Denilson has agreed to terminate his contract with Arsenal. Let’s take a moment to reflect on a career that was full of promise but ended up going nowhere really.
Now let’s party!!
But seriously, while this is good news in many ways, it’s also a sad day. Denilson came to the club to understudy the most successful academy graduate in recent memory, Cesc Fabregas. But the pair’s career paths were starkly different.
While Cesc had the likes of Edu, Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva to learn from and compete with, Denilson’s ascent to the first XI owed more to lack of competition.
I remember when he first started emerging he had Gilberto and Julio Baptista to look up to. But those players swiftly departed as the youth project took hold and their young compatriot found himself starting games without really having to earn it – this was helped by the fat wage he was by this time taking home every month – and there was a distinct lack of determination to his game. The Rooney goal in 2010, significantly enabled by Denilson’s leisurely attempt to get back while United broke, springs to mind.
I’m not saying that a lack of senior players to push Denilson is the only reason why he never made it at Arsenal – Jack Wilshere didn’t have to push himself against the players Fabregas did – but the point is that he wasn’t helped by it. He was exposed, underprepared, to life in the Premier League and wasn’t good enough. The crowd got on his back – unforgivably but understandably – and things only started getting worse. Like that, a promising career encountered a serious roadblock.
Arsenal are back to having more strength in depth in the centre of midfield now, and that should augur well for Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and whoever emerges behind them, though we could still do with a bit more competition in the defensive midfielder position. Who knows if Denilson would have benefited from that kind of depth, but what’s clear is he’d get nowhere near a starting XI now. He’s still young, and should carve out a good career in Europe or, more likely, back in Brazil, but to me he’ll always be a prime example, and perhaps victim, of Arsenal’s startling decline in quality of a few years ago.
There’s a sense his leaving is symbolic, and the first of a number of departures that will help bring the curtain down on period of squad mediocrity. And, frankly, good riddance to that.
Anyway, have some links. There’s some great stuff here.
Al Jazeera interview Arsene and he is his usual eloquent self. Skip to 23 minutes for his quotes on Rooney.
Arseblog’s latest. The agent quotes, unless ridiculously inaccurate, should preclude a move for the midfielder.
And hooray! The Guardian comes first.
Looking at what Arsenal should be looking for.
This is a brilliant article by Will Benn analysing what makes a legend in our eyes, and how we view loyalty. Cracking stuff.
Lovely write-up of a true Arsenal hero.
Vote at Gunner’s Town now. Cesc is not an option.
A chest-beating, rallying cry for all Arsenal fans. This should be set to music and read out over a montage of great Arsenal moments.