Monday, 10 February 2014

Fabianski announces summer departure - beginning of an exodus?

Lukasz Fabianski has officially said that he is going to leave Arsenal irrespective of whether they win a trophy or not this season.

In every way, I understand this move. After all, his appearances were severely restricted for club and country by an impressive Wojciech Szczesny, and so his decision to reject a new deal is perfectly understandable. Fabianski is 28 and is approaching the peak time of his career - why waste it on the bench of a football club, however popular it may be?

Four years ago I'd be happy to let him leave; on the contrary, I'd be quite glad to see the back of him. It is always difficult to bounce back once you lose the fans, which is what he had done at Portugal. However, unlike players such as Andre Santos, Andrey Arshavin, Emmanuel Adebayor and indeed Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie, Fabianski has done a tremendous job of redeeming a heck of pride for himself from the Arsenal fanbase.

It all began when he was called upon following Manuel Almunia's injury. For at least half of the 2010/11 season Fabianski shone for the Gunners, which went to some way for getting his pride back. After a gem was discovered in Wojciech Szczesny, Fabianski's starts had understandably dwindled to Carling Cup and FA Cup matches.

However, few have noticed that Fabianski has done well for Arsenal when called upon. While some may be reluctant to field him as a first choice goalie, I think that he was the best backup goalkeeper that we had for ages. His departure seems all the more frustrating for me because he's leaving with a tainted name of "Almunia's caretaker", one that he does not deserve anymore.

Personally, I'm sad to see him go. In an ideal world, I'd love for him to be our backup keeper for ages, but we must understand the player's desires. Fabianski has the potential to be a very good reliant at the back, it was just not to be at Arsenal though. No offense, but we have somebody better.

Fabianski's impending departure puts another signing on the list of our summer requirements, which already included a striker and a center back. I think that we need a defensive midfielder as well; Arteta cannot be relied upon to cover the back four any more. Sagna's worrying ongoing rumours suggest that a right back may be a necessity as well; Jenkinson is good, but is far from emulating Sagna's solidity.

I still have a niggling worry over players like Vermaelen, Rosicky and Podolski. Lack of game time and poor man management of them might mean that they may be angling towards a summer move as well. If they are to leave, then Wenger should be held completely responsible for failing to use quality options on the bench to replace faltering and tired players in the starting XI.

I think that Bacary Sagna's future depends on whether we win something this season. I'd slap anybody if they would call Sagna a traitor if he leaves in the summer - this guy stuck with the team throughout the Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie, Song and Clichy departures, and didn't even make a big fuss about it. He is one of the few world class right backs in the league, and badly wants to win something for the club. However, if Arsenal falter in their title bid and their Cup hopes, then I'm certain that Sagna would leave.

I foresee a disaster ahead for the club. Wenger's refusal to buy a striker, employ flexible tactics and give Bould his space can and will lead to calamity this season. In any case, players like Viviano, Fabianski, Bendtner and Park are set to leave. If we fail to win a trophy, players like Vermaelen, Podolski and Rosicky could depart as well.

Imagine the worst case scenario. We bottle our lead and lose the cup. Viviano, Fabianski, Sagna, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Podolski, Bendtner and Park depart. The team is left severely lacking in goal, right back, center back and in striker. I highly doubt that Wenger would buy the necessary players (six required at least) to maintain our level of quality, or indeed, step it up a notch.

Once again I emphasize - this season may be one of the last times that we witness an Arsenal team challenging for the title. I may sound increasingly critical about potential departures regarding Vermaelen, Rosicky and Podolski, but I am certain that at least one of these departures are to happen if we win nothing but peanuts.

I am scared for the future, I really am. It seems to me that the scene is set for heartbreak at the end of the campaign, and an exodus is to follow. Wenger will only buy players sufficient enough for qualifying for the CL in the summer, which would lead to another tug-of-war with Tottenham Hotspur for fourth place.

I pray I'm wrong, but I think I'm not wide off the mark.

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )