(Sometime in 2014, Arsenal pub, man singing to My Fair Lady)
“Wojciech Szczesny built my house! Built my house. Built my house. Wojciech Szczesny built my house. He is Polish.”
“Hey, isn’t that racist or at the very least play into racist stereotypes about the Polish people? Stereotypes which stoke the anger of the British working class?”
“Shut up you wanker!
(singing again) “Fabianski tore it down, tore it down, tore it down. Fabianski tore it down. He is Polish!”
(Sometime in 2016, Arsenal pub)
Wojciech Szczesny made his Brexit in summer 2015. He had just secured his second straight FA Cup title but had come off a poor season in which he had been dropped by the manager following a row after a match in which he dropped two clangers. Arsenal sent him on loan to Roma and at the time, Wenger left the door open for his return: “He will have a future (at Arsenal) because I rate him highly. He already has huge experience.” Szczesny, it turned out, didn’t have a future at Arsenal.
He stayed on at Roma, through two successful loan periods, and is now going to be sold to Juventus where he is apprenticing to take over from the greatest living goalkeeper in Italy, Gianluigi Buffon. Juventus have won the last six Serie A titles; they went 49 games unbeaten in 2011-12; they have been to two Champions League finals in the last three years. In short, Szczesny is moving up to a club with an impeccable pedigree to take over for a legend.
We don’t know what happened between Szczesny and Wenger that night after the match against Southampton. There are reports that he was smoking in the showers and that he had a fight with Wenger. What was said? And probably more importantly, what was done? We don’t know. All we know is that the fight was fiery enough that he dropped this talented player and then got rid of him.
By all accounts, and judging by the interviews he’s given these last few weeks, Szczesny has grown up and settled down. He’s a married man and a career professional. He has worked his way up, both on and off the field, to and finally joined one of the elite clubs in Europe. There, he will have a chance to win many league titles and perhaps even a Champions League trophy. Congratulations and best of luck.
What does this say about Wenger? It says that they had a falling out and Wenger chose to get rid of him. It must have been one hell of a falling out, though, to get rid of such a talented player.
Meanwhile, in this other corner, Alexis has made a decision but knows that the final say is up to Arsenal. Sounds to me like he wants to go but that the only clubs interested are the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal have said all along that they don’t want to sell to those clubs. It would be “selling Cesc and Nasri in the same season” silly for Arsenal to go back on their promise now.
Instead, I say we (Arsenal) start a bidding war between the two clubs. Then we drag the whole process out for the next month, until the transfer window closes, and then refuse to sell. That way, they can’t get a striker, we keep our striker, and the Arsenal fans get the “show of power” that they want from the club. Sure, the club loses out on £50m or something like that but what’s £50m really worth in an economy where Kyle Walker costs £50m?
And finally, Ramsey. Ramsey’s contract expires in 2019. He scored a great goal in Australia the other night. And given that Arsenal are not really in the market for another midfielder*, will probably be Arsene Wenger’s number one choice in central midfield alongside Granit Xhaka. Meaning that he will probably have a career season (which won’t settle fan divisions over him as a player) and we will be back in this situation, griping about contracts, in January. YAY!
*This talk of “Arsenal’s interest in Lemar cooling” today is pretty funny. I’ve said it for weeks now: we made an inquiry, were rebuffed forcefully, and haven’t gone back in because Lemar was going to (and still will be) a replacement for Alexis. Now that Alexis has said that “the decision is in Arsenal’s hands” and Arsenal would look silly selling him to Man City, I expect that Lemar is no longer an option. Unless… Alexis goes full strop.