Spending your peak years at just one club is becoming increasingly rare, and for a myriad of reasons.
So many of our legends remained at Arsenal and gave their best years to the club. In return, they got their name forever etched in the memories of the fans who enjoyed watching them in the shirt.
That career path seems pretty unfashionable right now.
How many players in the last two decades have spent their peak and beyond at our club? A duration of perhaps six years or more, where the best they’ll ever be is spent in front of Arsenal fans.
Laurent Koscielny is perhaps our most recent example, but his name is soured thanks to the ending of his stay at Arsenal, where strike action and a rather unsavoury social media announcement with his new club Bordeaux really did overshadow his nine years with us.
Koscielny put his body through the wringer for us. He played through the pain, and endured a plethora of ailments during his time at Arsenal. He won cups with us and we all appreciated what he had done for us. At one time he was the best in the PL – and had he ended his stay with us on a better note, he would have been a legend.
Shame, but Koscielny is a name that is a lonely one when it comes to candidates that could become a ‘one club man’ during their peak years.
The combination of agents and TV money have led players to wield the power when it comes to their futures. Go back just twenty years and there were far more players opting to stay with the pastures they know, rather than what appears to be greener grass elsewhere.
Agents were not as ruthless, and didn’t exploit the system as well as they do now. Players were happy to get a decent goal bonus and perhaps a sponsorship deal here or there. Now, image rights and signing on bonuses are gargantuan, and why shouldn’t players hold out for more if it’s readily available?
Clubs can lure players far easier, and some agents are richer than their clients. We have players who have third party ownership like they are a Kia Sorrento that has done 30k on the clock.
The norm is that players will stay for three, four years and assess their many, many options. Should that conflict with where they are currently?
Loyalty is a forgotten quality in football.
We must enjoy the amazing players we have for the short time we have them.