So Phil Senderos has officially left Arsenal â€“ two seasons after he effectively did anyway.
Thereâ€™s been a lot of goodwill on Twitter and across the blogs and thatâ€™s fair enough. Senderos was an uncomplicated player who gave his all, never moaned and represented the club very well indeed.
He was an up-and-down player though, with some commanding performances early in his career contrasting with plenty of wobblier ones at other points. Perhaps not surprising for a young player â€“ one who is still only 25 years old now.
But Iâ€™m glad heâ€™s gone.
Why? Itâ€™s got nothing to do with him at all. Heâ€™s a player who can and probably will still come good given the chance and a fair wind with injuries. Who knows, that may have happened at Arsenal in the past, but itâ€™s not going to happen now. So he needed to go to reignite his own career, but nor is it a bad thing for Arsenal either. As a club, we need to properly address our defence, and we wonâ€™t do that by looking backwards.
Which is why thereâ€™s no reason to despair at the prospect of Gallas, Silvestre and even Campbellâ€™s departures either. All are past their best, and while Campbell is a special case â€“ his desire was palpable and put others to shame at times last season â€“ even in a best-case scenario heâ€™d have been third choice in 2010-11.
Look at our defensive record over the last few seasons. Weâ€™ve conceded 8, 9, 13 and 9 goals more than the league winners since we moved to the Grove, a consistent deficit. We have not eradicated bad defending as a unit, nor have we eradicated individual lapses of concentration â€“ so much so that we are now seen as defensive soft touches. We get targeted between the sticks and we get targeted at set pieces. Such targeting often works.
Thatâ€™s got to change, and a clean sweep of the brush might not be such a bad thing.
Thereâ€™s no point worrying that if all three depart, then weâ€™ll only have Djourou and Vermaelen left. Thereâ€™s no way Wenger would leave it that way.
Sure, thereâ€™s a risk that starting next season with a new keeper and two new centre backs might be unsettling for a while. But itâ€™s a risk worth taking compared to another season of the same problems.
In the meantime, I hope Big Phil makes it big and proves Wenger wrong. Not many players have left and done that – but I can’t imagine many Arsenal fans would begrudge him a renaissance if he did.