Arsène Wenger has always had an affinity for German-esque things which is hardly surprising considering his humble beginnings in Strasbourg and Arsenal seem to be looking to further Germanify the club if rumours of a sponsorship deal with Adidas are true.
There are many things to admire about the Germans and it’s not hard to see why Arsenal are attracted to German players.
For players, the languages for starters are quite similar (English being a Germanic language) and culturally we aren’t too dissimilar. Germans are quite often negatively portrayed by the English/British much in the same way American’s often think negatively of Russians despite being quite similar in many respects.
Contrary to popular depictions Germans actually have a very good sense of humour (if you don’t believe me check out the two videos below).
There are of course differences but the cultural differences are not so severe that adaptation is difficult.
The Bundesliga is my personal favourite league behind the Premiership and that is probably because I see many “English” qualities in the teams and because the football is more exciting to watch than La Liga or Serie A. In many respects it is closer to the EPL in style than any of the other leagues and probably why players from German clubs are generally successful in England and adapt quickly.
We’ve always had a slight German influence in Wenger, a fluent German speaker, who until recently was always in favour of a low-key pre-season in Austria over commercially driven tours of far-flung places.
With Jenkinson, Gibbs, Wilshere, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain (we could even throw Frimpong into the mix) all first-team regulars we could see an English/British players vs German players as to who has the most in the first-team line-up. Podolski, Mertesacker and Gnabry I fully expect to be (or continue to be in some cases) first-team regulars certainly within the next 2 seasons if not by the end of this one. Eisfeld I expect to be fighting Ramsey and AOC for a place (if AOC permanently moves into CM).
I never really grew up with any anti-German sentiments and have always enjoyed the company of German people and enjoyed German culture so I’m very pleased to see a greater German influence at Arsenal and a few lacklustre performances recently aside I think we are seeing the benefit of it.
Mertesacker has been getting the plaudits he deserves and his commanding presence, German organisational skills, discipline, reading of the game, mental toughness and “typical German centre-back” ball skills has seen a dramatic change for the better in the whole Arsenal defence. The rise of Jenkinson (who I was a fan of from day one and defended tooth and nail and am very pleased others have been converted) I feel is down to the influence of Mertesacker and his experience and presence on Carl’s left side. Vermaelen’s generally more conservative nature this season I feel is down to having Mertesacker as a more regular partner, the Chelsea game a clear indicator of this for me and Vermaelen’s renewed solidity I feel has permeated through to Gibbs.
Steve Bould of course is getting all of the plaudits for the teams improvement and he rightly deserves much credit but I feel in some quarters the influence of Mertesacker has been overlooked.
I wrote a piece on the influence of Mertesacker in July, click here to read it in full.
In Podolski I honestly think we have one of the most effective attackers in the league. He is talented that is for sure, technically he is fantastic but more importantly for Arsenal he is hard-working a real team player. Coming from a country where democracy is a relatively modern invention it’s not surprising that Germans tend to have a very team oriented mentality. This mentality mixed with his mental toughness, cool head, deadly left foot and generally sunny disposition (have you ever seen him not smiling for Arsenal? The guy looks like he’s holding a winning lottery ticket and getting a bl… I can’t say, this is a family blog… every time he takes to the field in Arsenal colours) is what I think will make him one of the most effective attackers in the league. He isn’t greedy which suits Arsenal well but he also isn’t shy of taking a shot and won’t play tiki-taka if he trouble the keeper which Arsenal need badly and something we’ve lacked for at least 12 years (Overmars for me was our last wide player who wasn’t afraid to take a shot and I include Pires and Ljungberg in that, they loved a bit of overplay despite the many goals).
I had seen glimpses of Gnabry in the reserves and must admit that to not feeling he was quite ready for the first-team but his few cameos recently have changed my mind and I’m hoping to see a lot more of this talented young German very soon. Despite this I hope we are cautious with him because as much as he like AOC in exciting the crowd I wouldn’t want the same level of expectation to be put on him because I still feel both have a lot to learn before we put them on a pedestal, although for Ox it may be too late.
Thomas Eisfeld has looked good in the reserves and I’m hoping to see more of him in the first team soon however he does have a lot of people in front of him so that might not happen for a while. Maybe a Cesc-esque stint out wide could help him prove his credentials.
The Bundesliga is full of quality and generally of reasonable pricing and may well continue to be a shopping ground for Arsenal. Bundesliga clubs clearly have excellent youth systems and a “surplus” of quality players means there are bargains to be had. I’m personally hoping for Arsenal to sign Großkreutz if we are in need of another winger.
Hopefully Adidas will sign a partnership with Arsenal as the quoted figures are sensationally good and that additional injection of cash and new merchandise may well fund a few more Bundesliga purchases. Also, the old Adidas Arsenal shirts were great.
Adidas started me thinking about the whole German connection and the more I think about it the more I want us to embrace it. I used to cry for more British players and thankfully we are getting them but I think the future is German and with the quality of players they possess and the attributes they can bring to the club you’ll probably agree why.
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