Ljungberg follows Henry out the door

My personal favourite Ljungberg momentLjungberg joins West Ham

The big news today is that Swedish captain Fredrik Ljungberg has left Arsenal to join fellow English club West Ham United for around £3million. Previous speculation suggested that Ljungberg may have joined either Fiorentina or Manchester City but it was Arsenal’s London rivals that eventually got the signature of the current Arsenal squad’s longest serving player. Upon joining West Ham, Ljungberg had some big things to say about the Arsenal Football Club, his home for almost ten years.

“It’s all a bit sad. All the players from the undefeated team have left. Now me. I stayed as I wanted to be loyal, but I felt it was the right time to go. But at the same time I am happy. I want to go forward and with the people I have around me now I think it will be really good. I had great years at Arsenal and won almost everything. Not the Champions League unfortunately. We were so close, but I look back with great memories.”

I know that a lot of Arsenal supporters will agree with Ljungberg’s sentiments that “it was the right time” for him to leave – indeed, this analysis suggests it is the right time – but personally, the Swedish captain’s exit has left me absolutely gutted. Ljungberg has been, by a country mile, my favourite Arsenal player since I started supporting the club over ten years ago and I completely echo manager Arsene Wenger’s comments when he says:

“Freddie’s contribution to Arsenal Football Club was absolutely outstanding. His performances over the past nine seasons have been a major part of the club’s successes during this time, especially in our 2002 ‘double’ year when he scored and created so many goals from midfield. Freddie is a winner and always gave absolutely everything when he played for this club. He is an intelligent player and always combined this well with his fantastic fighting spirit. We thank Freddie for his contribution and wish him well for the future.”

There’s a lovely tribute on the club’s official website looking at Ljungberg’s best moments in an Arsenal shirt that you can find here. The photo I’ve included is a shot of my personal favourite Ljungberg moment; his lovely goal in the smash-and-grab 2-0 win over Liverpool in the 2000/2001 season. The joy I felt when Ljungberg’s slammed Robert Pires’ cross into the back of the net was unbelieveable. Thanks for the memories Freddie and I wish you all the best during your time at West Ham.

Wenger needs a signing to take the pressure of Theo WalcottLjungberg exit worries me

I recently ran a poll asking readers whether they thought Arsenal should sell Ljungberg and – interestingly – 57% (including myself) were opposed to the idea. Looking to the future, I believe that if Wenger wants to continue playing 4-4-2 he absolutely must sign a winger before the start of next season and my sentiments are echoed by The Cannon. I have stated time and time again that this is the area that needs a big boost and the exit of Ljungberg – a player who, in my opinion still had the ability to make a difference for Arsenal – highlights this even further.

For me, Alexander Hleb and Tomas Rosicky are not the answers to Arsenal’s wide-man troubles. Good players that they may be, they both consistently play better when deployed more centrally than out wide. It seems that Wenger is now relying on a successful season from Theo Walcott and that worries me because he is still so young. Although Cesc Fabregas came on a little earlier than most Arsenal supporters expected him to, a great season from Walcott should be a bonus for the club rather than a necessity. And in that regard, Arsenal desperately need an experienced wide player to fill the void left by Ljungberg’s departure.

What do you think?

Have your say on Ljungberg’s Arsenal exit by leaving a comment.



  1. He not was very productive in the last seasons I think this is the “right time”.

  2. I think Arsenal will miss his experience and presence in the dressing room. I don’t necessarily think he’ll have an amazing season with West Ham but I think he may have had a very useful one with Arsenal if he had stayed. Very difficult to predict what would have happened though because he has been so injury-prone. I’m sad to see him go.

  3. SF-what about his comments against the club and Arsene? I think he was no different from other players who rose through the club and left bitterly all because of the money. Don’t get me wrong he was a great player for us and his performances for the club will always remain a big memory. I didn’t like his opague criticism of Arsene and the club who nade him what he is. For the past two years he wasn’t producing and still wanted to stay ‘cos really the money was big; 70+ per week was a lot, spending on the treatment table and on the bench. I now believe that he didn’t leave for City or Florentina etc ‘cos he won’t get the wages he was getting at Arsenal. Its unfortunate that players who have had a chance at Arsenal and made money turn themselves to destabilise the club upon leaving; I’m really hurt about his comments. Its a lie, Arsene wanted to sell him in January long before Henry left.

  4. This is what I wrote on “Goodplaya” earlier today and how I see the situation:
    I have no problem with Freddie’s conduct over the whole transfer saga. It’s very, very sad to see him go (he’s always been my favourite Arsenal player and I think he would still have been very useful next year) but I don’t think he’s talking “tosh” with his comments. I’m sure Ljungberg was just saying what he thought was right at the time. You have to remember that when a player joins a club they are probably more concerned with saying that the club they are joining is on the up, is exciting and all that, so they’ll always want to make the club seem better than their old one. Like you said, Ljungberg doesn’t want to say “I’m coming here because I’m too old to play anywhere else” even if that’s how he feels.

  5. It is to be expected. Freddie knows what would await him as the year progressed: less and less time as young players like he was a decade ago develop and get the playing time. What is he supposed to say? “I’m not what I was, but I’m good enough to be what I was on a lesser team”? I don’t think so. Top athletes succeed in part because they convince themselves they are the best, and Freddie needs a challenge that meets his skills, and that will not batter him daily with evidence of his decline — which he would have got at Arsenal. This is great for him: he stays in London, he gets to help WH rebuild, he’ll get a lot of playing time, he will benefit by the change. Good luck to him.

  6. He wont get alot of playing time, he’s been useless and the fans will realise that soon

  7. Why oh Why is everyone having a pop at Wenger for selling Freddie,Look at the facts and statistics”Freddie was great but he has lost his game,26 appearences and 2 goals in two seasons isnt enough at any standard!.”Experience or no experience”
    Good luck Freddie,but dissapointed in people who were for the sale and now slagging it off!!

  8. Freddie wasn’t the answer. I voted to keep him in that poll SF, but from them comments, I’ve changed my mind. His experience wouldn’t mean a thing, he seemed like the sulk annoyed that the team was no longer the invincibles rather than adapting. He most probably called robin “dennis” and so forth. Good luck to him for the six months Faubert isn’t there.
    We need someone to compete with Rosicky on the left but the right side is still covered. Hleb will play most games it seems, but Walcott has been set realistic expectations that doesn’t seem like he’d be “relied upon” as the first team right winger. Also, Eboue can take his chance up the field, as it seems Sagna can.
    Let’s just hope Wenger does his shopping in the next week. Two things to think about though: Waiting till the end of the season for it, will suck, Reyes better go soon AND other than a striker, Wenger didn’t indicate that only the wings would be were he’d buy. Let’s hope he goes fucking gungho.

  9. to me freddie had become more of a liability than an asset to arsenal and whichever way you try to put it, it’ll boil down to business matters (the club got to cut down on unneccesary expenses you know).. he pocketed approximately 7m pounds (lay man’s math) in two years which he appeared only 26 times..that sounds real bad even if you argue injuries and stuff.

    I admit though that he’s given us countless memories over the seasons that will remain with us for a long time. About his comments, i got no beef coz everyone is entitled to his opinion on something. I wouldn’t like it if he spoke all ‘good’ but with the opposite in his heart so let him talk. men got egos to protect remember.

  10. Joy wouldn’t be so good if it wasn’t for pain… sunshine wouldn’t be essential if it wasn’t for rain…
    winning wouldn’t be so good if it wasn’t for loosing…

    hey all gunners should take heart. loosing last season and being constantly bombarded with critism and hate will make our victory neccessary, sweet and apparent. CHEERS!

    oh almost forgot.. beer wouldn’t be so great if it wasn’t for ?

  11. knightman – What are you babbling on about there??? Hahahahah.
    Samuel“His experience wouldn’t mean a thing, he seemed like the sulk annoyed that the team was no longer the invincibles rather than adapting.”
    I’m sorry but I just don’t agree with this. Freddie has been anything but a sulk in his time with the club – that’s what I’ve admired most about him. He’s often spoken out when he’s seen small problems (such as the need for the squad to toughen up physically) but never done so in a derogatory manner. I’ve already given my explanation for his comments and I stick by them. Like Henry’s exit; things will be said and the tabloids will have their fun but at the end of the day the club have lost two players (Ljungberg and Henry) who can hardly be called disloyal in this day and age, no matter the manner of their exit.

  12. Sorry to see Freddie leave.. He was a class act for us, on and off the pitch. However, the timing could not be better. Experience is valuable, but mostly on the pitch. If hes not on the pitch, then we dont get the full benefit of the player. I fell tho that we will have to replace him, as we are officially short of natural width. Hleb, agreed, is more central, and we cant put too much on Theo’s shoulder(no pun intended). I am excited as I really believe we will see a winger arrive.

  13. the thing is am just worried what he said about the stadium and broken promises about big players coming.

    well this is the same reason theirry henry left, i know for a fact end of this season, he must of asked wenger 3 things

    1. am thinking about leaving, who you planning to bring in this summer?

    erm, am happy with the current squad maybe one player (probarly named some unknown guy)

    2. what about you, aint you going to sign a contract?

    you know titi, i aint going to say anything, i always stick to my contracts

    3. so you going to go another season with the same squad, you promised me big signings last year?

    yeh, i feel we can achieve something with this squad, i have faith and belief in this squad, i aint going to change much

    theirry henry said give me a week to think about it

    then he is gone

    the thing is wenger is just getting rid of players, and we aint going to replace freddie and reyes, i would be SHOCKED if we sign anyone he has mentioned today he is HAPPY with the midfield

    he goes to say eboue, walcott, hleb, rosicky are the wide players

    central is denilson, fabregas, diaby, flamini and gilberto

    so i guess no more signings gunners

    another thing man city linked with nery castillo, we should get this guy, he is an amazing athlete and great player, may need to work on his team work ethic but a good signing, blady ell man city are set to sign him

  14. sam nix – I believe signing a winger is essential. Look at the players left at the club who can play wide; in my mind there’s only Rosicky, Hleb and Walcott. If Wenger plays 4-4-2 then we’re already one player short and relying on Walcott too much. Wenger will surely know this and a player should come in shortly. But who?

  15. Link

    there is the link guys

    this wenger guy is just too much, i get so frustrated with him sometimes…..

    we need a quality winger, who can play both wings i.e. ricardo quaresma is the solution

    but he aint going to spend fuck all

  16. I don’t believe those statements mean he is ruling out purchasing a wide player – just stating what is currently available. I don’t necessarily think Wenger will spend big but I still believe he will bring in a new wideman.

  17. spanish, honestly id love to believe that, i do think we need a wide player

    royston drenthe he is left footed he can do a job for us… £12m will do.

    i know wenger wants reyes back but reyes is a weather man, this guy should just get a job talking about the weather, and with the floods in the uk, he aint never coming back.

    if we can get reyes back then i think we be ok, but very unlikely

    ricardo quaresma, royston drenthe, these is what we need but i dont think wenger will sign them

  18. I’m sure there are some lesser-known players out there that Wenger will be looking at. We’re going to have to play that waiting game again.

  19. i dont know, spanish we have to wait.

    if we do buy a superstar we have to big money the way the transfer market has been going

  20. Eboue is no where NEAR nimble and fleetfooted/tricky enough to be a winger. Also, does anyone remember when he couldnt cross a ball to save his life?!?! Some good ones in big games, but not a good crosser of the ball. Not the answer for wing at all for me..

  21. He’s not the answer in my eyes either. He is explosive going forward but he can’t create the space for himself the way that Ljungberg and guys like Hleb can. He’s a wing-back, a damn good one when he’s on song, but he’s not a winger.

  22. SF: Agreed. In that list of Rosicky, Walcott and Hleb, none of them are natural wide men. However Hleb and Rosicky are naturally central players, while Walcott is a converted striker.. So, though we have players who CAN play out there, we dont have anyone who naturally plays out there. With our enormous pitch, it is ESSENTIAL we have a NATURAL winger…

  23. we just need a guy who can hug that wing line.

    am suprised we didnt go for andres guardardo, he is a wenger signing, he is off to deportivo

  24. You spoke about Guardado a number of times, GunnerShabz, and he seemed decent at the Copa America. However, we need a more experienced player in my opinion. I am disappointed we have missed out on Malouda – we could easily have paid the amount they requested. The only place I can see a top, top winger coming from is Spain and unfortunately I have no idea of who it could be. The other notion is that Wenger will play 4-3-3 and in this case, I think we are looking OK.

  25. I genuinely believes our young squad can be tittle contenders!
    I’m sick and tired of the Henrys and the Ljungbergs citing the”failure to bring in top players”as their reason for leaving.Why I find this particular excuse nothing short of childish is the fact that they themselves were little-known players when they came in,It is at Arsenal that they became the top players that are now sought by other teams.
    Who knew Ljungberg,Henry,Edu,Vieira and Lauren etc before they came to Arsenal to be the unbeaten team of 2003/04? pecisely no one.They either all came from mom-pop teams.
    I find it disrespectful that they should indirectly question the pedigree of Sagna,Fabrianski,Adebayor,Walcott,Diaby,Fabragas,Denilson and Eduardo.
    ”Why should Arsene Weneger change now?

  26. to be honest, we can play great football, but we need to step up the game next season.

    we just need a winger,

    royston drenthe, ricardo quaresma, robinho, nery castillo, martin petrov, SwP,

    i dont care who we bring in lol

    some guy from brazil, argentina, chile, mexico, afghanistan

    just bring them in

  27. I agree that the quality is there, Joshua, no doubt about that. But we lack quality in the wide positions. Everywhere else, in my opinion, is adequately covered except for out wide.

  28. What odds on Wenger bringing in an unknown winger after the Asian Cup? Stranger things have happened and there were some really beautiful players on show there from what I saw of it.

  29. joshua and SF

    we all can see what the problem is, we dont need a striker

    we just need a winger just so we can mix the play

    we dont have players who just run to the byline and cross, instead we have rosicky and hleb cut inside and play the ball

    we have to rely on clichy and eboue to cross directly

    i swear i would jump around naked on the street if we signed ricardo quaresma

    even if we signed ryan babel he could of been something but am suprised wenger did not make a single move

    alessandro mancini of roma is available at £11-12m

    he could be a good signing

  30. I dont doubt that Wenger will sign a winger this summer. Probably good with both feet, NOT a name signing. Kind of like the Sagna signing: Versatile and establised, yet able to push for a first team spot. I really doubt it will be a big name, and am positive that the press will be miles off in their predictions… Also, any validity on the Sendeors Juve runmours?

  31. The only person shitter at the club then Freedie is that new De Silva, I’ve watched him many times and trust me he’s Jeffers with a cool name

  32. Arse239.. uve watched him many timwes huh? you make it out to Croatia a bunch? he is class and will score way more than £16m(i nearly puked) Bent.

  33. While Maloudas is a very good winger, he is not top class. Overshadowed by Pires for years.. if Pires still fit, probably play ahead of him for France!

  34. alessandro mancini £11.8m will do it for roma

    ricardo quaresma £18m at least

    royston drenthe £12m max

    ricardo calvalho of cska moscow £8-9m

    elano of shakthar goal scoring midfielder £8-9m again

    maxi moralez of racing club, played brillantly at under 20s world cup £5m

    simao sabrosa £9m you can get him from benfica

    yoan gouffran £4m he can play on the wing

    samir nasri £14m but am not sure if he is a winger but does play wide but similar to rosicky

    swp around £10m from chelsea but will they sell to us

    nery castillo of olympiakos £10m and he can play wide left and striker

    i think best bet is alessandro mancini, we can get him

  35. From what I can tell of the Senderos rumour there’s nothing too substantial. I know some people who would love to see the back of Phillipe (Harlan!) and I wouldn’t be too against it if the rumour was true. Juve would suit him.

  36. Cheers SF.. Phillipe is a very good player, with a good heart and footballing brain. However… My old dear could DUST him in a 20 yard dash…

  37. there are rumours about stephan appiah linked to arsenal

    apparently some “source close to the player” suggested we was interested last jan for £8m

    now, wenger aint going to buy for central midfield if it ruins the prospect of diaby.

    but if he does get rid of flamini and song then we can get him, we need experience

  38. lol at sf

    why does everyone pick on arsenal for??

    angel di maria and rodrigo palacio….

    i would of love the see these players come to arsenal though

    angel di maria is something we need, in the first team squad

  39. Well anyway guys, I’m off. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion – let’s hope Wenger makes a signing soon to keep us all happy. Cheers.

  40. well just some more players for you lot

    deco is available

    juan roman riquelme is available

    eidur gudjohnson is available

    these are “super, super class players”

  41. deco is too old. Riquelme is a one man team. Doesnt know the meaning of the word team. And since when was Gundjohnsen anything other than a very good striker….

  42. I just want to say that Eboue was a winger before Arsene converted him to RB just to fill the space left by Lauren. He’s already a developed RW, that’s why he’s poor in defending and strong going forward. He crossed well for Henry to score in the match with MANU and his crossings when we played at WHL were great. Don’t forget he crossed for RVP to score that beautiful volley against Charlton, so he’s better going forward than at the back where his weakness in tackling and positioning always show. If he becomes a winger in the coming season then Arsene just wants to exploit his strong points for the good of the team.I’m still appalled by the dig by Freddie on Arsene, while respecting him on the great things he’s done for the club, my view about the guy has changed since yesterday. I realise he’s no different player. You don’t need to attack your previous wife ‘cos you’ve married anew.

  43. Yes, I’ll love for Senderos to move on. He’s never been able to impress me, I rate Djourou more than him. Italy and Spain will be good for him as the league is slow there. The jury is still up there for him though but I don’t think at 23 and being at Arsenal for over 6 years and tons of opportunities given, there is any development left in him. A defensive and a slow moving team will be fine for him.

  44. Arse239.. i would guess that you are a Spurs suporter as you obviously know nothing about football. leave this forum to people with a brain…

  45. Harlan: Good points.. I appreciate Eboue is a converted winger. He was converted to RB becuase he sucks as winger. One of the least techincal players in the squad, he would be spending more time tracking back from having the ball taken off him. I love Eboue, dont get me wrong. Could devlelop into one of the top RB’s in the world. But a winger.. no. Ver little, if any, ability to create space and take players on. His crosses are better now, but when he was taking over from Lauren, as you must remember, his crosses ended up in Fins Park! I have always said that crossing is learned, and obviously he has. I just prefer his crosses from RB!! Sayign that, I would love for him to have a blinding season and help us secure our title!

  46. My predictions for next seasons share of the spoils!
    FA-Man Utd
    Carling cup- Liverpool/Chelsea
    Champions League-Arsenal
    Obviously this is going to sound controversial to all Man Utd fans but it is not impossible.Will be more than fired up to clear the whole lot next season,Robin Van Persie,Eduardo,Adebayor,Fabragas,Sagna and Walcott will be too much for anyone in Europe to handle.

  47. Do you insult your former wife ‘cos you’ve got a new wife? He talked Dein, Henry and that he made up his mind ‘cos of all these people leaving. I’m telling you Harmers are offering the same wages that’s why he went there not ‘cos believes Harmers will be challenging for the title. He dropped Florentina ‘cos they offered lower wages and City too. The just wanted to stay on the treatment table and on the bench and still collect 70+. Arsene refused he had to take a swipe at him.

  48. Sf, please introduce numbering as it helps with referencing. I like this blog and its really growing. Keep it up.

  49. Alright mate, I’ll look into it. It’s probably a lot easier than I think it is so I’ll check out how it can be done. Thanks for the kind words.

  50. Freddie’s comments were he left cuz Arsenal have no chance of winning the league or European Honors, that West Ham is more ambitious. Freddie aint that good and hasnt been for a least a year now, who cares if he left, he woulda been sittin on the bench for the year anyways so it isnt like he was gonna help win anything. Even if he had experience, experience doesnt help when its sittin on the bench every game with an injury. Arsenal are better off without Freddie, let West Ham pay him for being a cheerleader

  51. Hey there Demetrio, long time no comment. I think the key was always to get Ljungberg fit and that was something that neither the player or Arsenal’s medical staff could get right last year. Whoever signs at West Ham seems to get hurt straight away anyway (Tevez, Neill, Faubert, Ljungberg???) so they’re definitely taking a gamble. If he stays fit he’ll have a good season – if he gets injured then Wenger has made a good choice.

  52. I agree, SF, if he would stay healthy, he could have a big impact, i just dont see him staying fit, seems as tho his body cant take the demands of the Premiership. I also agree with Harlan, i think who said he went foor the money. He would have done much better in Italia, growin up watchin the Messina and the Serie A, to me, it isnt as physical as the Premiership, i think he coulda stayed healthy and had a great season there, but he wouldnt have made the money he was making. I wish the best for Freddie, he gave alot to Arsenal the seasons he played. I dont agree with some of his comments he has made, its very much like Cashley Cole, maybe not as bad but he should just keep his mouth shut and get ready for the new season.

  53. I just don’t agree that he went for the money. His comments just weren’t as bad as the media have made out in my opinion. Have a read of the full interview and you’ll see what I mean. I honestly think the reasons for his departure to West Hamwere (1) a new challenge (2) he knows he’s not getting any younger, and (3) he wanted to stay in London, where his home is. I just think some of the comments about him have been too harsh (not yours in particular, but the general feeling around town).

  54. I agree about people being too harsh, we cant forget what he did for the club. A few of his comments i dont like, but i will always be grateful to Freddie, he played hard every game he played. I think its a good move to let him go, again i dont see him stayin healthy for long, i think he’ll pick up an injury and will have trouble recovering from it. I wish the best for him….. until he plays Arsenal!

  55. Yeah! Hopefully he won’t dive to win any penalties against us they way he would during his time at Arsenal. I lost count of the number of penalties he won through his tendancy to go to ground! 🙂

  56. SF-I don’t like that your Freddie guy now and I’m sure you know why. He didn’t go to Hammers, Arsene kicked him out ‘cos he didn’t fit in his plans. He was asked to go but knowing Arsene the gentleman, he won’t comment about it. He was booted out and he’s bitter. He wanted to continue to stay not ‘cos he loved Arsenal the weekly 70+ was better for him than playing in Italy and getting 35+ so he preferred to stay. So when Hammers came and promised to maintain his wages he took it. He talked about Dein and Henry leaving influencing his decision which was a big lie ‘cos Arsene wanted to offload him way back in January when Henry and Dein were still at post. I don’t the guy anymore ‘cos of his stupid comments. i don’t think he’ll get a hero’s welcome if he returns to the Emirates. A big liar and another traitor.

  57. “SF-I don’t like that your Freddie guy now and I’m sure you know why”
    Sorry, I don’t understand this. He’s definitely not a traitor and I really encourage you to read the entire interview – he’s not lying either in my opinion.

  58. It appears Eboue will be playing on the right wing rather than right back and wenger has given the clearest indication yet –

    wenger: “In the wide positions we can play Alexander Hleb, Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Eboue.

    “I am just looking to develop the players we have here already”

    “All these players are on their way up. They are not over the hill.

    “Their level is still rising and they are getting better and better.”

  59. Yes, I read that comment so it’s clear that he’ll not bring anyone to replace Freddie. My problem with current Arsenal play is the loss of our famed counterattacking abilities and this is mainly not helped by Hleb’s style of play. Hleb don’t move the ball forward but cuts in and at times bring it back and eventually lose it. His minimal role in the two matches showed glimpses of our counterattacking capabilities as Theo ran on the lines and sent in decent crosses. If we get a good LM who has pace or Reyes changes his mind then we can restore that quality of ours which is now missing our play. Remember it helped to score many goals through Freddie and Pires. So in the RM, I’ll tip Eboue and Theo to provide our major requirements this season.

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