Dan’s Top Ten Arsenal players that we should have kept by Dan Smith
Two of the most talked about issues regarding Arsenal this season has been the future of Ramsey and Ozil. Some sources suggest that Rambo was happy to sign a new contract, but it was Emery who told the club that the 250,000 shaken on, was a lot for a player who didn’t fit into his system.
It seems increasingly clear that our managers first choice this summer would be to also get Ozil off the wage bill. In the long term, our coach is gambling with his future by discarding two players popular with some Gooners.
Below, my I am listing my latest top 10 list that includes names we chose to let go and perhaps regretted. Names at the time who would have liked to stay, who we could have done more to keep, etc.
Any names I’m missing please put in comments. Please be nice to each other!
He knew when he joined he had to be patient for our famous back 4 to retire, but he seemed to lose faith that his day would come while his injury record hurt his chances. It seemed odd that we sold him once the likes of Adams and Keown retired. Upson’s best years came with Birmingham and West Ham which led to him playing for England at the 2010 World Cup. Would he have been any worse than a Senderos or Djourou? I think he would have been a better leader.
That Arsene Wenger would re-sign him years after letting him leave for free, shows you the Frenchman was in fact the closest thing we had to any kind of physicality in years. Very much a squad player wherever he’s been, what he lacked in ability he made up for in work rate. So many games we wouldn’t have been bullied in if we had his type of personality around. Yet in a sign of things to come, our board were indecisive in terms of offering him a new deal, at which point he was speaking to AC Milan.
Just to show you that Arsenal’s dithering in offering extensions isn’t a new thing. Edu was visibly emotional playing his last game at Highbury, especially when his teammates allowed him to take a penalty to mark the occasion with a rare goal. He wanted to stay but the club had left it so long to start any negotiations it had left him feeling undervalued. Essentially, he had been such a fringe player, our board were indecisive about what salary to offer him so waited too late in the day.
Don’t get me wrong Lukasz was given enough chances. It seemed the more pressurised the situation, the more likely be was to make a mistake. That suggests a weak mentality which would explain why he’s been better at Swansea and now West Ham, where you’re not demanded to win every week. Or is it a case the move to North London came too soon for him? If it was the other way around, he joined a mid-table side in England first, would we now view him a potential target?
If Juventus rated the keeper so much, they were able to convince him to wait for Buffon’s exit, surely we could have done the same with Petr Cech? Remember the Pole grew up a gooner, yet we ended up selling him to Turin for just 10 million. The final straw for Arsene Wenger was his goalie caught smoking in Southampton’s showers, having just conceded 4 goals. Perhaps there’s more leadership at Turin where they demand certain standards? Either way, the loan to Serie A was meant to be for his development and that more thought should have been given to the long term rather then quickly taking the cash. In my opinion he’s better then Leno!
Anyone who’s read his autobiography will agree mentally Sol needed to get away from the limelight of London and he seemed to favour the pressure of Portsmouth, where there is less demand to win every week. If Harry Redknapp had the man manager ability to get the defender to lead his Pompey side to an FA Cup, surely an arm round the shoulder from Mr Wenger was worth a try? He would have been a better role model to youthful peers compared to Gallas? The fact Campbell would be re-signed years later by the Gunners was an admission they let him go too soon?
One of the first ‘Invincibles’ to be forced out due to paying off the Emirates. The midfielder was so unhappy how his departure was handled it affected his close relationship with Arsene Wenger. On the week of the Champions League Final, Pires was hurt to learn the biggest game of his club career would be his last as a Gooner as the club put up little fight when Villarreal offered him a contract. He probably wouldn’t have been a guaranteed starter anymore, but our youthful squad would have benefited from having his experience around the place.
Given how many chances he would give to other youngsters, it’s incredible Arsene Wenger would drop the ball with the young German. The turning point was after his breakthrough season he suffered a knee injury which clearly both parties had contrasting views on. A loan to West Brom was supposed to be part of his development but Tony Pulis was the wrong man to ask to give a flair player an education. The theory seemed to be if he couldn’t get a start at the Hawthorns, how would he get one at the Emirates, with the teenager not getting the assurances that the likes of Ramsey and Wilshire got when they suffered spells on the side-lines. He would easily walk into our midfield right now. Him or Iwobi?
The irony being, Vieira leaving was an annual saga. The year we actually sold him was the one time the likes of Real Madrid were not interested. Our board viewed this as the last chance to get any value on our captain and, as we would learn, bringing in money was important due to the stadium debt. Paying off the Emirates was the reason the ‘Invincibles’ were splitting up in favour of a younger/cheaper squad. The emergence of Fabregas suggested this was good business, but we would miss out on silverware due to a lack of leadership and physicality. Have we ever replaced Viera?
He left Chelsea due to a lack of playing time, something he trusted Arsenal to give him due to their reputation of giving youth a chance. Given how many chances Mr Wenger would give players worse then his countryman, it seems crazy he let him go to Portsmouth without putting up a fight. How silly the Gunners and the Blues looked when Real Madrid were giving Pompey over 20 million for him. There we were looking for the new Vieira….
We had him, we just thought Denilson was better!