One major talking point from Arsenal’s financial reports released last week was the significant increase in the wage bill. Last season, we did not lose any star player for the first time in many years and we made additions in Mesut Ozil, Yaya Sanogo and Mathiue Flamini, thereby leading to more inputs on the expenditure column of the accounts books. A good number of the fringe players were also cleared out, Bendtner, Fabianski and Vermaelen, while Sagna could not agree a new deal with the club and so moved on too.
While we always clamour for the team to be improved every season, it is absolutely important that there always be a balance between a quality squad and an unnecessarily expensive one. The manager would have to make a true, critical and unbiased assessment of every player in the squad, to ensure that their remuneration is commensurate with their contribution to the team, both in past seasons and the possibility of improving in future.
Below is a round-up of four players who should be first on this assessment list:
- Lukas Podolski
Impressive in his first season, Podolski has unfortunately faded away. He’s one of the very big earners in the team, his wages being the region of £90,000. This may be the major obstacle to him not having left the club this summer as was the case with Bendtner last year. Poldi has failed to replicate his internet prowess on the field of play, and as we thank him for almost making Khedira join us by that interview-bomb, we could do with having a player who would be fully focused on the football. If we look at signing the likes of Reus in January, Podolski will surely know he has used up his time and will have to make way.
- Mikel Arteta
The team captain has being the loyal servant to the club having come in as part of the rescue squad in 2011. He has been relied on by Wenger to operate in the defensive midfield, acting as the man who balances play. Arteta, though, has never been a defensive midfielder and though he had done pretty well over the past few years, it is only reasonable that we get the proper man for the job. The Spaniard should get something of an ovation from Gooners for 4 seasons of total commitment to his duty – that’s in expectation that this will be his 4th and final season.
- Mattieu Flamini
The return of Flamini was greeted with mixed feelings amongst fans. He was part of that team in 2008 that would surely have won the League save for the events of Eduardo’s leg fracture against Birmingham City. On the other hand, he comes after a far from convincing spell in Italy which was littered with frequent injuries. As much as he’s renowned for hard tackling, he has not been that solution which we have yet to find since the exit of Gilberto Silva. At £65,000 a week, he’s definitely not one of the mega earners, but except for a squad role, it could be better to let him go.
- Tomas Rosicky
Never really got to pour out all he had in his locker for Arsenal, not for want of desire but for the frequent injuries which has characterized his eight years with us. He was handed an extension sometime last season for what Wenger described as an important role which he plays in the team. You always need the right persons who will show example on the pitch as well as keep the vibes good in the locker room. However, the games are won and lost on the field of play, and as it doesn’t seem he will get so much of a run in regular games (unless of course in the second half of the season), there should be a consideration to thank him for all his years of loyalty and wish him well for the future.
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