Pimping the players? Its money to Stan the Man and the Arsenal septuagenarians
Is Arsenal breeding a particular type of player mercenary? Those without any loyalty to the club, constantly on the lookout for the big payoff from the next big club? It’s so easy to trash them when it appears so black and white. This season alone, RVP’s agent supposedly made such outlandish demands that there is no way Arsenal can meet his demands or Alex Song is a ill disciplined, disruptive locker room presence who wore out his welcome and the club was forced to sell him.
Or is this just smoke and mirrors for Arsenal pimping their marquee players so they can get as much from them because that is exactly the way Stan Kroenke operates his American sports franchises while they spiral into mediocrity. Denver Nuggets, St Louis Rams, Colorado Rapids, and Colorado Avalanche. One time contenders, now also rans since Kroenke’s takeover. Symbols of benign neglect. Decay. Star players sold.
It is Theo Walcott’s turn now to leave the club. He has declined to extend his contract even as no other club has come calling. An interesting aside in the Guardian article which documents his unfruitful negotiations is Wenger’s now familiar insistence only last week that the winger was “very important” to the club’s future. Only to be followed by the bewildering display of Arsenal dithering on sitting down with Walcott’s representatives to thrash out his future. Where did we see that just the other day? Oh yes, Alex Song.
We all realize that players can hold their clubs hostage and even in the midst of serving multi year paper contracts can refuse to show up to practice or to tour with them forcing the club to sell them as in Luka Modric’s case. But Arsenal might be the first club where the manager calling each of his marquee players off limits serves as a dog whistle to sell the lot, the whole bloody lot. If he’s made captain, his armband actually has his sale price affixed to it.
Unlike AC Milan, which is in a financial hole and made no bones selling Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to retain some semblance of solvency, Arsenal is a fairly well to do club run by a boardroom that has seen these player sales increase capital and drive up their share prices by a considerable factor to make handsome profits. That’s the business model. Alisher Usmanov was actually speaking the truth and the reason we hate him is because he looks like Jaba the Hutt.
It is easy to see why this would be couched with a holier than thou attitude. You have to turn the tables on the players, making them the scapegoats to hide the unpalatable truth that Arsenal in the end are just pimping out their players. Is there one single player other than Cesc Fabregas who has not left Arsenal in recent years under a cloud? What happens in this club that sucks out the milk of human kindness from each of them? We hate Man City and Chelsea because they buy titles but at least they spare us any pretenses. Arsenal on the other hand gives us these testimonials of faith and loyalty while seemingly helpless preventing any player from leaving. Zero for eight. Cash in the bank.