15 January 2015

Conspiracy as players mutiny against Arsène!

HERTFORDSHIRE, England—The Arsenal squad appears to be in open revolt against long-serving and long-suffering manager Arsène Wenger, apparently rebelling against a lack of signings to this point in the January transfer-window as well as in the summer window, when weaknesses in the squad were already well-known. Despite the heroic efforts of Alexis Sánchez, players are on the brink of overthrowing the manager or at least undermining him, choosing January as a month in which to suffer debilitating injuries and lengthy lay-offs due to surgery, all in a desperate attempt to force the manager to sign a player or two ready and capable to buttress the squad.

Early attempts at forcing the manager's hand fell flat, whether it was Debuchy's decision to injure himself in September against Aston Villa, going to ground in a theatrical display that should have earned the Frenchman a booking for simulation, or Koscielny's gambit at tendonitis, apparently suffered during World Cup duty with France. Not to be outdone, fellow Frenchman Olivier Giroud fractured his own foot. When these attempts fell flat, talismanic midfielders Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Mesut Özil each added to the histrionics, suffering, respectively, a torn hamstring, a ruptured ankle, and knee-ligament damage.

However, none of these admittedly passive-aggressive injuries have, to date, forced the manager's hand, as Arsène has steadfastly refused to dust off his cheque-book with the notable and perhaps ironic exception of his courtship of 17-year old Krystian Bielik. His current club, Legia Warsaw, initially refused Arsenal's offer of some £1.4m, forcing Arsène to nearly double his offer in what must surely be a club record for transfer-fees, as the current rumours suggest that nothing less than £2.5m will be enough to secure the saviour's services.

In open defiance of Arsène's all-encompassing control of the club's finances, captain Mikel Arteta opted for elective surgery on his ankle, opting to remove himself from active duty for several months, while Mathieu Debuchy found time to invite Stoke's Marko Arnautović to shove him into the apron, thereby disclocating the Frenchman's shoulder and knocking him out of service for three months if not more.

The players are understandably frustrated, as management's transfer-moves in recent windows seem to have been reactive, ad hoc responses to players' departures of injuries. Perhaps with an eye to loyalty or legacy, fan-favorites such as Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo have loaned themselves out, hoping to coerce Arsène to sign someone, anyone, if only to prove that Arsenal still harbour ambitions of something higher than finishing fourth.

Bereft of any other options, members of the first team beseeched Abou Diaby for his advice, but, sadly, Diaby tore a hamstring as he stood to address the squad.