left for United, they shouldn’t be seen in the same light.
What fans need to take from Koscielny’s answers in this interview is the fact that a) he doesn’t want to go anywhere, b) he wants to win titles, and c) if the club has the means to compete with the best he’ll stay.
Also, these answers were in reply to specific and direct questions from press that were trying to goad a player – whose first language isn’t English – into controversial responses.
Arsenal supporters can hardly blame the Frenchman for wanting to win; we all want that and it would be more disturbing if he were content with Arsenal scrapping for a fourth place every season.
Furthermore, the fact is that Arsenal now finally have the means to contend with big clubs, especially in the transfer market.
Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis recently told reporters that Arsenal are entering an “escalation of financial firepower”. Asked if Arsenal can afford a top player who will come with a lofty transfer fee and wages in excess of £200k a week, Gazidis affirmed that the club can certainly afford it – and then some.
The Arsenal faithful need to realise that their club is finally emerging from the dark ages. The players certainly know it, and they aren’t going to leave now that the club at long last has the means to compete financially and stands on the verge of long-awaited and long-overdue success.
Thus, despite Koscielny’s Van Persie-esk comments, fans need to relax. The centre-back isn’t going anywhere, and even if he does, Arsenal can now afford to replace him with world-class alternatives.
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