Will Arsenal's Senderos Stay at AC Milan?
Senderos hasn't exactly been a fan favorite amongst Gooners, so his transfer fate won't be the number one question in their minds. However, it's fair to say that the nature of his past mistakes in an Arsenal shirt has led to an unfair appraisal of his abilities amongst fans.
He has put in many commanding performances, from a very young age, despite his permanent worried expression. His participation in the 2005/06 Champions league run to the final, saw him play a vital role in their 10-match CL shut out record, illustrating his true potential.
This past season he has been on year long loan at AC Milan, who have the option to buy him. No doubt the Rossoneri were influenced in their decision to sign him, on loan, by his solid performance against them in the two legs of the previous years Champions League, which saw them humbled by an incredibly youthful Arsenal team.
Senderos has clearly enjoyed his time in Milan, where he was reunited with his former Arsenal playmate Flamini. This is understandable simply by virtue of the quality of the players he was training with.
As a center back, the opportunity to learn from Maldini, Nesta and Zambrotta would be a dream come true. Not to mention the opportunity to play with the likes of Kaka, Inzaghi, Pirlo, Ronaldinho, and Beckham.
Sendoros has publicly stated his desire to remain at Milan, saying, "I feel very good here and I would like to stay.
"I have worked extensively with the coach and I have always had the support of my peers and the club and this helped me a lot for the second part of the season where I played a little more."
Along with the rest of the AC Milan team, Ancilotti's leadership and coaching was clearly appreciated by Senderos. As we all know though, the manager has now taken charge at Chelsea.
The departure of Ancelotti, and installation of the inexperienced Leonardo, has created uncertainty at Milan. There is also the matter of the ageing nature of the Milan squad, where over 50 percent of the first team is over 31 years old. All but four of the remaining members of the squad are very young and inexperienced.
There is also now a good chance that Kaka will be moving to Real Madrid, with owner Berlusconi revealing, "I don't know if we'll be able to keep Kaka at Milan because they (Madrid) offer him so much money."
There are further rumours of players following their former coach, Ancelotti, to Chelsea. With the resources at his disposal, and the players fondness of him, this certainly seems a possibility.
These factors may make Senderos start to question the merits of staying in Milan. If Wenger makes it clear that he will be central to his plans at Arsenal, he may think a return to the Emirates might be the right decision.
The ultimate decision on Senderos' stay in Milan, however, is with the Rossoneri. The purchase clause in the loan deal means that Arsenal would be unable to stop them keeping him.
The question is whether a player that only had twelve starts and seven substitute appearances for Milan, is seen as part of their plans. Milan will probably need to start moving towards rebuilding their team, and Berlusconi clearly seems to believe in imitating the Real Madrid "Galactico" model.
There is a good chance that Senderos will not be seen as part of the plan to build a team of "stars", and they might prefer to invest the money in a bigger name purchase.
If Senderos wasn't to stay in Milan, there may well be interest from Hertha Berlin. Their manager Lucien Favre had previously coached Senderos at Servette, and Favre clearly rates Sendoros, recently saying, "The fact is that Philippe was, and still is, a very good player."
Hertha may need to strengthen at the back because Josip Simunic, the center back who was voted the clubs player of the year, might be leaving in the summer. The buy-out clause in his contract meaning they would be unable to stop him leaving, and clubs including Fulham are reportedly interested in gaining his services.
Hertha have already added to their defence though, by signing Christoph Janker on a free transfer. This does not however rule out the possibility of an offer for Senderos.
The Senderos loan deal was instigated by Wenger's signing of Silvestre from Manchester United. Silvestre was seen as an opportunity to bring more experience to the back line and replaced Senderos in the auxiliary support role.
Silvestres' season has however been a massive disappointment and his performances have been lackluster at best, contributing to a poor defencive record. Strengthening this defencive area is now Wenger's stated priority.
While Wenger may be tempted to cash in on Senderos, there are those at the club that believe stability will be more important than new signings.
Toure has recently voiced his opinion on the Arsenal website, saying, "I think keeping the team together is the most important thing.
“When you stay with your team mate for three or four years you start to learn how he plays. That helps you for the games and I think...it’s important for our improvement next season.
If Wenger agrees with this assessment, which going by his track record he likely does, then he may wish for Senderos to return.
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