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Published: May 15, 2012
First off; Arsenal FC almost has an exclusive franchise on sleek football in the English Premiership. I don’t think any fan of football will want to argue with that. It is usually a wonderful thing to behold when they are in their element and pass the ball with the grace of a ballet dancer and the precision of a mathematics professor. The question on the lips of the average football ardent particularly followers of the Premiership after Tuesday’s loss to Manchester United and Sunday’s trouncing by London rivals Chelsea is ‘ where will Arsenal go from here?’ again, can they progress with their crop of youngsters? I think not and give three reasons why.
1. Lack of credible role models: Players like Cesc Fabregas matured while playing alongside midfield generals like Patrick Viera. The result is obvious in the quality of his game today. The same can hardly be said for the other youngsters in the squad. There are hardly any world-class players in every position for the players to learn from. Again compare that with Anderson’s maturity playing alongside the likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Owen Hargreaves or even Kiko Macheda alongside Carlos Tevez, Berbatov, Ronaldo and Rooney.
2. Unattractive Pay structure: While it is refreshing to see a club which will not be bullied into breaking the bank just to pay player wages, Arsenal does take the opposite position sometimes. They obviously have the least attractive wages amongst the top four and this will compel the players who have started to mature and gel seek the proverbial greener pastures leaving the manager to start grooming someone new. In other words, back at one.
3. Ambition: It is the desire of every footballer to win trophies and he will gravitate towards the club which will give him that at the least opportunity given the right circumstances. Arsenal for all its sleek and sexy football has had pretty ‘trophyless’ seasons recently. This coupled with their inability or refusal to bring in big name players has cost them players like the talismaniac and iconic Thierry Henry as well as Hleb and Flamini to Barcelona and AC Milan respectively (both very ambitious clubs).
I would love to see this set of Arsenal players gel, get individual and team experience and then stick together for a while. The results will be astounding. The issue is; will they? Time will tell but obviously Arsenal has to become flexible with some of their player policies or risk losing the very best of them. There’s no need to place hope on the young players if the intention is to sell them once they mature.
Olatunji Ladi Adejumo is a professional Public Relations and Management practitioner specializing in e-Public Relations, Brand Management and Communication. An avid follower of various sports, a motivational speaker, writer and coach, he has a relentless passion to assist business owners and professionals get to and remain at the top of their game in life. He has evolved a systematic educational program using sports to connect go- getters with their aspirations.