The recent signings made by Wenger over the last number of years make for some interesting theories. Certainly over the last few years, a majority of signings by the boss, show a shift in the age, experience of the newbie’s, whilst still buying the odd youngster. However the birthplace of these players, I believe does bare some significance.
Of Arsenals last number of signings, a vast majority have been European players, with very few being from Africa in particular. There are exceptions of course, with the likes of Park, Santos and Gervinho in recent times. However when you compare our current squad to that of years gone by, the lack of non EU players in our current squad does hint at a change in mindset with signing players. Maybe because Europeans are seen to adapt more easily then Non Europeans, however I think it is to do with the International tournaments and those during the season, most notably the African Cup Of Nations.
Arsenal have always been littered with a host of top African talent. Be it Kanu or Kolo Toure, or more recently Song and the enigma that was Eboue, only Gervinho is a full International from the continent! Our squad is now a mix between English and French players, as always, but now it appears Wenger is looking more and more into the Spanish and German markets. Of course you could say also this is due to the type of players these countries produce.
English players are seen as dedicated, loyal and like Gary Neville said our Finglishman Carl Jenkinson “He’s the kind of player who would run through a brick wall for you!” Then we have the French, noted for their flair, and ingenuity. The Boss is French, and has signed some wonderful players from Ligue 1, and will continue to do so. Then our German duo. Podolski and Mertesacker. Similar to English players, in that they are hard working, but they also show mental toughness and as Wenger stated about Mertesacker’s leadership qualities “When a German shouts you listen!” And then the Spaniards, classy composed and well if our duo are anything to go by, smashing lads, who can be described as utterly brilliant.
I think the answer is in the way we play. We are quick(Sorry Per) delicate and composed. Whilst the South Americans are classy going forward, I’m yet to see a Brazilian or Argentinian team win a game on defensive strength alone. African players are usually powerful, pacey and not as technical as their Euro counterparts. Whilst we’d all love a Yaya Toure, I believe certainly in our Defence and Midfield, our style would be better suited to Koscielny and Arteta, then a Samba or a Song.(See what I did there…. oh never mind!) Maybe every team is now following suit with Spain, and playing little compact composed players, whether you might now believe a players passport is significant, which it isn’t for the most part, the style we play will always determine what countries we pick our players from.I’ll leave it up to ye to decide!
By: Donnacha Curtin
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