So, Fiorentina want to buy Emmanuel Eboue. With a fee of £8million rumoured, many fans have been quick to voice their support for the deal; more money in the bank to buy that defensive midfielder we all crave and we get to get rid of someone who has seemingly been derided more than applauded in his Arsenal career. A player who is quick to find the floor when challenged, a player whose first touch can be very poor and a player who against Wigan last season, demonstrated that he just isn’t cut out for a Premiership team who should be challenging for the title. Get rid, take the money and laugh.
But is it that simple? Should we really be so quick to off-load Eboue?
Firstly, let’s consider the money. Last week, Wenger publically stated that we’re not close to signing anyone. Not that you can trust what Wenger says in public, but if we are to take his word there, we don’t need the money as we’re not bringing anyone in. Further to this, we added £25million to our savings last week when we off-loaded Adebyesnore to Man City. With that money surely available for re-investment, what difference will an additional £8million make? Very little; it’s (highly) unlikely that Wenger will spend £33million this summer. So if the money makes no real difference, would it be of benefit to the club to sell a ‘utility’ player? Probably not. Would it be of benefit to the club to sell Emmanuel Eboue? No.
Here is a player who is integral to the squad as a personality. Said to be central to the social aspect of the squad, a ‘class clown’ who is liked by all and someone who clearly enjoys being at the club, despite the lack of support from all sections of the crowd.
On the pitch, Eboue has been asked to play in a variety of positions, most notably at right back, right midfield and centre midfield. Every time he pulls on the shirt he gives it his all, regardless of where he is asked to play and even if he isn’t he most skillfull player on the pitch. At a time when players (and not necessarily Arsenal players here) are holding clubs to ransom for contract improvements and demanding guarantees of first team places, surely we should be applauding players who turn out and run solidly, work hard and try their best for 90 minutes? Surely we should be offering support and praising players when all they want to do is play and win? And when fans are clambering for a defensive midfielder, it strikes as being somewhat odd to want to offload someone who is capable of fulfilling this role.
Sometimes, players are more than fancy step-overs and goals. Sometimes, the best players are the ones who have a positive affect on the team and club. Sometimes the best players are the ones who run and work, try and fight. At Arsenal, we have a proud tradition of players of this nature and when we need one now, why are we looking to offload someone like Eboue who, if you step back and look at objectively, fits the bill?