The annual media generated and twitter magnified transfer window shenanigans gets everyone riled up and on the edge of their seat for news. In years past, weeks and months would go by before any real, tangible, Arsenal transfer news would hit us. The last few years, it has improved. This year even more so. However, our summer drug of choice hasn’t changed, our addiction is merely at a manageable and controlled level. We are full-functioning transfer-holics.
While we sit twitching, staring at screens, reading the latest twitter rumors about who Arsenal will sign next, Arsene Wenger and Co. have essentially completed the two-year long Project Chainsaw. The project’s main objective: successfully dispatch the deadwood that has accumulated at Arsenal during the lean years.
The problem with a chainsaw is the lack of surgical accuracy. An exacto-knife, or scalpel would be necessary for that kind of accuracy, but with the amount of deadwood piling up at the club over the last few years, accuracy was shoved aside for efficiency. While everyone has worried sick about who will be coming in, I’d like to take a moment and take a look at the results of Project Chainsaw:
The Deadwood were the main targets of the project. These were the players making Arsenal Football Club wages but providing nothing more than instagram pictures and cannon fodder for the media (like what I did there?) In some cases, they were once contributors to the club and even fan favorites, but in the end had little left to give.
Nicklas Bendtner – There was actually a time in Bendtner’s tenure at Arsenal when he was considered an up and coming superstar. Time has a way of snapping opinions. After multiple run-ins with the law, ridiculous claims of being “The Greatest Striker to Ever Live,” multiple loan stints, and passive aggressive comments about the club through social media; it was clear that Nicky Bendtner was never going to fit at Arsenal.
Park Chu Young – If I had to guess, this was a marketing team buy. In his 3 years with Arsenal he made a handful of appearances, and only 1 start. His contribution is barely measurable aside from his wage bill.
Denilson – I always have a soft spot for Brazilian’s that don the Arsenal shirt (see my bio below). A promising start with Arsenal, labelled by Arsene Wenger as a player between Tomas Rosicky and Gilberto Silva. Denilson peaked after a solid 08/09 season partnering with Cesc Fabregas in midfield. The following season started his injury woes. The emergence of other young talent pushed him further down the squad list. Looking for playing time, and a serious need to regain form, he was loaned to Sao Paolo on what ended up being a three-year stint. The boy never returned to London.
Sebastian Squillaci – The losing side of the french gamble. For every Koscielny Wenger finds, there’s at least one Squillaci.
Johan Djourou – Recently finalizing a permanent deal with Hamburg, Djourou had brief stints of serviceability. And long spells of merely taking up space on the bench.
Andre Santos – Started his stay with Arsenal strong. I’ll always remember him “shushing” Mario Balotelli. Ballotelli could have ended Alex Song’s career with a reckless challenge earlier in the match, and Santos wasn’t going to go easy on him. He also contributed a goal in the final match of the 11/12 campaign to keep us above Tottenham. But that’s it, he had two contributions. The rest of his time was spent taking photos of his barbeques (whilst getting fatter), making Twitter gaffes, and swapping shirts with Robin van Persie.
Andrei Arshavin – The little Russian that could. Provided some of the happiest days I’ve ever had as a gooner: That night against Barcelona. The four against Liverpool. His final few years however felt as if Arsenal were doing him a favor by paying him to walk about the pitch.
Gervinho – Elusive. Elusive to the point, I don’t even think Gervinho knew what he was going to do next. A confidence man who suffered tremendously after he lost the faith of the supporters.
Marouane Chamakh – Best hair in the EPL. Did a yeoman’s job of filling in for RVP his first season. Once van Persie returned from injury he was banished to the bench. Chamakh was forever lost in the wake of RVPs lone monster season with Arsenal.
The Full of Promise
The players that could have still contributed to Arsenal in one shape or another, but nonetheless never found a way.
Emmanuel Frimpong – The defensive midfielder that could have been our answer today, if it wasn’t for his injury woes, and more importantly his immaturity.
Thomas Eisfeld – Might still be the one that got away. He needed 1st team minutes, unfortunately for him, the squad had no room.
Carlos Vela – His heart was never at Arsenal, or perhaps it was England. After moving to La Liga, he started goal scoring and assisting at will. We almost brought him back, but Wenger shrewdly made a few extra million, essentially shaking down Sociedade for a few extra million.
Vito Mannone – Another player with some potential, but dearly looking for playing time. Sold to Sunderland at the onset of the 13/14 season. Happy to say he was Sunderland’s player of the year in 2013.
These men were caught standing too close to the chainsaw, the casualties of Project Chainsaw.
Lukasz Fabianski – A goalkeeper finally coming into his own. Showcased his abilities, playing a major role for Arsenal in the FA Cup title run. A massive performance during the penalty shootout in the semifinals. Swansea is the benefactor of the chainsaw here.
Bacary Sagna – A 100% world-class right back. A professional to the last day of his contract. Unfortunately, the chainsaw is ruthless. Arsenal couldn’t meet the aging Frenchman’s wage demands, and as it goes, good-bye Bac.
I would imagine clubs such as Arsenal, that are constantly looking to develop young players have a high turnover of talent as they approach the 18 / 19-year-old threshold. I”m just going to lump them all together here. Some could have been, but most would have never made it at AFC.
Chuks Aneke, Craig Eastmond, Sanchez Watt, Conor Henderson, Jernade Meade, and Nico Yennaris to name a few of the noteables.
The transfer window is almost always associated with strengthening an existing squad, but an equally important measure, and one that for many years was not part of Arsenal’s transfer window game plan, is unloading the unwanted, unneeded, or otherwise unruly. Arsenal has turned the corner, the club and its caretakers are have set the dial to ruthless. In the end football is a business, emotionless. It is club above all else…isn’t it?
But let me ask you this, what becomes of football if on the field, they go emotionless too?