Why itâ€™s not so bad
â€¢ His form bolted so long ago that the stable door was sold on eBay.
â€¢ He was clearly struggling at Arsenal
â€¢ Which you could tell by his workrate â€“ he didnâ€™t want to be here
â€¢ Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain are ahead of him on the left, which is the only place Wenger was going to play him.
â€¢ He wants to play in the Euros and needs games (bully for him)
â€¢ It might lead to a permanent transfer at a time when heâ€™s only got just over a year left on his contract
â€¢ And heâ€™s 30 â€“ he wonâ€™t be getting better with age
Why itâ€™s a bit odd
â€¢ The squadâ€™s a bit, erm, shallow as it is
â€¢ The timing â€“ right before the derby â€“ is hardly going to make us jump through hoops and whistle Dixie with glee.
â€¢ Even if all he offers these days is an assist off the bench, thatâ€™s still an assist when an assist might otherwise not be forthcoming.
Overall though, if my my feelings on the timing of his departure are mixed, as a player they are not â€“ his time was up. I wonder why it had to happen now but clearly, as much as he was desperate to go, the club must have also wanted him gone. Is this a sign of a new, hardened ruthlessness on Wengerâ€™s behalf? I doubt it â€“ not at such an odd time of the season. But it looks like it suits both parties just fine.
That half-season (and maybe more) after he signed, he was a revelation, with those four goals at Anfield the absolute high. The strike against Barcelona almost exactly a year ago wasnâ€™t bad either, in terms of its significance, but the rot had already set in.
When he signed, he was the saviour at a time when we were desperate to make fourth and it looked like we might not [Iâ€™ve heard that one before â€“ Ed. Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V].
A bit like Reyes? Obviously, not physically. But both were wide men, signed for similar fees. Both looked unstoppable for a while, and both faded badly at Arsenal.
Thatâ€™s the real shame. His was a real talent that faded – an Arsenal career ultimately unfulfilled.