Erik Larsen and the Gunning Hawk are wrong. Fab, sadly, must go.

Erik Larsen wrote a well written post on the Gunning Hawk today that’s fantastic. Written by a fellow American Gooner, it extols all of the reasons Fab should stay at Arsenal in a  clear, uncompromising, well thought out piece based on the simple principle, if I may oversimplify, “of manning up.” So it saddens me to say this. With all respect, the post is wrong. Fab must go. In fact, Fab must go because of the very reasons Mr. Larsen points out.

I wrote a previous post saying Fab should stay, but that argument was in the interests of Fab. For Arsenal though, the situation is different. At this point, the love affair is over. Arsene and Arsenal cannot count on Fab anymore and his continued presence is destabilizing.

To shorten the Gunning Hawk’s piece down to a core paragraph (sorry about that Mr. Larsen):

“[Cesc] needs to stand by his choices like a man and work even harder to prove that he earned that massive contract. The player needs to respect the manager that rewarded him, a 23-year-old man still learning the game, with an extraordinary contract for an extraordinary club. Cesc signed that contract, not under gunpoint, not amidst a waterboarding session, he signed it, maybe without even understanding what he was committing himself to, but he signed it.”

But where Mr. Larsen sees such immense commitment to Fab as requiring Fab’s return; I see Fab’s sustained failure to acknowledge Arsene’s commitment to him as destabilizing for the team. Enough is enough.

To wit, Fab

  1. Was given immense responsibility as captain;
  2. A team was built around him (bold); and,
  3. As we recently found out, he was well compensate for his heightened role.

Yes, he’s played his heart out for us -that’s why I’m not mad at him -but after of all of this, after everything Arsene has done, he wants to leave. He could have stopped this nonsense years ago or even tomorrow. Fab, can say clearly and plainly:

No, I’m not leaving, I’m a Gunner; Arsene has given me everything and barca must stop talking about me publicly because I am not going anywhere.”

But he hasn’t and he won’t, because as long as he doesn’t say anything, barca will look like the bad cop and he’ll look like the boy just trapped in the middle of everything.

No. Fab helped put us in this position. So now, if he cares about the Club, he needs to help us get out and do exactly what Arsene says: sit down, shut up and let Arsene maximize Arsenal’s return at the negotiating table.

At this point, after all Arsene has invested in Fab, including his reputation as a manager and the pressure he took for believing in him, Fab is nothing more to Arsene now than a bargaining chip. Because as Mr. Larsen aptly points out:

“[Fab] knows he’s stuck right now, he knows Arsenal don’t have to do a damn thing to help him return to Spain.”

As Americans, I think we find this all a bit confusing; this isn’t how sports operate over here. But we aren’t talking about the NFL, NBA, MLB or even MLS. No this is the EPL, La Liga, and (shudder) FIFA (what exactly are the tapping up rules and can I raise a cause of action as a fan?). This is sports mixed with nationality, with religion, with politics and with identity.

Because like barca, Arsenal is “Mes que un Club.” (More than a Club). And the insecurity by leading players destroys that. Fab’s greatest gift now is to leave for a lot of money and let us move on as well.

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