Are Arsenal turning into a feeder club for European giants?

Thierry Henry, Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini have left Arsenal in the past couple of seasons, while you get the impression (!) that Emmanuel Adebayor is not the most loyal player in the Gunners squad at the moment. It’s clear that while all of the above were either unknown or fairly mediocre before arriving at Highbury / Ashburton Grove, they walked out of the club with their reputation as a quality footballer significantly bolstered.

Is this going to be the continuing trend at the North London club, who will clearly have to fight every summer to retain the services of Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie and whoever else rises to prominence under the watchful eye of Arsene Wenger? Although Ian Wright generally comes out with a load of piddle in his Sun column, he does make a valid point about Arsenal gradually becoming a stepping stone for players to progress their careers before moving on.

I am constantly asking myself if Arsenal are now seen as just a stepping stone for wannabe great players and no longer the place where world-class stars are happy to see out their careers.

Meanwhile, the Gunners seem unable to hang on to even squad players, with Mathieu Flamini switching to AC Milan and Alex Hleb going to Barcelona.

If any Arsenal fan told me they expected the club to finish in the top four this season, I reckon they would be optimistic rather than realistic.

They would be talking with their heart and not their head.

Is Arsene Wenger the victim of his own success at Arsenal? Is Wright wrong to believe that the Gunners will be struggling to stay in the top four next season? While he may be jumping the gun to suggest that it might happen next term, others such as David Dein have pointed to the fact that the French manager can’t continue to perform miracles forever, and that eventually their restrictive wage structure will force them to go backwards.

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