Arsenal Football Club has had quite a summer. With the departure of Robin van Persie and the imminent departure of Alex Song, many Gooners have written the North London club off for the 2012-2013 season.
Van Persie, 29, was sold to rivals Manchester United—making this the second summer in a row in which Arsenal has lost its captain.
Song, 24, is on the brink of a move to FC Barcelona. It only seems fitting that Song and van Persie would leave in the same summer. However, with the Dutchman gone, Song’s brilliant lobbed through balls would be wasted anyhow.
It is easy to see why Arsenal fans are angry at the front office. Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis appear to be content settling for nothing other than Champions League qualification.
The fact that Arsenal is entering its eighth consecutive season without a trophy is the obvious reason as to why Arsenal seems to be unable to hold on to its best players. But in this case, is that such a bad thing?
Ignoring the fact that Arsenal no longer considers itself a rival club of Manchester United—as demonstrated by the van Persie deal; these departures may not prove as costly as most would think.
Van Persie’s departure leaves Arsenal with no clear-cut successor to lead the attacking line. Theo Walcott, Gervinho, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marouane Chamakh and Olivier Giroud will all be competing for their playing time. This means that five talented players and Marouane Chamakh will all be working hard to earn their starting roles.
In the departure of Alex Song, Arsenal loses a defensive midfielder that does not know how to play defense. This clears the way for Francis Coquelin to burst into the side. Coquelin, most famous for his brilliant display in the first North London derby of last season, is a defensive midfielder who plays like a true defensive midfielder.
While on the subject of defense, it’s worth mentioning that without Robin van Persie to bail the club out of poor defensive mistakes, the Arsenal back four is going to have to bear a lot more responsibility than it has in previous years.
Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Bacary Sagna are all class defenders that can handle even the best of teams. The key to the Arsenal defense will be Wojciech Szczesny and whoever is starting at left back.
There will be no more room for error at the back. It’s also worth noting that Steve Bould, a man renowned for his work at the back, is now an assistant coach. His guidance will help Arsenal solidify a defense that has been in need of guidance out for some time now.
Yes, the summer departures that Arsenal has had to endure have been rough and painful. Yes, it would be easy to expect Arsenal to struggle in the upcoming Premier League campaign.
But with those departures comes the hidden gift of Arsenal needing to improve on some areas that have needed improving. The defense will get stronger with the appointment of Steve Bould. The attacking line will become more harmonious with the departure of Robin van Persie.
When thinking about Arsenal and what the club really lost this summer, it really becomes clear that things are not actually that bad in the North London club. So don’t be surprised when Arsenal ends its trophy drought this season.