Alexis, Arsenal, Loyalty and Transfers by Uche
Yeah this is yet another article on Alexis Sanchez. Sorry. In as much as we all want to get this transfer over with, it is not done yet and a whole lot depends on it going through. So reluctantly, we will keep talking about the elephant in the room, until that elephant leaves the room.
I am writing this article in response to numerous articles and opinions blaming Wenger and Arsenal for not renewing his contract. I am not Wenger’s biggest fan, yet I know that such criticism is easy to dish out when you are not the manager of a club. Sport is an emotional subject so it often gets in the way of objectivity and logic. If a player leaves for free, you get blamed for not cashing in. If you sell him, you get blamed for selling your best player.
Either way, you cannot win.
Renewing a player’s contract does not depend entirely on the club. This cannot be said enough. Sanchez was offered a ton of money to stay. But he had long decided that he will have better success playing elsewhere. Does he have a point? Of course. Many of us would want the same if we found ourselves in his shoes. So why wouldn’t he leave Arsenal? To all those who insist we could have gotten him to sign a new contract, I have a question for you. How exactly would you have done that? By strapping him to a chair and waterboarding him until he signs? The relationship between a player and a club is a bit like that between a man and his wife. If she decides tomorrow to leave you for another man who is richer and more ambitious, there is a limit to what you can do.
I have also read a lot about players lacking loyalty in sports. Again that is all emotional talk. Sportsmen and sports managers are employees in their various clubs just like many of us. They get paid a salary just like many of us. They are often on the lookout for better paying jobs, just like many of us, and when that opportunity finally comes, they try to grab it, just like we all do. This is business and in business, there is no such thing as loyalty. There is good business and there is better business. There is also bad business. But there is nothing like loyalty business.
Loyalty as a gesture is an emotional commitment and it thrives in an environment where money does not interfere or influence our decisions. For instance, you can talk about loyalty to family or friendships. This has nothing to do with money. You can talk about loyalty to your religion or favourite brand. Again, this has nothing to do with money. Sports fans are loyal. They are the only ones in the sporting world who can afford to be loyal. Why? We don’t get paid. Our loyalty to our club is an emotional commitment not a monetary one. I love Arsenal. We do not play the best football anymore. Bayern, Barcelona and Man City all do it better than Arsenal. Yet I cannot bring myself to support these other clubs. That is loyalty and sometimes, I am pissed off because it isn’t always rewarding. But I cannot help it. We don’t choose the club we love. It chooses us.
Henrik Mkhitaryan and Pierre Emerrick Aubameyang are top players. If we get them, it beats the hell out of losing Sanchez. From all indications, we are nearly there. Well, almost. The window is still open. For that reason, I choose to keep an open mind. Peace.
Lagos – Nigeria