However some Arsenal fans have tired of their club being a good example to others and wish for them to prosper whether domestically or in Europe
Image via WikipediaArsenal fans are never too pleased to be reminded that they are entering their sixth trophy-less season. A familiar retort from Gunners fans is that whilst their north London neighbours may be in bullish mood having finished fourth last season, they have qualified for the Champions League for thirteen successive seasons. That sustained success has been achieved by a commitment to attractive, flowing football and the development of young talent by one of the most respected managers in Europe. However some Arsenal fans have tired of their club being a good example to others and wish for them to prosper whether domestically or in Europe. With question marks surrounding the long-term futures of Cesc Fabregas and Arsene Wenger, now is surely the time for the club to win major honours once more.
Cesc Fabregas pledged his future to Arsenal last week albeit for the immediate future. Few fans or pundits would bet against headlines such as, ‘unsettled midfielder dreams of Barca reunion’ re-emerging next year. The most tedious transfer saga of the summer has ended temporarily. Fabregas demonstrated contrition for not reassuring the fans sooner and stated that he is, “100% focused on playing for Arsenal.” His pledge of allegiance was balanced by him saying, “I cannot deny joining a club like Barcelona was not an attractive move for me.”
Wenger’s stubbornness to open negotiations with the Catalan giants is admirable and popular with Arsenal fans. However the all-encompassing story has neatly dispersed attention away from his own future at the club. In a candid interview with the Observer last Sunday the Frenchman, who delights in revealing the range of job offers he has received, said that if he was to seek a new challenge in club football it would be next summer when his contract at the Emirates expires. However he claimed his preference would be to stay at Arsenal for the duration of his club management career. The smart money is on Wenger renewing his contract, reaffirming his passion for the English game which he has greatly influenced. Press speculation may continue in the weeks and months ahead but both men have much affection for the club. Winning a major trophy this season, however, may just reinvigorate their allegiance for the long-term.
Wenger will challenge the ambitious Fabregas to add club silverware to his international successes this season. Whilst bookmakers foolhardily offer shorter odds for Manchester City to win the league than Arsenal, the north Londoners are not without their backers. Fabregas was superb last season becoming the creative fulcrum of the team. If the Spaniard and Robin van Perise stay fit their title challenge would not meagrely fade away as it has in recent years. Laurent Koscielny signed from FC Lorient is a central defender whose credentials are unclear. Yet the same could be said of Thomas Vermaelen who assimilated to English football with relative ease. Wenger has also secured long-term target Marouane Chamakh who exhibited his finishing skills and aerial presence for Bordeaux in the Champions League last season. Wenger’s insistence on youth maturing may prove successful this year as the development of players such as Alex Song, Abou Diaby and Denilson should bring some needed resilience to their midfield.
Lingering doubts remain about the manager’s reluctance to use the transfer window to buy a new commanding goalkeeper and augment his defensive options. This summer has seen Sol Campbell, Mikael Silvestre, William Gallas and Philippe Senderos all leave the club. In a season where the spotlight will be on new contenders such as Spurs and Manchester City as well as old foes Manchester United and Chelsea, Wenger’s youthful but maturing side under the leadership of Fabrgeas may spring an unlikely surprise.