Last year saw RvP and Alex Song leaving Arsenal to join footballing giants Manchester United and Barcelona respectively. The previous year saw Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy finding other pastures greener and more lucrative. An Arsenal fan is used to at least one transfer saga involving a star player every single year.
This has been the story of modern-day Arsenal post-Highbury; their top players have been lured away by others either with big money or with a better chance of providing them with silverware. Either way, the loss has been Arsenal’s to bear. It’s no coincidence that people have started referring to the club as a stepping stone for players to move onto bigger clubs. So how is this transfer window unlike the ones Arsenal fans have witnessed in the recent past?
Flashback to the end of the 2010-11 season. Fabregas’s departure came at a time when Arsenal were on the verge of building a title-winning team. A team capable of beating the best in the business, namely Barcelona. A team finally possessing the constantly mentioned mental strength, along with tremendous quality both individually and as a team. They were just inches away from ending their trophy drought, but failed because of a unfortunate last-minute misunderstanding between Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny in the Carling Cup final.
And such was the impact of the loss, they exited two other tournaments (Champions League and the FA Cup) within a span of two weeks, falling much behind United in the race for the title. Fabregas left, only for RvP to step up and finally showcase his true leadership and footballing qualities. He finished with 30 goals, some noticeable ones being against Everton and Liverpool.
But soon, he was too big for the team and felt he had a better chance of winning silverware away from Arsenal. And thus United happened. But this year’s case is different. And that is where it looks like Arsene has learned from the past.
No big player is bound to leave the club this term. Not Jack Wilshere, not Cazorla, and not Walcott. All contracts that were supposed to be renewed have been renewed. Which means that the team can only get better next season. Which also means that the fans and the manager can completely focus on the signings to be made to improve the squad, and not on the imminent departure of a star player. The van Persie and Fabregas sagas were too stretched for the fans’ liking. Neither did it help Wenger, who constantly had to keep persuading them to stay – an effort that yielded no fruits.
But since Arsenal is not selling anyone during this transfer window, they might just be able to start the season on a high, unlike the past few seasons which were surrounded by anxiety and a feeling of uncertainty. And maybe with some valuable additions, Arsene, who has deserved so much more than he’s gotten, might finally manage to end the trophy drought of his beloved club and bring back the glory years back. The future surely looks promising for the Gunners.