Premier League Footballers Need to Take More Responsibility

Photo by Ronnie Macdonald

As we analyze the migration patterns of footballers this summer, we see a lack of responsibility.  Players are feeling the need to quit their current clubs and move on to where they can win trophies.  These same players refuse to blame themselves for the misfortune of their club.

Arsenal is a good place to start.  Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri want to leave the Emirates because of the Gunners much-talked about trophy drought.  Gael Clichy admitted that he left Arsenal for Manchester City in the name of silverware.

Maybe these players should consider how they impacted Arsenal this season, particularly Nasri and Fabregas.  If Nasri’s performance had not dipped dramatically in the second half of the season, maybe Arsene Wenger’s squad would have pushed Manchester United harder for the Premier League title.  Had Cesc Fabregas not tried an ill-advised back-heel near his own penalty area, maybe the Gunners would have defeated Barcelona and advanced farther in the Champions League.

Fabregas is Arsenal’s captain, and should take some of the blame for the recent disappointments.  Instead, he has let the Barcelona transfer saga continue as he tries to hitch a ride on the Camp Nou trophy machine. Surely, the Spaniard would have lifted the Premiership trophy had Arsenal overtaken United, and he should claim a portion of the criticism as well.

Staying in North London, Luka Modric may leave Tottenham to win trophies and play in the Champions League.  Gareth Bale, who has now committed to Tottenham, was rumored to have similar feelings.  Both players are key components for Spurs and had something to do with their disappointing finish.

The inability to look in the mirror is not exclusive to football stars.  Basketball player Lebron James left Cleveland for Miami to join up with fellow superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

Footballers have to make the most out of their short careers.  But wouldn’t finally leading Arsenal to a title be more rewarding for Cesc Fabregas than jumping on the Pep Guardiola train?

There are talented footballers who have stayed loyal to their clubs through tough times, and it has paid off.  In England, Steven Gerrard’s name comes to mind.  Gerrard agreed to join Chelsea back in 2005 but made a stunning U-turn and decided to sign a new deal at Liverpool.  Looking back on this ordeal, it seems ridiculous to imagine Gerrard at Stamford Bridge.  Although Gerrard did miss out on numerous trophies with Chelsea, his legacy as a Liverpool legend will never be tarnished.

In Italy, Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti both decided to stick with their clubs during rough times.  Del Piero stayed on at Juventus even when the Italian side was famously relegated to Serie B due to a match-fixing scandal.  Francesco Totti is synonymous with Roma and is an Italian icon because he has been loyal to his club.  Roma have not won a Serie A title in ten years but do not expect Totti to hand in a transfer request.  Both are beloved in their respective cities and ooze class.

Players should take more responsibility for the results of the club.  Footballers should work to improve their game and leadership abilities instead of blaming the club.  Looking in the mirror is a better decision than to look elsewhere, especially when talking about a player moving from one big club to another.

16 thoughts on “Premier League Footballers Need to Take More Responsibility”

  1. While I’m not a arsenal supporter or spurs supporter, comparing nasri,fabregas, modric, and bale to totti and gerrard is not an equal comparison.

    The latter two were youth products of their current clubs and grew up in those towns. Totti is a Roman and gerrard is a scouser. Nasri and fabregas are not north london born and bred; there is a different connection there.

    As for Del Piero, unlike the the four premier league players you mentioned, DP has had one of the most trophy laden careers a player has had in the last 20 years. 7 time league champion (9 times if you include the titles stripped due to calciopoli) and 4 time champions league finalist (won it once). Not to mention he’s italian and staying in serie A is usually a given due to the FIGC giving preference to serie a players when it comes to azzuri selection.

    It’s easy to stay during the ‘down’ years when you’ve tasted the success del piero has had. None of the players you mentioned have tasted anywhere near the success DP has had not to mention play at a club as massive as juve. Make no mistake, Juve (esp in del piero’s heyday) dwarfed arsenal (and to be honest, juve is still a bigger club).

    None of the players you mention, except for bale, play in their home league or for their hometown club. They came to the clubs they are in currently to further their careers and win titles. Perhaps if wenger wasn’t so myopic and actually bought defenders and a goalkeeper, he could have an easier time keeping nasri and fabregas.

    This article would’ve worked better if you used better examples, perhaps.

    1. +1, completely agree with you, the examples he has given can not be compared. the comparison with del piero and totti would surely be scholes and giggs who have done exactly the same thing, so implying that it is a problem in the premier league.

      the other noticable thing is that people seem to forget that players have signed contracts with their other words nasri has every right to say that he might leave at the end of the year because that is when his contract expires, if he had signed a new contract earlier this would not be a problem

      1. I have to say the two of you have completely missed the argument of the story. It is not a comparison of players it is about the responsibility that players should show to their themselves and their club about their own failures to secure trophies.

  2. Both of you have missed the point of the article. This is not questioning players loyalties to the club they play for. This is players leaving for ‘success’ and not taking responsibility for their poor performances that cost the teams the success they crave so bad.

    1. I’m just trying to understand your logic here. Are you saying that anytime a player moves to a more successful club (obviously this would not apply if Nasri goes to City) they are not taking responsibility for being successful already?

      1. Not every time a player moves but in the case of Nasri and Clichy can either of them honestly say they contributed enough to win a trophy. Clichy has let Arsenal down numerous times over the last few years and has saved the worst for important games. Against Birmingham when Eduardo had his leg broken he gave away a penalty in the last minute because he was caught out by a long ball. Another notable mistake was against Spurs where he decided to try dribble out of danger ended up losing the ball near his own area and we ended up drawing four all. Nasri on the other hand has been at Arsenal for a few years now and in that time has given us about 5 months of good work so does he really have any reason to act as if he is entitled to winning a trophy. The only player that deserves trophies out of the three that are rumoured to or have already left is Fabregas. Since he was about 18 or 19 he has been consistantly one of the best players with the highest assists in the league for about 6 years. So no not all players who want to leave teams are not taking responsbility for their performances but in the case of Nasri and Clichy they both think far too highly of themselves.

  3. I think the argument has to be made that leaving for ‘trophies’ is just a way of leveraging for more money, be it at their current club or elsewhere. In reality, when these players are wanting out, it is almost never for less money. In rare cases you see players willing to take pay cuts but this is often minor and only usually because they want out for reasons other than trophies.

    I agree with the points in this article, and the point you make re: fulfillment for Fabregas is universal. Success is relative, and in the case of Nasri, Fabregas, Modric, and Bale, they would all almost certainly take cuts in playing time, perhaps significantly, to play for the teams they want to play for. Though they would certainly be important pieces in the teams investing in them, the reality is that the more ‘successful’ a team is, the heavier their rotation will be. Walking into a situation like this would not bring a lot of immediate opportunities and there are a lot of risks with moving to a new team and a new situation.

    What bugs me the most in these situations is the sense of entitlement and lack of respect this brings. All of these players have signed contracts and are legally (and morally) obliged to honour these contracts. Requesting/demanding transfers, running off to the media, tweeting, and all this carry on only puts pressure on their team and sheds a negative light on these clubs. They are forcing the hand of their employer. They must realise that their team/employer has signed them to contribute and bring success to this club. The fact that they could attain more success and trophies elsewhere is irrelevant. They, the players signed these contracts, and they should stand by these.

    1. Its all about the queens heads… no doubt. and its not the player. many times its his management. Look at the long saga and career of Carlos Tevez. Kia Joorabchian has basically owned Tevez since he was a teen. And whenever I hear wants to be with his family, or whatever… I know its Kia in his ear telling him he would be better off somewhere else, so he can get a pay check.

      Nasri is represented by legendary agent Alain Migliaccio who represented Zidane and presently represents Frank Ribery. BTW, Migliaccio has always said Nasri is not for sale.

      Fabregas has be a bit of a agent jumper of late. His latest agent is Darren Dein son of David Dein (former vice chairman of Arsenal). And the beating of the drums by Barca on Fabregas is a joke. This is like the longest running rumour ofthe 21st century.

      players play football. Most at this level only want to win, and give their all. All the other stuff isn’t on view when we watch on tv, but it sure is a factor, and one to think about.

  4. Responsibility in sports? As in, “Take a look in the mirror?” Surely you jest. Professional athletes everywhere are some of the most spoiled, coddled creatures on the face of the earth. Many overcome this culture, but just as many act as if “Entitlement” were their middle name.

    I agree with much of what you have to say and with Michael, above. Unfortunately, it is just a sign of the times. The one situation I can see that might legitimately lead an athlete to cry, “I want out,” is when, approaching the end of his contract, he looks around at what the manager is doing and what the club in general is doing and wonders, “WTF? Why am I here?” However, if an athlete has just signed or is in the middle of a multi-year contract I think he needs to STFU. Not going to happen, though. Spoiled is as spoiled does.

  5. This article has the right sentiment but uses the wrong examples in my opinion.

    Fabregas doesn’t want to go to Barca for trophies or money, he wants to go because that’s the club he feels closest to. It’s in his hometown, in his home country, a club he feels a connection to that goes deeper than football. Now, normally I cringe at Barcelona when they start the “more than a club” nonsense, but in this case it makes sense, given the status of Catalonia and Spain. Will he make more money and win more trophies there? Yes, but even if Barca hadn’t won a single trophy in 6 years like Arsenal, and could only afford to match his current wages, he would still be making his way there sooner or later.

    As for Nasri, he’s decided that he’s ready to move on because Arsenal have done nothing to indicate that they are a club willing to meet his ambitions. Sure, he’ll make more money at City and United, although from what I can tell the offer from United almost matches the one he’s getting from Arsenal. We’ll have to wait and see where he ends up before judging his motives, but either way, both Manchester clubs are more likely to taste success in the upcoming years, regardless of what Nasri could or couldn’t do in an Arsenal shirt. The only real argument I could see to make for Nasri staying at Arsenal is that he may not be as good as he thinks he is, and may flop once going to the bigger stage. United and City would not tolerate a player who is brilliant for one half of the season and then falls off the face of the earth, form wise.

    As for Spurs, the argument is invalid because they are Spurs. They can not and will not win anything. They are a club with a loser’s mentality, and no amount of good play from Modric or Bale will change that. They don’t have the manager to go on to great things, and they’ll never have the players. Their current best players shouldn’t have to waste their careers there if they don’t want to.

  6. This is an interesting and well thought out story. I am constantly amazed at individuals who make comments on this blog and other sites at their inability to truly grasp what the author is saying.

  7. This article ignores one very important fact.

    Often “to win silverware” or “to play in Europe” or “to battle for trophies” are just euphemisms for “I did it for a lot of money.”

    To ignore the fact Cesc would be getting a nice pay raise and a slice of any monumental transfer fee is just ignorant. Same for Samir. Same for Modric. Same for any player linked in a move to a big club for big money.

    1. Or maybe they actually do want to win trophies. I chose to come play in a college squad that i would need to fight for playing time, knowing that we would be winning conference championships and playing in the NCAA tournament, the equivalent of Europe for college players in this country.

      Players want to win, especially when they haven’t ever won something in their career.

      1. Like a typical american you have opened your mouth before thinking and reading what this article about. Every one wants to win trophies no one is arguing about players wanting to win. This article is about players not taking responsbility for their own performances which have been part of their team failing to win and then blaming everyone else.

        1. I’m sorry, but wasn’t Nasri the one who put the team on his back for the first 5 months of the year, when they were really in title contention, especially when Fabregas looked like a shadow of his former self. Nasri is put way out of place with the author’s argument. No one can play so many perfect matches in a grueling, taxing league like the prem, due in part to the grit of the lower sides as well as the climate during the winter months. If Fabregas and Nasri want to leave if talent isn’t put around them to win, then they are well within their right. Arsenal has not, and still is not, doing enough to assemble a team that is deep enough to handle a year-long title push.

          I couldn’t agree anymore with the argument against Clichy. He did it for the cash, no question about it. Hopefully he turns out just like Boateng.

          1. You are massively mistaken if you think Nasri carried the team this year. Nasri was part of the team who were at the time doing well and he played well in that time but he never carried the team. Sorry if a player cannot be expected to play well for a whole season then he shouldnt be playing football and cant complain about failure when he cant perform when it matters .Cesc Fabregas a shadow of his former self?? are you sure you have been watching the same Cesc that Im thinking of 17 assists and 9 goals aint too bad, especially when you think he has been injured a lot of this year. Once again you have failed to understand the point of this article. This is not about players leaving for more money, this article is about players failing to take responsbility for their peformances.

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