How many times have we thought that when one of our favourite players leaves that we would never be able to replace him ? There are many examples but the ones that are still fresh in our memory are Ian Wright, Tony Adams, Winterburn, Overmars, Petit, Dixon etc.
Well, in my view, apart from Adams, they have all been replaced and I am sure that although they will always remain in our memories for what they have given to the club, new players have come in and performed to the very high standards that made us forget them. Actually, I'll go as far as to say that even Adams has been replaced as a centre back, by none other than Sol Campbell. Obviously Keown will need to be replaced in the near future so hopefully the youngster (was it Soderos ?) we bought from Switzerland will be the answer.
We do however have a player that could prove the most difficult to replace; yes, even more difficult than Ian Wright and Tony Adams. And I am of course referring to none other than Dennis Bergkamp.
For those of you that have seen today's match would understand what I mean; he comes on against a semi-professional team with the game already won, with the risk of getting himself injured when we have such an important match in 4 days time v Liverpool. Had he just strolled around trying to avoid injury I suppose we would have understood; but not Dennis, he played in the half hour that he was on as if it was the most important match in his life. He never stopped running, on and off the ball, scored one goal and had 2 cleared of the line, was desperate to create a hatrick for Jeffers and even ran back to help the defence.
How can we possibly replace such a great player who has given us so much pleasure in the last 7 years? We are talking about a player that is respected throughout the world by the fans but most of all by his fellow professionals. A player whose unselfishness has created hundreds of goals for his team mates and a player who has scored some of the best goals ever seen in the history of football. I am very lucky to have a video of all the goals that he scored before he joined Arsenal i.e. goals for Ajax, Inter Milan and Holland; when the hell is his new video coming out so that I can complete my compilation of all the great man's great goals ?
I really hope that he stays for at least another season with us so that it gives us a bit more time to find a suitable replacement. I really don't know of any players in today's world football that would be able to fully replace Dennis; no doubt there are players out there that can do some of the things that Dennis can do but is there a player that can do everything Bergkamp does ? I know that Pires can do some of the things as does Aimar but they are no match for Dennis.
For me Dennis Bergkamp's main strengths are : His football brain, his balance, his skill, his speed even at this age, his unselfishness, his determination even after all his successful years in football, his great goals and of course a team player, one that his team mates love to play with.
I now believe that we have a player that we will find almost impossible to replace and may have to change our style of play to compensate his loss.
Lets just enjoy him as long as we can !