On October 23rd 2003, a certain Spaniard made his debut for Arsenal and it was unknown to many that this player would go on and fill with aplomb the creative roles of Arsenal greats Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp and even Freddie Ljunberg.
Cesc Fabregas went on not only to become Arsene Wenger’s first choice midfielder, but club captain, as well as the assist king of Europe. He constantly supplied balls for the likes of Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie. His performances were soon noted by boyhood club Barcelona and the Catalan club. Eventually they came calling and their advances were too good to resist as they not only seemed to offer a better shot at winning trophies, but he was also given the opportunity of returning home to do what he loves best amongst friends and family. His much speculated and anticipated move was completed last summer and his departure undoubtedly left a creative hole in the Arsenal set up.
Wenger responded by handing Welsh prodigy Aaron Ramsey the creative role and this certainly surprised me, as Rambo, as he is known amongst team-mates, was playing more as a central midfielder, breaking up play and feeding Fabregas to pick out the strikers, before his horrific leg break a few years back. It surprised me even further that the gaffer overlooked the skill, experience and ability of Tomas Rosicky to hand Ramsey the role in the hole, but the Czech midfielder’s performances at the turn of the year have proven to all that he is a better player for the job.
No disrespect to the Arsenal no. 7, but the void left by Cesc, in my opinion, has not been fully filled, as Tomas is a player that brings more fluidity to the team, as opposed to Cesc, who’s major strength and advantage to the team was his ability to split open opposition defences and create chances. Any team in the world would make do with a player who has the vision to pick a final pass and rack up the numbers in assists, and Wenger looks like he’s still seeking a player of this calibre.
Two players that have been linked to the role since Cesc’s departure have been German wonderkid Mario Gotze and Danish rising star Christian Eriksen. However, the rejection of a late summer bid from the north London club by Borussia Dortmund and a subsequent contract extension to Gotze’s current deal means attention must been turned to the latter option by the Arsenal hierarchy.
Born in Middlefart, Denmark, on the 14th of February 1992, Christian Danneman Eriksen began playing football at the tender age of three in his hometown. His success story began in 2005 when he made his switch to Odense Boldklub, where he starred in the Danish youth championship, which they unfortunately lost in the semi-final stage to Brondby IF. Eriksen was named the tournament’s best technical player and this was just the first of many accolades he has bagged to date.
The club won the tournament in the following year and his subsequent performances for the Under-16 and Under-19 sides meant he caught the attention of Europe’s elite clubs. But the Dane decided to move to Ajax, stating his first move should not be too big, as he was mindful of his development as a footballer.