Friday saw Bacary Sagna become the latest in a long line of big names that have left Arsenal for a so called ‘rival’ club, but why is it so many of them are happy to jump ship and aggravate the fan-base?
The Frenchman joined Manchester City on a rumoured £150,000-a-week deal to end his seven-year stay at the Emirates, to the dismay of Arsenal supporters. Sagna is not even guaranteed first-team football at the Etihad with Pablo Zabaleta having held down the right-back spot for a number of years, yet he is happy to make the move.
Robin Van Persie to Manchester United, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City and now Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea all serve as examples of high-profile Gunners who have left the club.
It cannot be disputed that each of these have made the move to increase their chances of silverware, along with an increased pay-packet. Van Persie, Fabregas and Nasri have all enjoyed success with their new clubs, but have severely upset their former admirers in doing so.
Arsenal’s well documented nine-year trophy drought appeared to drive the top talent away, but had they all remained loyal the rough spell could have ended much sooner.
Picture this, a Fabregas, Ramsey, Ozil and Nasri midfield, playing in behind a Van Persie, Giroud strike partnership. It is a front six that delivered 87 goals collectively last season, and considering Van Persie, Ozil and maybe even Fabregas had interrupted seasons, it is still a lethal total.
Arsenal’s refusal to burst the bank on wages along with their cautious transfer approach have potentially lost them a midfield that could have been even better than the current. The above names, with Wilshere, Cazorla, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamerlain not even mentioned, could have not only won them silverware but set them up for another dominant era in English football.
But why are they all happy to leave for the likes of United and City, and even bypass their way to Chelsea? All the names that have exited have at some point struck a special bond with the Arsenal faithful, but overlooked their loyalty in favour of a big move.
The answer may be that they simply don’t value legacy with regard to their careers, that big-bucks and trophies rule the mind. The modern day footballer no longer sympathises with the voice of thousands in their quest for glory. It comes as a shame to the traditional football fan, but it seems loyalty to a club is now almost dead.