Arsenal Transfers: 3 Players Leaving Emirates This Summer
Summertime, and the great Arsenal deadwood clearout is finally underway.
At youth and reserve level, 10 players have already been released. It is not necessarily a strikingly high number for a notoriously selective process; but tellingly, it includes players such as Sanchez Watt and Jernade Meade, who were previously thought among favourites to make the first-team breakthrough on a more sustained basis than their handful of senior appearances.
These are precisely the types of players that in other years may have cluttered the team fringe.
More important, the cull has begun at the senior level with news this week that Arsenal have come to terms with Denilson to terminate his contract.
More are likely to follow (Gooners look with breathless expectation particularly towards Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner), but in the meantime, here is a modest tribute to the three senior players we are safe in the knowledge will never pull on an Arsenal shirt again.
The Brazilian midfielder didn't quite live down to the spectacular failure of potential achieved by his transfer-record-breaking namesake, but he gave a characteristically muted impression of it.
That, in fact, turned out to be the crux of the problem with Denilson. An undeniable but ultimately modest talent, he was harmfully anonymous in games at least as often as he was quietly effective—which he was certainly capable of.
He was also capable of the odd flash of brilliance, including some stunning goals. Those occasional glimpses of quality seemed to suggest a player well worth developing.
But unfortunately, his development just never fully materialized, and with an Arsenal future clearly out of the question, Denilson has spent the past two seasons on loan back at Sao Paulo.
Over recent years, Arsene Wenger has displayed a worrying predilection for over-the-hill French centre-backs.
First, there was William Gallas, good for a spell before a rapid downhill spiral.
Then, there was Mikael Silvestre, of frankly limited usefulness from the start.
And last (we hope), there was Sebastien Squillaci.
Having played virtually no part in Arsenal's 2012-13 season—his monthly review on the Arsenal web site amusingly strains to invent multiple ways of restating "Sebastien did not play"—the Frenchman's contract has mercifully come to an end.
Andrey Arshavin is similarly out of contract, calling time on the once thrilling Russian dynamo's turbulent and disappointing Arsenal career.
Who could have predicted that the player responsible for that scintillating and endearing Anfield display would wind up embodying the frustrating and expensive deadwood fans long to see the back of?
Of all the club's signings that have ended in abject disappointment, Arshavin is perhaps the most puzzling and poignant.
Even beyond the benefit of clearing his significant compensation off the wage bill, Arsenal will be relieved to put this depressing period of apparently dissipated talent in the past.
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