The rumor’s flying around the soccer world are that William Gallas has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and dropped from the squad to play Manchester City tomorrow following the Frenchman’s outspoken comments about his teammates this week.
While away on international duty, Gallas told a French newspaper: “We are coming up against teams who are not scared to play football against us, who are not scared to take us on at our place and this is becoming dangerous for Arsenal. We are not brave enough in battle. I think we need to be soldiers. We have to be warriors.”
While those sentiments may be true, these are normally the kind of comments that are contained within the dressing room.
He then continued to expose the rifts within the dressing room, seemingly pointing the finger at Dutch striker Robin Van Persie: “There was a problem at half-time [against Spurs],” he said. “The only thing that I could say at half-time was: ‘Guys, we resolve these problems after the match, not at half-time.’
“When, as captain, some players come up to you and talk to you about a player … complaining about him … and then during the match you speak to this player and the player in question insults us. There comes a time where we can no longer comprehend how this can happen. I’m trying to defend myself a bit without giving names. Otherwise I’m taking it all [the blame]. It’s very frustrating, but I’m 31 and the player concerned is six years younger than me.”
The 31 year-old Frenchman’s Premier League career has been littered with drama. At Chelsea he kicked up a huge fuss about not been played his preferred position of centre half and reportedly threatened to score an own goal if he was not granted a move away from Stanford Bridge.
After his controversial transfer to Arsenal, which saw Ashley Cole join Chelsea and £5m heading to the Emirates, Gallas has struggled to recapture the form that made him one of the best defenders in the world.
He has complained in the past about the lack of strength in the squad and for many of the fans his strop at the end of the Birmingham game last year, when Arsenal threw away 2 points when Gael Clichy gave away a last minute penalty, was the last straw.
Arsene Wenger gave him one last chance in the summer by keeping him as captain, instead of handing it to the overwhelming favourite to now get the armband, Cesc Fabregas. After such a poor start to the season and with a crucial game coming up this weekend in the Premier League, the events of the past few days would have been the last thing the Arsenal manager needed.
This also opens up the debate of Gallas’s future at the club. It seems he lost the respect of his teammates along time ago and it is hard to see how the damage from the last few days can be repaired. With the transfer window opening up in just over a month, Wenger may look to move him on and bring in a replacement.
The sliver lining of this incident could be that it is Cesc Fabregas who takes on the armband full-time. He is definitely the fans choice and giving him the armband now may help persuade the Spaniard that his future belongs in North London.