Arsenal and Man City clearly lost in translation

The universal language of football has been tested to the limit in recent weeks, as the camps of Man City and Arsenal alongside others try to piece together the important information surrounding their players. With the Carlos Tevez saga remaining a talking point, it appears further news has broken out, suggesting how his reaction was taken out of proportion based on an inaccurate and inadequate translation.

Tevez, conspiring with his agent, has suggested how there was no refusal to play on his behalf, but a misunderstanding. This, alongside a multicultural, multilingual Arsenal squad appearing to have issues based on a lack of understanding in their ranks, it seems football does in fact fall into language categories, and these can cause catastrophic problems to both teams and individual’s as they search for the success that they so desire.

Most football fans, City or not, have voiced their desire for Carlos Tevez to be sacked from the club, calling for his head based on this apparent show of arrogance and disrespect. This reaction is expected, as in Football, like any other job, the failure to turn up at work without injury or illness, would result in disciplinary action. This, like other scenarios, has followed that path yet with far more publicity. Criticism surrounding his choice not to bounce to his feet, put his best foot forward onto the pitch and in turn put his problems behind him is perhaps fair. However some sympathy is perhaps deserved.

A player of Tevez’s quality and illustrated attitude, it seems the scenario must have dire for a reaction of this magnitude. The desire to go back to his homeland in Argentina, alongside the ever changing starting line up of Manchester City , a player like Tevez would be offended not to play each week, leaving him desperate for first team football and a fresh start.

Resignation can only be found in the form of retirement, or an expired contract, and with neither of them an immediate option, he appears stuck in Manchester City quicksand. With City stubbornness preventing a move on a cheap, it seems Carlos has one option, to act professionally and continue with his career day by day – something he is usually so good at. Kia Joorabchian – an advisor of Tevez – suggests:

“You can criticise Carlos for anything but one thing you can’t criticise him for is his commitment when he’s on the pitch and you can never criticise him for wanting to play”

Tevez had supposedly said something along the lines of ‘How am I going to be in a mental state to play…’ not directly refusing playing time, however offering the manager a choice, something that effectively goes against the previous statement, as in this instance he showed few signs of commitment and passion.

Tevez is without doubt a talent, and has been exceptional in both the blue and red of Manchester. However his future is unclear. In a few years he will be in a hot country, away from the media pressure and leaving his football to do the talking, however until then, it seems that Manchester is a cold and lonely place.

The language barrier has become increasingly more apparent in other ways, with voices becoming louder within certain camps, suggesting that the translation between different languages and cultures can cause issues when playing. It has been suggested that Per Mertesacker has found it difficult merging with the likes of Brazillian Andre Santos and Frenchman Laurent Koscielny, as he attempts to acclimatise himself to English top flight football.

Mertesacker has looked far from confident so far, however the lack of unity within the defence could account for a large amount of initial problems that this makeshift Arsenal team has faced. An excuse? Yes, however arguably a valid one, something that should improve in time. Yet Arsenal should not have faced this problem, as last minute signings should have been secured weeks before, allowing extra time for the likes of Mertesacker to bond with his fellow defenders. However that did not occur, and this is the expected result.

Ultimately, the language barrier is always a problem that needs handling. However you would hope that clubs of Arsenal and Manchester City can handle these issues, like they have done so in the past. Whether problematic in manager-player scenarios, or problematic within a team, there is always the possibility that some may suffer. At Arsenal, and in all the top clubs, different languages and cultures are common, requiring adequate translators or leaders that can ingratiate new players into the squad.

The fact Arsenal football club was pieced together at late notice will without doubt make things harder, as a relatively new Arsenal team was formed, rather than adding to what was already available. Teams take time to form, and an Arsenal squad that has been remade with players from all over the world, a settling period is bound to have been expected. However with the gunners lying 15th in the Premier League, settling in must happen sooner rather than later.

Article courtesy of Patrick Archard from This is Futbol
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