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Wenger, Henry & Vieira all leaving in the summer
07 February  2004

Sound familiar?
Didn't we go through all this in the summer? Oh and the summer before that and the one before that as well.
Hasn't Vieira been leaving ever since he played his first game at Highbury? Hasn't Wenger been looking for a way out since he won his first Double with us?
And let us not forget Henry has been signed up with Real Madrid for almost a year now.

I hate anything that sounds a bit "why do Arsenal always get picked on", but what is it about our team that we constantly have to read about everyone leaving? With the exception of Sven and Anelka, you never ever read about how a star player is off. We had a quick couple of weeks about how Owen was going to pastures new, but that was about it.
Arsenal fans have had to read about Vieira leaving for what? About 5 summers now?
Everytime Wenger get's to within the last 2 years of his current contract we read he is leaving.
And this past week or so, Edu is off to Barca for 5M. Not just reports that an offer might be made, but reports he will be off, no questions asked.

Despite becoming so bored with reading nothing else all the time, year after year, I just wonder, why is it that Arsenal staff get stories like this written about them more than any other club? What is it about us that brings these reports about?
Summer after summer we read opinionated articles about how unloyal Vieira is, yet his a fast approaching his 10th season with us.
Time and time again these player come out and say they are happy at the club. How many times do they have to say it? Wenger always comes out with the same answer "there is no rush". You can tell he is playing with the press, but the message is always the same, he has more pressing issues at the moment like winning the title rather than worrying about signing a contract he knows he is going to sign.

The only reason I can see for this contined transfer tripe are the sales of Anelka, Petit and Overmars.
If we can sell them, then it's possible we could sell anyone if the price is right.
Well if that is the case, then that proves that most Sports Writers ARE as stupid as they look.
There would be a world of difference in selling the likes of Vieira and Henry to selling the above three.
Wenger knew what he was doing when he sold them on. Petit and Overmars had done all they could do and wanted to do for Arsenal, at the time I was shocked he sold them, but after the 2000 UEFA Cup final when you could see their interest was gone, Wenger was right to sell them. And if you want proof, what have they done since? Anelka was a fantastic business move. He was a kid with a bright future, but keeping hold of him would have been more trouble than it was worth. Making 22M profit from him also went a long way to sealing the deal in the end. Again, what has he really done since, he hasn't set the world alight has he.
These players could be and have been replaced by better players. The difference now is, the players constantly named as going are now world class players. Yeap we could sell them, but how do you replace the best in the world? You can't.
Add to that the fact that these players are not stupid. They know a good thing when they see it. Sure they could go to Real Madrid, but even Real don't play the kind of football Arsenal play. Wenger has built a footballing team not seen anywhere else in the world. We can only imagine what it must be like to play in this team. At the end of the day, players play to play football, of course winning the big trophies is the aim, and going to Real Madrid would possibly more than up their chances of winning The Champions League, but week in, week out it has to be the football that counts. You can see it in the way our players play, they love it. The way the ball is stroked around the pitch is awesome. It's fast, it's intelligent, it's simple. Henry and Vieira as well as the others would be effective in any team, but not as effective as at Arsenal, because no other team would give them the chance to be, because no one else plays the style of football we play. The team has been built to allow these players to totally express who they are. To leave would be to lose some of that expression. And they know it.

But despite the denials, the stories still come. Even now we are past the transfer window, still they come. Another summer will come and go, but still the same old stories will come. Of course the obvious answer is to ignore them, don't read them, be above this kind of reporting. Arsenal fans know the truth, but it's almost impossible and after a while it does drive me mad. Especially when you don't see any other club having to put up with such a continuation of this speculation.

I have lost count on the amount of times this season alone Henry has said how happy he is here. Seems to be in every interview, yet it just seems to fuel the fire that he is leaving.
I am just waiting for the day Rooney says innocently in an interview "well yeah who wouldn't want to play for Real Madrid, but I am an Everton fan and a player and I want to stay here". Then maybe we will get a few months off.
But until then..............

"So Henry, what do you say about these stories that you will be going to Madrid"
"I have heard nothing about it, no one has said anything to me about it and I am happy here"
"So you admit you would be tempted by a move then?"
"No, I am really happy with life here in London, I love it here, I have no desire to leave"
"Ah so your not really happy at Arsenal then?"
"Yes I love the club, they have given me everything I have today, I love the club the fans and I think we are something very special"
"But not as good as Real Madrid?"
"I never said that, anyway, I don't really care, all I care about it Arsenal and I am not going anywhere"
"So you do want a move then"
"No"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes"
"But you have signed a pre-contract with Real"
"No I haven't, and that would be against the rules I am under contract"
"So although you know it's against the rules, you have still signed a pre-contract"
"No I haven't signed anything for anyone other than Arsenal"
"But you would like to?"
"Not one bit are you not listening to what I am saying?"
"So you admit it then"
"What?"
"That your going in the summer"
"NO"
"Well these stories must have come from somewhere?"
"Well not from me or Arsenal, neither of us have spoken about me leaving and neither of us wishes me to leave"
"Why don't you just come clean about it all, you owe it to the fans to tell the truth?"
"But I am"
"Yeah yeah"
"What the hell do Hello Magazine care anyway, can we just get on with this "at home with....." photo shoot".


The Ginge

PS: The Ginge is in no way suggesting TH14 would ever lower himself to a Hello photo shoot, he was just messing about.
andyw@theginge.com
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