Sometimes the essence of an idea or ideal gets lost as a business grows or expands. The history and tradition can become lost as the wheels are set in motion to increase revenue and revolutionise an existing venture same as Arsenal.
Some things aren’t meant to change to this extent, they aren’t meant to mirror the opposite of the original concept. Of course any business will need to meet changes in its market place and it will need to evolve if it wants to be successful, but it’s important that even in the modern era, it still manages to retain its core values.
It’s generally recognised that there are four core values including Integrity and Ethics, Respect, Innovation (not imitation) and Drive.
Look at Arsenal as the morphing entity it is undoubtedly becoming and the shift in the way it conducts and presents itself has been gradual.
It has been entirely noticeable that the club has lost a degree of honesty and decency as it has adapted to the Premier League and moves towards the inevitable formation of a Super League.
It could be said that in its attempts to remodel and restructure, it has lost its identity and integrity in its quest to be a big commercial player and achieve greater financial success.
Arsenal were known for the way that players were embraced by the club, they became part of a wider family and the club went to great lengths to achieve harmony within.
The players that left always retained a soft spot for their adopted London home. Without realising it, they had formed a deep association with the North London club that would last a lifetime, similar to those relationships fostered by Manchester United or Liverpool.
Arsenal was a safe club, a respectful club and one that had morality but that was before the Kroenke era. Arsenal had never been the type of club to generate friction with its fan base. It had never been incompetent in its negotiations and it had always employed discretion and secrecy in it’s business.
It has never publicly fallen out with a player and although tensions have been high in the past, the club has always retained a respectful and dignified position.
The recent situation involving Laurent Koscielny, is just another example of Arsenal’s decline at the very top of the club.
When did Arsenal ever choose to wash its linen in public and issue negative press releases against a long serving player still under contract ? It never has.
The statement it released regarding the Frenchman’s refusal to attend a series of pre season friendlies in the US, was extremely ill advised and made Arsenal look as tragic as West Ham during their recent slanging match with Marko Arnautović.
Yet, we shouldn’t be surprised because the changing face of Arsenal has seen it become just another club that concerns itself with commodities and assets.
The signs have been there for all to see but perhaps, the fans didn’t want to acknowledge the facts, why would they ?
First, there was the protracted contract extension for Arsene Wenger, which managed to destabilise the entire team and prematurely end a season.
Fearing a major revolt, the owner and his board sacked the Frenchman, at least giving the percentage of the fans what they wanted, whilst deflecting blame away from the boardroom door. We should all look forward to the day Wenger decides to cash in and publish his book on that period, because it promises to be as damning as it does explosive.
Then there was the disgraceful treatment of fan favourite Santi Cazorla, who was dispatched during his recovery from injury. The club were convinced that he would never recover sufficiently to compete in the Premier League, so no further extension was offered and he was cut loose. The fans never got their chance to say goodbye and he left like a thief who had taken a bag of jewels from the master bedroom.
This was followed by the contract offer to Aaron Ramsey which was retracted before it was signed. The whole thing was a PR disaster and reflected a new level of incompetence that had never been seen anywhere in the league apart from Mike Ashley’s Newcastle. Had Ramsey’s services been secured in time, he could have been easily sold on for £40m, he wasn’t, so he went for free.
Continuing the theme and I apologise in advance, because it feels like a regular gripe of mine, but the loan deal involving Dennis Suarez was about as bad as deals can get. This lunacy resulted in £2 million in fees for a player that wasn’t even fit.
Aside from the latest idiocy, Danny Welbeck’s release was an indicator of just how badly Arsenal intend to treat their players. He turned up after the final whistle against Brighton at the Emirates, to be presented with a meaningless piece of cut glass in recognition of his services.
It was gut wrenchingly tacky and it felt like the club had lost its heart.
Moving along to Laurent Koscielny, there’s a sea of speculation surrounding the player’s refusal to travel to the US and some supporters have already labelled him a traitor without knowing the full details.
I find it deeply curious that a player known for his loyalty has suddenly hit the rebel button and is acting so out of character that he is almost unrecognisable. Why is that ?
Let’s look at how the club have behaved up until this point and give Koscielny the benefit of the doubt for a moment.
Arsenal are now a club that deals in unnecessary subterfuge. They are underhanded, lack transparency and have an owner who has total autonomy to do as he wishes.
I believe that Koscielny was promised that he could leave on the proviso that additional defensive cover could be found. I also believe that the club’s confused transfer policy, lack of funds and late arrival of a technical director have been responsible for the club reneging on that promise.
The player realised that this, was potentially, his last chance of a dream move back to France and at 33 years of age, that opportunity will disappear extremely quickly should Arsenal retain him for another season.
Feeling betrayed, Koscielny has been advised, rightly or wrongly to refuse to join the pre-season tour party. Arsenal have announced their intention to pursue disciplinary procedures instead of continuing with negotiations and it’s doubtful that Koscielny will ever play in Arsenal colours again, let alone be its captain.
For those ready to string up the defender, hold off !
Somethings not right here, something smells off, with Arsenal continuing to demonstrate a lack of integrity in the way it conducts its business. I look forward to the truth in the coming months, which I feel will vindicate the former Arsenal skipper.
By way of putting context into this situation, Arsenal allowed Alexis Sanchez to play its board like a second hand banjo, as Gazidis and Wenger tried to secure his signature. It was embarrassing how he managed to manipulate the club at a time of desperation and had he extended his contract, the financial restraints would have been ten times worse than they are now.
Ozil was handed a massive wage increase to remain at the club but since then, his performances have dipped drastically, yet Koscielny, who risked his entire career to injury can’t go nine months early, what does that tell you ?
It appears that Arsenal wants to be seen as a no nonsense club, even though they have mishandled the entire situation and deceived the player. They want to show balls but in the meantime, they allow Ozil to play as and when he chooses and slink off regularly with influenza.
They can’t even get the William Saliba deal over the line, perhaps because Arsenal have been outed as the shoddy outfit they are under Kroenke.
My allegiance is to Arsenal but there’s something deeply troubling with this situation, that makes no sense and refuses to go away.
Koscielny has made his stand and in the process has traded the goodwill and trust of the fans. Surely he can’t play in an Arsenal shirt again, let him go with immediate effect and spend some money !!