THEY used to revere the marble halls of Highbury Stadium. If Arsene Wenger managed to pocket some of the stuff before the move to the Emirates over the road, he might want to check where he’s kept it as his latest comments suggest he may have lost his.
The Arsenal manager, dubbed the Professor, turns 62 tomorrow and seemd to show his age by suggesting that Cesc Fabregas could remain an Arsenal player for many years to come.
In a week when the behaviour of Wayne Rooney has brought the issue of club loyalty under intense scrutiny, perhaps Wenger was trying to drop a subtle hint in the mind of his star player, that he expects different from those who buy into the Arsenal ethos, a footballing philosophy largely designed by the Frenchman. Arsenal are supposed to do things diiferently. “Mas Que Un Club” so to speak.
The Gunners barely managed to keep a hold of their captain during the summer when Barcelona’s pursuit of the midfield play-maker bordered on harrassment. Yet, as the Guardian reports, Wenger is adamant that the desire to win trophies at Arsenal will convince Fabregas to stay put.
“It is about our potential to win also, how well he can do. I am not pessimistic about him and I am confident we will keep him for a few more years.”
Arsenal were in magnificent form in the Champions League this week, sweeping aside Shakhtar Donetsk. Yet, they have flattered to deceive so often in the past, when sizzling European games were followed by monumental cock-ups in the Premier League.
Why does Wenger think this season will be any different, given that many acknowledge the paucity of the present Arsenal squad? If it isn’t, no one expects Fabregas to dismiss the allure of his boyhood club for a second time.
The Emirates boss was tight-lipped when asked if Arsenal would be interested in bidding for Wayne Rooney. Frankly, everyone knows the Gunners would never stave off the interest of teams such as Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Man City, because of the wages they can offer, so the question was redundant.
Arsenal face Manchester City this weekend when victory might support Arsene Wenger’s claims that his side are genuinely capable of challenging for honours this season.
The manager’s comments were made at the club’s Annual General Meeting where shareholders also grilled him on his failure to sign a goalkeeper before the start of the season, considered a major obstacle in the team’s attempts to reach the Premier League summit.
He replied that he would have money available in January to strengthen the squad. By then Arsenal may well be out of the Premier League running because of their lack of consistency, just as they have been out of every competition since their last taste of silverware in 2005. And far from adding to the playing staff, no one would bet against Fabregas upping sticks to the Nou Camp in the New Year. No one, except Wenger perhaps.