Another day another departure, yesterday Arsenal announced the sale of midfielder Henri Lansbury to Championship side Nottingham Forest. The youngster signed a 4 year contract with the club in a deal believed to be in the region of £1m. I can’t help but feel we have a knack of selling players and not receiving anywhere near the kind of money these players are worth. Henri is a promising England midfielder an undoubted star player in the u-21 national team with proven experience at successful teams at championship level. He has helped 2 of the 3 championship clubs he has played at gain promotion to the premiership and even his spell at Scunthorpe lead to a play off place only missing out on playing in the play offs due to his loan not extending beyond last game of season.
There is no shame in being unable to break into the Arsenal midfield past players like Arteta, Diaby, and Cazorla; when you are young you have to be exceptionally talented to force players of that experience to the bench. The problem with players in Henri’s case is that their value is lowered because of this, an insane philosophy as there are players with half of Henri’s talent at smaller clubs being sold for ridiculous fees. Not being ready to dislodge players in Arsenal midfield does not mean you are a bad player sometimes timing is all wrong. Football can for a lot of the time be about luck, the injury to a first team player and being at the right place at the right time to get a chance to shine and stake a claim for a place. It happens; some players sink some players swim and a player like Lansbury although he was developing well in his loan moves he never seemed to be around at arsenal to take any chances. The Carling cup games hardly ever graced his appearance as he would be on loan somewhere, the times when our whole midfield would be crocked and again Lansbury would be elsewhere. One of the most memorable moments for Lansbury was scoring against spurs in the Carling cup, we won the game 4-1 and Henri was on everyone’s lips. Problem was other clubs noticed this and pressed forward with loan offers for the youngster, he duly obliged in order to gain more experience and improve. Maybe that year was the year to stay at arsenal and wait for any opportunity that arose. He didn’t stay and I suppose out of sight out of mind in Wenger’s case.
You look at players like Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin; they are not better or worse than Lansbury but were clearly more established as first team players. Their opportunities came because they hung around and a chance came for them to take. Their specialist position is different from Lansbury being defensive midfield but despite a couple of loan moves for Coquelin initially he decided to stay at the club and wait for a chance to shine. His versatility granted him a chance in another position but he still grabbed his opportunity with both hands and put him firmly in Wenger’s plans. Once he proved he had what it took to perform in the first eleven the chances were bound to come in his preferred position. Frimpong despite the setback of a long term injury bided his time and took his opportunity when Alex Song was suspended for a few games; he impressed in his performance against Liverpool last season (despite getting himself sent off in that game) and made his claim for a place in the arsenal midfield.
I wish Henri good luck in his career at Forest and hope he graces the premiership again to show what he is really capable of. Despite his weird obsession of doing the dougie he showed his focus and drive at the many clubs he played for.
In other news it is claimed contract extension talks has broken down between Theo Walcott’s people and the club. Though according to BBC sport Theo wants to stay at the club and is willing to continue negotiations. This situation frustrates me as the closer we move towards the closing of the transfer window the more power moves to Walcott’s agent in negotiations.
It will not be ideal to have the player in his final year of his contract and the window shut. With the transfer window being this close to closing we would most likely miss out on a decent fee If we decided to cut our losses and sell. If we foolishly think we can tie Walcott to a contract once that window shuts we are very mistaken. He will have the opportunity to pick and choose his club and walk out the door on a free at the end of the season or move to a club for peanuts at the next transfer window.
As we learnt with Robin Van Persie we cannot afford to let these negotiations drag on, Walcott keeps making noises as if he wants to stay at the club but yet no contract is signed.
The Walcott situation also frustrates me due to the money and patience invested in the winger over the years, he is a player who on his day can terrify and destroy defences for fun but in between those good games are many where he has looked like a little boy lost in a game of men. Arsenal fans have backed him and believed in him; fending off all the accusations from outside the club (and inside when you consider Stewart Robson) of having no football brain. We have persevered with him whilst he has frustrated many a time and I feel he owes it to the club and the fans to commit.
I believe there is still more to come from him and despite seeming to be around for an eternity already he is still learning and improving. I still see the potential to reach the levels of Thierry Henry as he develops his game and physical strength I just won’t be able to stomach him moving on and another club reaping the benefits of our hard work.
I just hope Theo can look deep inside and realise what the club has done for him and return the favour by offering his services for years to come.
Enjoy your day people
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