Arsenal Transfer News: Gael Clichy's Departure the End of an Era at Arsenal

Tom Kinslow@@TomKinslowFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Gael Clichy of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on October 3, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

In 2003-04, legends were crafted at Highbury.

Few teams can say they accomplished what that Arsenal squad did, and it just so happened to be Gael Clichy's first season with the club.

That year, Arsenal went an astounding 26-0-12 in league play, earning the moniker "The Invincibles."

Clichy wasn't a starter, biding his time behind Ashley Cole, but he earned a league medal for his efforts that season, something that hasn't been duplicated since.

Now, Clichy is gone, and as the last member of that league-winning squad, so is the last trace of The Invincibles.

The left-back will head to Manchester City, where he will fit in nicely with the defense-first club, but for the Gunners, the departure is a sad one, but one that has been treated with respect on both sides of the aisle.


Arsène Wenger said: “We would like to thank Gael for eight years of terrific service to Arsenal, during which time he gave absolutely everything for the Club. He has grown and developed so much since joining us in 2003, and has been a crucial part of the team over recent seasons.

Gael leaves with our respect and best wishes. We wish him the very best for his future career.” 
Gael said: “I have had eight fantastic years at Arsenal and made many friends. I have so many great memories from my time at Highbury and Emirates Stadium. I would like to say thank you to everyone at Arsenal for all of their support and friendship.

I also want to send a big thank you to all the Arsenal supporters, who have always been so good to me.”

Not every player gets to leave on such good circumstances, as Arsenal supporters know all too well. Clichy always worked hard and gave his all on the pitch, even if it wasn't with the best of results.

The left-back was an experienced defender, and that is something that is desperately needed for the Gunners, especially considering last season's collapses in front of the keeper.

Clichy will be missed, but Wenger can improve his position through the transfer market, and now it's time to start bolstering the defense to turn Arsenal into a club that can make another serious run at the league crown.

The drama surrounding players like Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri has distracted Wenger and the fanbase from improving next year's club, and with a sizable transfer budget and the income from Clichy, the Gunners will be able to spend money to make impactful signings.

Losing Clichy is a blow, but one that can be softened with wise spending during the remainder of this summer's transfer window.

What hurts more is that the Gunners lost was a piece of their history, and Clichy is getting the respect and praise that he deserves from the loyal supporters that experienced that magical campaign.


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