Another day, another rumour. This time it’s concerning the potential departure of Pat Rice. The long serving No 2 at the Arsenal coaching staff has a contract which runs out in the summer but has not signed on to continue yet. According to this article, Rice is struggling with some knee problem and it is affecting his day-to-day work for Arsenal.
If we include his time as a player and captain, Rice has rendered immaculate service to the club. Being the first captain of Arsenal to do the double would forever engrave his name in the famous history of Arsenal Football Club. His achievement as a non playing staff is also one which will be looked at with much pride. Numerous trophies won with him as the assistant manager.
Now, I don’t know Rice personally. Therefore I cannot say whether he is a yes man to Arsene Wenger. Or whether on what levels, his advice are being taken in. Or his involvement on the day to day training. If this is his last season with us, I just want to extend a big hand to him and thank him for the services and loyalty to the club.
Should Rice really go, there’s plenty of options out there for Wenger to choose. He would not be short of applicants who wants to learn the trade from him. On my part, I hope that if the job is available, it would go to another Arsenal man. Steve Bould, Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp are just one of the few former players who have turned into coaches. The last candidate would be a tough choice to hire considering his fear of flying. For me, I want the next person to be someone who knows Arsenal. Who can instill in the players, the virtues and class of Arsenal, apart from the necessary daily coaching and tactics.
Two other rumours are more normal in the sense that it involves the playing staff. The first of which is one where we are mostly bored of. The departure of Cecs Fabregas. Whoever this insider at Arsenal is, he must be very poor at mathematics. £35 million is not what Fabregas is worth in today’s market. I don’t want to over elaborate on this topic because it has been discussed to death and we do it almost every year. I don’t want to see him leave but if he does leave, that is not a satisfactory value.
Then, there’s the one about Andrey Arshavin. His former club, Zenit St. Petersburg are considering resigning him if Arsenal permits. Compared to Fabregas, this is a more interesting topic to comment on. Arshavin is not having his best season with his on pitch performances. The slump probably started towards the tail end of last season and continued into this season.
They say form is temporary and class is permanent. But at the moment, even his touch seemed to be deserting him. It’s not just his passing that has gone astray. Or his workrate that has remained anonymous but the simplest things seemed to be beyond him. I do realise that he has scored lots of goals and assisted many other but those moments are getting fewer and farther in between. The fact is that he was once the first name on the team sheet and has now been relegated to a substitute role.
I want nothing more than to see him come back with real verve and zest in his play. That being said, on the basis of his performances this season, I would understand if/should Wenger decides to let him go. It would be a shame but for someone of his experience, he rarely helps the team in that department.
Wenger’s presser later. More tomorrow.