Premier League: Arsenal Have Built a Culture of Exodus
Necessary as it is, with FIFA fair play looming, for a club to live within its means, there remains a hefty price for playing by the rules.
In the space of a few days, Arsenal have lost their lead actor and best supporting actor of last year. While Robin van Persie exited via a deal that made some sense given his age and what remained of his contract, midfielder Alex Song has jettisoned at a time when it is less favourable.
This latest episode of Emirates' departures adds credibility, following last year's major sales, to the argument that Arsenal's best talents are unprepared to remain at the risk of less silverware.
Even with the signatures of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and the gifted Santi Cazorla, annual departures on the eve of Premier League seasons are bound to leave a bad taste.
With so many choosing to play elsewhere, and with their work at the club seemingly unfinished, it would be unfair to blame it wholly on the greed and disloyalty of those individuals.
Yes, there is sound reasoning behind balancing the books, but it is the sound of trophy parades in West London and Manchester that will be heard most by the Gunners' faithful.
Many of the big names to leave have at some point or another spelled out their love of the club and desire to wear the shirt. Yet, by the end of lengthy speculation, drawn out by efforts to make them stay or garner the best return, none have remained.
Rightly, no club should be held to ransom—the cases of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez come to mind—but clubs that are sometimes at the mercy of their player's demands, are also the ones who hold trophies.
We live in a time of boom or bust, when teams are remembered for their epic triumphs, whether it be their first or nineteenth, and remembered for when they lose finals or are dethroned. But it is also a time when we become disenchanted with repeated third- and fourth-place finishes.
Now, when entering August, it seems normal for us to read papers speculating about Arsenal futures. What is worrying for the once "invincibles" is that it has come to be expected.
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