28 June 2015

Dear Morgan Schneiderlin: Get bent.

Dear M. Schneiderlin—
Apparently, you just don't get it. French defensive midfielders are *supposed* to come to Arsenal. Don't you want to be Vieira's heir? We were willing to overlook the, uh, *superficial* differences between the two of you because you are, after all, French as well as from Southampton. We were willing to compromise. You give a little, you get a little. But no. instead of making this relationship work, it appears you've jilted us for a "better" offer from Manchester United. Manchester United? They of the three managers in two seasons? A negative transfer balance over the last five years of close £300m? Morgan, they spent £171m on transfers just last summer and could barely manage to finish fourth—in a season without Champions League. Speaking of seasons without Champions League...

...you do know that Man U have to play a two-leg qualifier, right? You might have to trudge your way through two matches against the likes of Fenerbahçe or CSKA Moscow, who might not quite intimidate in their own right, but to call the travel. accomodations, and pitch a bit rough is too kind by half. But hey, with all that money Man U are throwing at you, maybe you can pretend not to notice.

From what I hear, the Glazers have arranged a package deal that includes a £25m transfer fee and £150k weekly wage. Not bad. Not bad at all. You've done well for yourself, Morgan, but I hope you don't mind my saying that you're not worth it. No disrespect. You're a fine footballer, but £150k per week? Come on. If Arsenal were to match that, you'd be out-earning Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez. You'd be the highest-paid player in the club. Just because Man U are willing to throw money at a problem, though, doesn't mean they've found a solution.

Speaking of problems, you face the prospect of shielding a defense that has to shield Victor Valdes or Anders Lindegaard once de Gea consummates his love affair with Real Madrid. Ponder that one. At some point or another, Man U do have to at least pretend to abide by FFP considerations, and it's only a matter of time before they have to sell someone. De Gea's contract runs through June 2016, so Man U can sell now, hope to resign him, or see him leave for free next summer. He might just be their most-saleable asset, though, as others are too old and expensive to be moved easily.

Look at things from de Gea's point of view: he single-handedly kept Man U competitive, at times literally. Is he willing to do that in a season that is (a) once again bereft of Champions League play or (b) congested by Champions League play? The first option is hardly ideal even if it allows Man U to focus on the Prem; the second is less than ideal because it suggests that Man U might fade in the Prem (and risk missing out on Champions League play next season). Having fought so valiantly only to face frustration, the temptation of greener grass and softer challenges at the Bernabéu sound well-high impossible to resist. At the other end of the pitch, enjoy watching Rooney and van Persie limp around. Falcao—for whatever he was worth—is gone. If Di María can't find ways to bounce the ball off of Fellaini's massive head into the net more often, well, it could be a very frustrating season.

As it stands, that's what you're signing up for. Had you come to Arsenal, you would have found a squad brimming with chemistry and ambition, just a player or two away from a legitimate title-tilt. Players like Ramsey, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain—oh. Now I see. You come to Arsenal, and you're going to have to fight like a madman to earn time on the pitch ahead of those guys. We're looking for a rugged, tenacious defending type to play alongside those more-forward thinking, box-to-box types, and you're not the rugged, tenacious defending type. I understand your concerns, just as I'm sure you understand ours.

I wonder what Wanyama is up to?