Why Choose Arsenal? That’s Why.
By Ian Jenkinson.
Much has been said and written of the Suarez saga. And things went into hyper drive on Tuesday after Suarez broke his silence by giving an insightful interview to two newspapers indicating his clear desire to no longer wear the Liverpool Jersey. Liverpool fans understandably went nuts. Even my close friends who are Liverpool fans and who have defended Suarez all summer have turned on him.
Of course last season we had our own version of Suarezgate with RVPgate and it wasn’t pretty. I remember really giving RVP the benefit of the doubt and hoped that everything I had read about his desire to leave was not true. His silence was deafening and then one day – boom. He made a statement on his personal website to say he wanted to leave Arsenal. It all sounds so familiar this season with Suarez doesn’t it? Yet we find ourselves on the other side of the coin. That at least makes it a pleasant change.
What pans out over the next 3 to 4 weeks is uncertain. Many people believe it is only a matter of time before he signs for Arsenal and many others believe that he will end up in sunny Madrid. I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know where he will go. One thing that I would be fairly confident in saying is that he won’t play for Liverpool again. How could he? He couldn’t.
But the reason I decided to write this article was not to talk about who Suarez will go to or what the clause in his contract actually means etc. but rather the side show that has formed alongside the will he/won’t he media frenzy. I talk of the debate that has raged through the internet forums and blogs which has gotten many pundits and ex-players involved also. The “My daddy is bigger than your daddy” debate of who is the bigger club.
I don’t want to raise that debate again (but fear I may) as there is never going to be a winner. The Liverpool fans will all say Liverpool is the bigger club and the Arsenal fans will say the opposite obviously. But what gets to me is the idiotic argument as to why one club is bigger than the other but more on that later.
For me, both clubs are massive clubs. Liverpool is a club steeped in tradition and glory; they have a massive fan base and have had some of the greatest players ever to grace the game play for them. They have won the English League title 18 times, the European Cup 5 times (something us Arsenal fans can only dream of for now) and have had much success in domestic cups to boot (15 in total I think).
Arsenal obviously is a club also steeped in tradition and is a club that I am deeply proud to be a supporter of. Arsenal has also had great success with 13 league titles, 10 FA Cups, a couple of league cups and to be fair, a modest record with regards to winning European trophies. They are also the only team in modern history who have gone an entire season unbeaten, a feat that I boast about like it was a trophy in itself (actually I think they got a special gold Premier League trophy for that particular feat didn’t they?). And of course they hold the record for the longest unbeaten run of 49 games. Not to be taken lightly.
But it’s not those successes I want to focus on for both clubs, because for me they are irrelevant to today’s players. Despite the great successes I mention above, very few trophies have been won recently by either club. And when I say recently I mean over the past 2-3 seasons, because that is all that is relevant to most of both crops of today’s players as they were involved in those seasons.
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My point is this, Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005. But there is no comparison between then and now. Liverpool fans use the fact that they have won the Champions League (and we haven’t) as one of the reasons why Suarez should not sign for us. But of the Liverpool playing staff from 2005 only Steven Gerrard remains, everyone else is either gone or retired, there is a different management team (a few times over) and the club has even changed ownership, it’s almost a different club!
“I’ve had the same sweeping brush for 15 years, it’s only had 7 new heads and 6 new handles.” If you catch my drift?
Champions League winning Liverpool of 2005 are not in the same bracket as Liverpool of 2013, they shouldn’t and can’t be linked. Just like the Arsenal Invincibles of 2004 shouldn’t be linked with the Arsenal of 2013.
It’s true that Arsenal hasn’t won anything over the same period, but clubs change. It’s how they change and improve that’s important, as you will see. Let me explain.
Suarez doesn’t care if Liverpool won the CL in 2005, he doesn’t care that they’ve won it 5 times. All he cares about is now. Suarez joined Liverpool in the January transfer window in the 2010/2011 season. He has played two and a half seasons for them. In his short time there he has had two managers and has seen the club finish 6th, 8th and 7th. Hardly inspiring is it? All of this while the club has spent massive amounts of money surrounding Suarez with decidedly average players. £75,000,000 on Carroll, Henderson and Downing to mention but a few.
I mention all this merely to try and step inside Suarez’s head and see what he sees in Liverpool. In the time he has been there they haven’t moved forward at all, neither on the pitch (even with his talent and goals added) nor off it. The stadium is still small for a Premier League/European stadium (a great traditional stadium, I’ve been in it recently and enjoyed it a lot) but the club seems to have somewhat stagnated. And Suarez knows this. This is despite Liverpool throwing money about in attempts to improve matters.
There will also be the added financial pressure and restrictions if Liverpool decides to go ahead with plans to extend Anfield. If Liverpool couldn’t manage success or Champions League qualification after spending all that money then why would Suarez believe that they can do it going forward with these restrictions hanging over the club?
Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in 8 years. Did anybody know that? So what, but Arsenal didn’t have the luxury of spending £75,000,000 on three players (until now). Nope they were busy building for the future. They couldn’t inject huge amounts of cash into the team like others around them yet they still managed to hold on to their Champions League place. They clung on for dear life. It was important that they did and they deserved it. And no, Champions League qualification is not a trophy but it attracts players. Evidently. Would Suarez swop his solitary Carling Cup medal for three seasons playing Champions League football. I think he would.
Besides, in those 8 years with a bit of luck Arsenal could have had a trophy or two, it’s not as though we were doing nothing on the pitch. We lost three finals in those 8 years by 1 goal. It could so easily have been different. It isn’t, so we have to listen to the idiotic argument of 8 years without a trophy as another reason for a player not signing for us? It makes me smile.
The reality is that Arsenal has done more as a club in those 8 years than most clubs could only hope for in 20 years. If you took a snapshot of Arsenal in 2006 and compare it with Arsenal of 2013 you will see how much the club has grown. Arsenal is now a different animal. Take the same snapshot with Liverpool and not much has changed. In fact you could argue that they’ve actually regressed.
Of course Arsenal’s 8 year success story hasn’t been measured in trophies but we have been busy doing the pre trophy work. The sowing of the seeds if you like. We have been building to be in a position to self-sufficiently afford the likes of Suarez to add to the already fantastic crop of players who have grown with the club over the past number of years. We have been waiting a long time for these transfer stories and to put together the final pieces of the squad jigsaw. Whether we get Suarez or not I am delighted that Arsenal are even talking this language. We deserve it.
Suarez is about to enter the pinnacle of his career (26-30), all he sees at Liverpool during those four years is a struggle to get them to 4th place (Brendan Rogers own words only a few weeks ago were that the challenge is to get Champions League Qualification. How do you think Suarez feels hearing that?). I think Suarez is open minded to a move to Arsenal because he feels that if Arsenal adds his quality and one or two more to the squad that they can be genuine contenders. And I agree with him.
In other words he feels that Liverpool + Suarez = a scrap for 4th place but Arsenal + Suarez = potential for trophies. And I don’t think that Liverpool can argue with that. Man for man over the past three seasons Arsenal have been a better team and squad and finished well above Liverpool (securing CL every season) despite Liverpool outspending us astronomically.
In Suarez’s world, Liverpool has only existed for 2 and a half seasons and they have not been very good.
The question of who is the bigger club is a silly one because where do you measure from? Do you mean right now? Or do you pick a certain time in history? Or is it over the entire course of history? The question has many answers and in many ways is immeasurable.
My gut feeling is that Liverpool will do everything they can not to sell Suarez to Arsenal and will at the first opportunity sell him to any non-English club who is willing to take him. If Madrid sign Bale for the scandalous money being spoken about on top of their current summer spending they will have already spent roughly £140,000,000. Would they be able to afford Suarez for £40-50 million on top of that? Would they be allowed?
I can give or take Suarez at Arsenal, if he comes he comes, if he doesn’t he doesn’t but this article was an answer to all the people out there, ex-players et al who are indignant at the mere thought that a Liverpool star would dare to want to sign for “lowly” Arsenal despite the glaring signs that Suarez (or any quality player) would have a better chance of success at today’s Arsenal rather than today’s Liverpool.
Arsenal is a fantastic club with a great tradition and a magnificent future ahead and Luis Suarez would be very lucky to be a part of it.
Why Choose Arsenal?
- Arsenal to play the Court of Arbitration in Sport in Champs League knock out stage.
- Life with a positive bias. Ref Review 2012/13: West Ham United
- How Arsenal can win the Premier League this Season
Arsenal Anniversaries: 9 August
- 9 August 1914: Joe Mercer born
- 9 August 1944: George Armstrong born
- 9 August 1990: Death of Joe Mercer, on his birthday
- 9 August 1997: Overmars, Petit and Grimandi all start their first game
- 9 August 2011: Ryo Miyaichi is granted a work permit