Arsenal fans will be reading their newspapers this morning with a mixture of confusion and despair.
Following the sale of Mathieu Flamini to AC Milan earlier this week, there are very strong rumours that Alexander Hleb is likely to leave The Emirates and head to Italy as well, signing for Inter.
In the Daily Mail this morning, Emmanuel Adebayor is quoted as saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Pay up, or IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m off.Ã¢â‚¬Â He is said to be demanding eighty thousand pounds a week in order to stay.
Real Madrid have made it clear that they will do all they can to lure Cesc Fabrigas to the Bernabau this summer. Fabrigas has said he is happy at Arsenal but will he remain so if Flamini and Hleb and maybe Adebayor all jump ship?
Over the past couple of weeks, when asked if he would be investing in the transfer market, Arsene Wenger has said that his biggest challenge would be to keep his current squad together. It is now clear what he meant, and it seems that he might not be able to meet that challenge.
ArsenalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season blew up in WengerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face when a run of only two wins in eleven games saw their challenge for both the Premier League and the Champions League fall apart, when they had been in a great position to win both just a few weeks earlier. The question has to be asked now what came first? Did the run of poor form cause unrest, or did the unrest cause the poor form?
We shall probably not know the answer to that question until somebody writes an autobiography and tells us what went on behind the scenes. One person who did write about their time at Arsenal was England left back Ashley Cole, or Cashley Cole as he is now known. In his book he explained that the main reason he left Arsenal was because he felt he was worth sixty-thousand pounds a week and Arsenal offered him only the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœinsulting amountÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ of fifty-five thousand. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not surprised he left! Fifty-five thousand a week is hardly worth getting out of bed for! That extra five thousand a week would have kept him out of the poverty trap!
Famously Arsenal do not Ã¢â‚¬Ëœspend bigÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in the transfer market and they do not pay the same levels of ridiculous wages that some of the other clubs do. It could be that this policy will backfire on them as their best players look to go elsewhere.
So, why do these players want to leave? We are often told by players and pundits that Ã¢â‚¬Ëœit isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t about the moneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. We are told that players want to be challenged and to play at the highest level. They want to go as far as they can in the game and the money is secondary.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always questioned this view and the current goings-on at The Emirates would suggest that I am absolutely right to do so.
Which league in Europe is the top league to play in at the moment? Yes, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right, the English Premier League. Which country is most likely to produce the teams that compete in the latter stages of the premier European competition? Yes, England again. Which teams are almost certain to be battling for the honours, domestically and Internationally in England? The big four of course, which very much includes the Gunners.
So if Flamini, Hleb and maybe Adebayor and Fabrigas want to challenge themselves at the highest possible level in Europe, why would they want to move elsewhere? It can only be for one of two reasons. Either the atmosphere at the Emirates is so terrible that they need to get away, or, more likely, they are going purely for the money.
Flamini has moved to Milan who are by no means certain of a place in next seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Champions League. How can that possibly be a career enhancing move? Hleb is talking about Inter who were easily disposed of by a Liverpool team who have finished some way behind Arsenal in the League. Career enhancing? I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think so.
The players are maybe just going where the money is, which is probably why so many overseas stars are playing in England already. The big clubs in Europe have seen the success being achieved by the English game and the English clubs and are now offering even sillier money to attract the best players. Whilst we talk about greed and lack of loyalty, we should maybe put ourselves in the shoes of the players.
I write for Soccer News and I am a very loyal person. If another organisation offered me a ridiculous amount of money to write for them and leave Soccer News, would I take the moral high ground and turn it down through loyalty? Think about who you work for. If a similar company offered you twice the salary to do the same job, would you not jump at the chance?
Maybe we are all a bit naÃƒÂ¯ve to think that footballers should show a higher level of loyalty than the rest of us would be likely to do.
The only thing against the argument I have put forward is the fact that these guys are already earning sixty-thousand pounds a week! Just how much money can you spend? Surely, if you are already financially secure for the rest of your life, you would be looking to test yourself at the highest possible level.
For some reason, these players do not seem to feel that they are getting what they need at Arsenal. Is it purely financial greed or is there something more sinister behind what is going on?
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