After hearing Michel Arteta express his gratitude at being at a club like Arsenal and playing his football in a stadium like the Emirates, it began to dawn on me how Arsenal FC has somehow gotten used to being regarded by some of its self important, surly employees as an institution not worthy of their patronage.
Arteta is a superb footballer who actually regards Arsenal as the end in itself, rather than a means to an end. It made me realise how refreshing it is not to have a group of men, whose job is simply to do no more than kick a ball around, behaving as if they are spoilt children in a toy shop threatening to throw a tantrum if they are not pandered to.
The conventional wisdom is that Fabregas "done the right thing by Arsenal" by not saying to the media that he wanted to leave. However, we need to remember that this 24-year-old, whose football career was developed entirely by Arsenal, had a contract to play for the club for years to come.
He may not have actually said that he wanted to leave, however his body language was out there for all to see. He allowed all that speculation about him leaving to go totally unchecked, which is pretty well tantamount to allowing the media to do the talking for him. His friends at FC Barcelona were twittering to their hearts content about poor old Cesc being held captive, yet the Arsenal captain never seemed to raise a finger to stop it or utter a word of reassurance to the Arsenal fans.
Well good riddance. He was a poor captain, petulant and injury prone. He will do well at Barcelona because he suits Spanish football, but I doubt he had the legs or the heart to last the physical ravages of the EPL. Arsenal are far better without him and his moody pout.
As for Nasri, who I rated above Fabregas, the same point can be made. In fact, Nasri had only one good half season for Arsenal. In the previous seasons to last he was patchy and drifted out of matches entirely. The second half of last season saw Nasri revert to type, possibly in response to the banning of "Snoods."
No doubt his triple pay-cheque at Man City and the honeymoon period will propel him to a few twists, turns and assists. However, like Adebayor before him, once it starts to rain and his performances drop, the bubble will burst and he will find himself wet, cold and looking for the move to Barcelona or Real Madrid.
The technical advantages of having these sorts of players is far outweighed by their negative attitudes. They see themselves only in terms of floodlit glory, yet are not prepared to control their sense of self importance for the good of the team. Give me a committed player with 7/10 technical skills over a want away, "I am too good to be here" type with 8/10 any day.
Of course it will be said against this that Arteta did the same to Everton as Fabregas/Nasri did to Arsenal. Possibly so, however he is 29 and wants a last chance to play in the Champions League—as opposed to relative children Nasri and Fabregas, who have years ahead of them at that level. If the answer is to buy ambitious and grateful 29-year-olds over spoilt 23-year-olds, then so be it. I shan't be complaining.
So the king doesn't have any clothes on. Good bye and good riddance to the departed. Welcome to a brave new and committed world.