Just when will things get better for Arsenal and their supporters? Many fans finally got their dying wish when Arsene Wenger’s long-term tenure finally came to an end last year. Though, the club still missed out on Champions League football through a fifth place finish in the Premier League as well as losing to local rivals Chelsea in embarrassing fashion in the Europa League final. The Gunners now have club captain Laurent Koscielny going AWOL as he declined to travel to the United States pre-season tour in order to force through a move back his home country, France. Whilst this week, Alex Iwobi’s comments have sparked further outrage – whether they were taken out of context or not. It only epitomises the weak mentality at the club, one which has allowed the club to spiral downwards – no Premier League title since 2004; no Champions League football in what will be a third straight season.
The Sun reported that Iwobi said this about the potential arrival of Wilfried Zaha: “So whenever the chance comes I always try and prove I should be starting. But it’s going to be difficult if Zaha comes. He will add more stress. My joy is to play football and not just sit out. If it comes to that I would have no choice but to leave. But I would always put up a fight to play — that is what I have done all my life.”
The Nigerian international back-tracked on Twitter yesterday with this tweet:
Fake News & Click Bait! I Don’t know Why Some Newspapers Enjoy Twisting Words ???????????????. I Hope We Sign World Class Players @Arsenal And Progress As A Team ????????. I’m Looking Forward To The New Season. Happy Sunday ????. pic.twitter.com/xcadu8t2kC
— Alexander Iwobi (@alexiwobi) July 21, 2019
Iwobi’s comments suggest that if the signing of Zaha makes it difficult to cement a first-team berth then he would look to leave. I’m unsure why he would even mention something along those lines as it was always going to get twisted or put into specific context. If the £80m-rated Crystal Palace ace does sign then you want your player to be professional about it – head down and fight for that place rather than appear to spit out your dummy. The choice of words is even more questionable if he had considered what is going on with Koscielny right now. Emery now has two player issues on his hands – possibly a resemblance on the sort of mentality that’s at the club right now.
Earlier in the season, Mesut Ozil shocked many by launching his jacket at his manager after being substituted against Everton in April, looking visibly angry. Could you imagine him doing that to the old decrepit Arsene Wenger? Not. A. Chance. The 30-year-old’s behaviour towards his manager was then brought up again last month following reports from Turkey stating he repeatedly told him that he’s ‘not a coach’ during the 4-1 Europa League final defeat.
Now Iwobi’s recent remarks raises further question marks about the Arsenal squad. Anything of this sort just wouldn’t have happened during the ‘Invincibles‘ era – Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry.. the list goes on, they’d have had none of it. Maybe it is how football is nowadays, it is rife with prima-donnas, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a major weakness in mentality at the club. One which Emery needs to change fast, especially if the club are to return to the Champions League anytime soon.