With the news that Wojciech Szczesny has sealed a permanent move to Juventus, Arsenal fans have once again been forced to question the motives behind the sale.
Woj, as far as Gooners were concerned, was Arsenal’s future #1.
With Petr Cech turning 35 and his previously impressive form dipping, this seemed like the perfect time for Woj to return from his two seasons on loan at Roma and fight the former Czech Republic international for that first team spot.
However, for reasons that most likely have nothing to do with actual football, Arsene Wenger has decided to allow the 27-year-old Poland international, who rose through the Gunners’ academy and has become one of the most solid shot-stoppers in Europe, to sign for Juve for a reported £10m.
While Woj did only have one year left on his current deal, the situation itself seems odd considering all Wenger would have had to do is reassure him that he could become number one within a year or two. Which he would.
This isn’t the first time Arsenal fans have been left perplexed by certain outgoings… Although not all of them have been the club’s fault.
5. Cesc Fabregas
After eight years in north London and a couple of seasons of being prodded by Barcelona, Arsenal finally gave in and allowed Cesc to return ‘home’.
Most Gooner still get that little twinge of regret whenever they see him in a Chelsea shirt and wonder where it all went wrong.
Granted, the Spaniard wanted to return ‘home’ but there was far more, especially surrounding the perceived ‘ambition’ of the club as Arsenal fought to pay for the Emirates, which probably influenced the playmaker’s decision.
It may not have been Arsenal’s fault that he left but selling Cesc is still a transfer that Gooners question.
4. Robin van Persie
While the Dutchman did more or less push his way out of the club back in 2012 for a move to Arsenal’s rivals, most Gooners are very much of the opinion that Wenger should have made the striker finish the remainder of his contract in north London, which is precisely what the boss claims he’s going to do with Alexis Sanchez.
After RvP signed for United, they won the Premier League by 11 points; Arsenal came fourth, 16 points behind the champions.
RvP scored 26 in the Premiership alone and assisted 15, so he had a hand in 41 goals that season. United scored 86, which means that the Dutchman was involved in almost half of their overall goal tally.
Arsenal’s goal tally for the league that season was 72. Imagine what we could have done if he’d stayed.
Again, the player pushed for a move but Gooners will always wonder ‘what if?’.
3. Serge Gnabry
For Wenger, Gnabry will probably be the one that got away. When Arsenal signed the wide man in 2011, it was clear that there was something exciting about the German’s style of play.
However, injuries and failed loan spells saw Gnabry’s patience run thin and instead of signing a new contract with Arsenal, the club that had stuck by him and was still prepared to give him a chance, he decided to jump ship to Werder Bremen in order to get regular football.
A year later, after scoring 11 goals and assisting two in 27 Bundesliga appearances for Werder, Bayern Munich swooped in and signed him, before immediately loaning him out again to Hoffenheim.
2. Samir Nasri
After three impressive seasons at Arsenal, the pull of Manchester City’s wages was too strong and Nasri jumped ship faster than a cat up a drain pipe.
To be fair, this was almost entirely his decision as the club didn’t have a lot of choice. Selling players was all we could do; we needed the money. However, if we’d just persuaded him to stick it out for a little longer…
1. Thierry Henry
Henry, according to the Guardian at the time, saw Arsenal as a club in ‘turmoil’, which is why he chose to leave for Barcelona in 2007 after eight years in north London.
Once he left, he continued to be world class, of course, but was never quite the player he was for Arsenal.
We haven’t won the league since he left. What if he had stayed?