After recent comments by Martinelli quoted to ESPN in Brazil “We always want more of course. Arsenal is a giant team. If I can I’ll stay here my whole life. I want to conquer things. I already said I want to stay here and win titles with this wonderful crowd, teammates”. This makes me happy and excited that a player of Martinelli’s quality has kind of pledged his future to our club. It has got me thinking. Does this mean we will finally have a player or players after quite a while of waiting who will eventually have legend status with the club?
Not many players in recent years at our club have had this accolade. It is not as easy to come by in this day and age compared to the days of the Adam’s, Keown and the Henry’s. I think the list could go on and on who I could class as a legend back when those players played.
Now I struggle to find someone who has left us or retired in the last ten years to put in this Illustrious group. I can think of a couple who could come close Fabregas, Arteta but my main one is Cazorla. Unfortunately, Santi having serious injuries in his career, at one point nearly losing his leg. This unfortunately shortened his career with us, but he still managed six years with 129 appearances and a fan favourite winning Arsenal player of the season. Two FA cups and two community shields. He would always be welcome back at our club with the respect he deserves. But still can these be classed as proper legends?
What do I class as a legend? Not just mastering their position, scoring lots of goals or keeping the most clean sheets. But having a connection with the supporters and most importantly having loyalty and being an ambassador for their club and having pride wearing the shirt and badge of The Gunners.
This is probably why so many had legendary status in the 90’s because of their longevity with our team. Tony Adams was obviously a quality defender and had a great partnership with Keown, going on to win many trophies. His loyalty to our club spending 19 years with us and only us, was tantamount to him being classed as a legend by fans and the club, even getting a statue.
Henry 377 appearances. The Ice Man and my favourite ever player Dennis Bergkamp with 423 appearances, Patrick Viera 406. If you look at stats for players playing around the 90’s-2000’s they had long stays with our club. With most either seeing out their playing days or unfortunately going down the pecking order under their manager and seeing out their careers with other clubs.
In my opinion, money and playing in Europe are the biggest factors for a player’s decision now, whether they commit to a club long term. You can have a player playing for his boyhood club, but if this club is not competing and big money comes in, it’s soon realised loyalty wasn’t so important.
We have a great group of players who all are aiming for big things. It would be easier to tell what some would do if we had a crystal ball to tell us where our and their future lies. If we knew what position we will be in come the end of the season.
Already talk that Saka should go if we do not get a Champions League spot, which I find as nonsense. I can’t see him leaving us even if we do not make it this season. He knows we have a great squad, who with a few additions will make it even greater. He has close relationships within the team, so it will not happen. I think his heart will rule and he will stay with the club he loves and he will be one of the next legends.
Alongside Smith Rowe, Martinelli and Ramsdale who I also cannot see leaving for a very long time. These are all players who have the capabilities to progress, be the influence to winning us trophies, having the talent in their positions and being fan favourites.
Have we finally got a group of players who will put their passion for playing for our club, wearing our badge, the love of the supporters, before a big money transfer? and get the accolade of being a legend? I sure hope so!
Until next time.