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Wenger Needs Mercenaries Too

It is risky ground basing any piece on uncorroborated press quotes but avoiding the sensationalising aspects of some articles built around quotes taken out of context then in amongst the offerings of the last few days an interesting point is raised. Lost around the distorted stories purportedly bemoaning lack of transfer funds Wenger seemingly branded some players as mercenaries. 'If I had the power to change anything in football, it would be the transfer system which makes mercenaries of players' Wenger was quoted as saying 'If they are bad ones they stay. If they are good, they think only of leaving'

In the equally distorted and roughly translated Hleb phone-in interview with the Belarussian media he was asked why he was thinking of leaving Arsenal given that sporting wise they could be considered a top club. His reply was I believe that world football has 10 top clubs, and when a couple of clubs are interested in you and offer better terms. Fair enough then a couple of clubs are offering him a better deal and being a mercenary he is looking to take advantage of it. How does he justify it? I believe that at my other place [presumably Stutgaart] would have been exactly the same. But Arsenal roads for me, I am grateful to Wenger for what he did for me. A bit quaint translated verbatim from Russian but what this seems to mean is that he left Stutgaart for much the same reason he is justifying now leaving Arsenal. Therein lies the paradox. If Hleb weren`t a mercenary then he wouldn`t be at Arsenal in the first place. Arsenal were able to offer him a better deal than he could get from Stutgaart.

It is true that changes in contract law makes it difficult to retain players, or at least those players you want to retain, but those players tend to be the mercenaries anyway. Is there any coincidence that the 3 wantaways this season Flamini, Hleb and Adebayor all came to us as mercenaries? The primary attraction may have been the glamour of a top club but the associated rewards were, undoubtedly, a motivation too. Those players who have been with us from a younger age such as Toure, Clichy and Cesc seem, for the present at least, to be more settled and willing to show greater commitment. Club lawyers will get better at drawing contracts with performance and loyalty bonuses geared to encouraging those we want to stay. But as things stand football needs its mercenaries and if anything many supporters are more irritated when we don`t seem to rush to import more of them.

Not all 'imports' are as mercenary as others. Some, and there are a number of honourable examples, will and do go on to become loyal servants to the club. But nurturing youngsters, whatever their nationality, and giving them a sense of place and purpose may be our best hope of rooting talent to the club. Arsenal has possibly the highest percentage of 'homegrown` players in the premier league. While little can be guaranteed hopefully this may prove a significant factor in time. In the meantime we may not rely on mercenaries as much as some other clubs but they are, and will remain for some time still, a necessity.



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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 8 2008

Time: 7:38PM

Your Comments

Quite true. It's amusing when people say, "Adebayor is disrespectful and not loyal. ***** him, let's buy Villa......." Yet Villa leaving Valencia after they've had one dodgy season would be the behaviour of.....Samegoes for Arshavin or whoever else the flavour of the month is.
Little Dutch
Completely agree with both Amos and LD
Passenal
A quite apt quote from Parlour here, "I'm very privileged to have played at Arsenal during my career and I enjoyed every minute of it and I do miss it," he said. "I follow Arsenal quite a lot and I go over to the training ground quite a bit still and watch the games. I like to keep involved with Arsenal because it is such a great club. I was there many years, I signed as a 12-year-old and left at 32. So 20 years of your life is a long time. I'll always have Arsenal in my heart." And to think he got such a bad press from Gooners down the years, possibly from the same people who would fawn over quotes like that.
Little Dutch
Excellent point there Amos. I've always felt that fans should not begrudge a player if he wants to move, for whatever reasons including money, coz the face of modern football has changed. However, it is not as simple as that. When Arsenal makes a better offer for a player, they show a certain level of faith in the players ability. Moving from Stuttgart to Arsenal or Monaco to Arsenal lifts a player profile a lot higher than Arsenal to Barca. So there is a higher extent of risk that Arsenal takes.
prits
Some good points. Arsenal buy players from smaller teams because they can offer more money, Wenger can't really complain if other teams offer more than him.
monkeyg
 

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