Tomas Rosicky remains an important part of the equation for Arsenal even though the veteran midfielder has played an ever-changing role during the current campaign. Getting him locked into a new deal is one of Arsene Wenger's key tasks in the coming weeks.
Amid talk Rosicky could be on the move with his contract set to expire after the season, Kevin Palmer of ESPN passed along comments from the longtime Arsenal manager, who sounds confident an agreement will eventually get reached:
"Tomas Rosicky will stay here at the end of the season," Wenger said. "He is a marvellous player and contributes well to the team. He is a typical Arsenal player in that he is mobile, technically sound, team-oriented. He is a fantastic football player."
The report also mentions talk of a potential move to Major League Soccer in the United States. Clubs in the growing league are offering up bigger contracts recently in an effort to attract more veteran players like Rosicky.
It's an option the 33-year-old Czech Republic international hasn't ruled out. Last month, Vasek Kadlec of Sky Sports provided remarks Rosicky made to isport.blesk.cz in which he said he wanted to stay with Arsenal, but the MLS was also in play if things didn't work out with the Gunners:
"If it was possible, I would love to end my career at Arsenal, which is something I have said many times before.
"If I should leave, however, then I would be tempted to play in the USA. Football has been on the rise there and I'm interested in trying a different style of life."
The value of a player like Rosicky is often overlooked, especially for a club with plenty of talent in the midfield, highlighted by Mesut Ozil. The German's arrival allowed Arsenal to transition from possible title contender to serious championship threat.
Rosicky is not playing at that elite level in his eighth season with the club, but that doesn't mean he's not important. Veteran players who are both willing and able to fill a vast number of roles in order to help the team win are crucial to success.
Make no mistake, "Little Mozart" still possesses enough talent to make a huge impact if he ended up heading to the MLS. His skill combined with the lower level of competition would give him an opportunity to shine.
Yet, with Arsenal, his situation is obviously different. He's appeared in 12 league matches, seven as a starter and five as a substitute, as Wenger shuffles his stacked deck of midfielders. When he has played he's been asked to fill just about every midfield role.
Those so-called glue players are essential to success. If the Gunners are going to make a serious push toward adding more pieces to the trophy case this season and in the near future, keeping a reliable player who plays the Arsenal style as well as Rosicky is important.
If Wenger needs him to start, he can do it. If he's asked to come off the bench to provide stability and creativity in the second half, it's not a problem. He's even capable of sliding back into a defensive role if needed to help the club win.
In other words, Rosicky is the type of player whose contributions and overall value probably aren't fully recognized on the stat sheet. Yet, Wenger's comments make it clear he understands the veteran's importance to the club for the near future.
Now the two sides just need to find a way to get a contract done to eliminate the transfer talk and shift the focus back to the title chase.