Hello Gooners. I hope you all are doing fine. Now that most of the shock or shall we say inevitable dissapointment of Robin van Persie’s decision not to extend his contract with the club is let’s say, slowly sinking in.
I have to say, that I am gutted. Absolutely gutted. Because the simple fact is we had a team that would have surely challenged for top honours next season, with the new signings that we made. But, it always seems like a case of 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. It is really hard to take.
I am not angry at Robin van Persie. I haven’t started loathing him, atleast not yet, but like I said earlier he has lost a bit of credibility about him. The feeling he gave when he led the team out last season. The fact that he was Arsenal through and through. Grew up watching the club. Gelled the team together during a turbulent phase.
But, with that one update on his site, he has lost a lot of support from the fans who used to love him, chant his name, wear shirts with his name and even worship the guy.
I am sure you have read enough about how the club stood by him for 6 or so years and he actually delivered the goals only for a proper 2 seasons. So, I am not going to go there. But, all I have to ask Robin is, didn’t he even in the least bit feel obliged to stay back. Stay with the club he loved to bits till he hung his boots. Help the new crop of youngsters through. Assist Podolski and Giroud into the club.
Wasn’t sticking by him for so long ambitious enough. Wasn’t giving him the captain’s armband ambitious enough. Wasn’t making him the centre of the team ambitious enough. Wasn’t making him the best player, or rather make him look like a world beater ambitious enough.
Has cash really taken over the footballing world. Is money the only sole motivating factor in the game today. Aren’t there any players who would play for the club and the badge rather than the wages that were on offer? Gone are the days when young boys played the game just for the love of it. The generation of Giggs, Scholes, Adams, Bergkamp, Riquelme etc. are all behind us.
It is not the inevitable departure of Robin that hurts me. It is the manner in which he has done it. Not only does his update speak of a bloated ego, which I never thought he had but also cries out to other clubs to come and get him, with a patronizing “guys” added in there for good effect.
He says that the club and he disagreed in many aspects over the way the club moved forward. And it was an idiot like me thinking that it was for the board, the chairman, the manager, the shareholders, to decide how a club moves forward in footballing as non footballing matters. And not a player. The player’s job is simple to play and let the others do the business.
But in a world where money is the biggest motivation, the player has suddenly become a ‘larger than life’ figure, in footballing terms. Do you think Malcolm McDonald would have sat down with the board and the manager and decided that he should move forward. Would Dennis Bergkamp have done the same. Thierry Henry did it to some extent but his case was different. Heck, even Fabregas didn’t do it, as he quietly requested a move to Barcelona rather than come out with such scathing comments in the public.
Over the course of 18 months, did a single player become a larger entity than the club he plays for. Sad as it may sound, the answer to the above question is yes. The player has clearly held us to ransom, and we for the umpteenth time have succumbed to the plot.
Here is where a change in mentality is needed. The club has to become stronger. We should stop being a “stopover” club where players come in, develop themselves and leave for other clubs for the lure of money, or in Robin’s terms, silverware.
So, what now for the club. I think it is time we move on. Ivan Gazidis better get his freaking arse back to London, and quickly conclude a deal for the player to the highest bidder. “Not to Manchester City” you may cry out. But, I say, if they offer anything between 25 to 35 big ones, we shall bid our goodbyes to Robin.
Talk is how he will strengthen our own rivals. Then again, weren gonna do that anyway. It’s time we stopped looking at other clubs and how do their business, and probably start looking into our own club. Because it is not going to do us any benefit. Probably, van Persie will know what it is like to be in a team with so much tension, brashness and ego. He may even get to warm some benches.
If the club’s statement is anything to go by, they expect him to stay for one more year and fulfill his commitments. Like really? Do we really need a sulking player in the team. I mean, yes, RVP was a fantastic leader on and off the pitch last season. There’s no two ways about it. But, he clearly wants to move. There is really no point in retaining him. It will be like hanging on to your ex-girlfriend, though she has already fallen for another guy.
Come to think of it, I feel the signings of Giroud and Podolski already put us in a strong position. Yes, they may take their time to settle in, but here we have 2 top strikers in the primes of their careers, with 43 league goals between them last season. I really am relishing the prospect of seeing them lead our line next year, and would love it if we get back to a 4-4-2 formation. It gives us a fresh outlook.
Talk about M’Vila has gone up in the air. I feel the club should now concentrate on sealing the deals on Song and Walcott, and all those players with them dodgy deals, one or two years left. Walcott has been increasingly linked with a move to Chelsea, and with his usual target and best friends van Persie on the move, I think even he will reevaluate his position at the club. I say, if he has to leave, then make it fast. Because, last year’s mistakes shouldn’t be repeated. Walcott at times has seemed moody and disinterested last season. Could he be the Arshavin of 2011/12. I wouldn’t rule that possibility out. A deal would only go on to rejuvenate him.
About any other transfers we should make, or could make, I think it has to happen quickly before the pre season. With Bendtner, Vela, Chamakh and Park all heading for exits, we are really short up front. With the kind of luck, we have had with injuries over the past few seasons, I really wouldn’t mind convincing Bendtner to stay. He may be brash, arrogant, but hey, when you don’t have choices, you have to stick to your guns.
As far as captaincy is concerned, I cannot think further than Thomas Vermaelen. He epitomizes what the club is all about. Loyal, aggressive, committed. He has been linked with a move to Barcelona (there we go again), but I think he will stay at the club. He may make the odd mistake in defence, but there is no one in the squad right now, who is vocal and a leader from the front.
Moving on, the van Persie transfer saga has now become a public battleground between Messrs Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov. It is really sad to see that our club has come to this. A power battle between the clubs two majority shareholders, over a number of matters. The letter from Usmanov, I should say comes at a perfect and strategic time for them, in the business sense.
They have struck when the iron was hot. Using van Persie’s departure as bait, they have managed to capture the attention of the board as well as the fans, by staking a claim in the club’s matters, as well as putting forth their hopes and plans for the clubs if they were in charge. I am not really a business man, and I leave this to them. I really hope they can sort this out as quickly as possible and navigate the ship out of muddy waters.
What matters to me is the football, and that begins in precisely 43 days. This particular situation takes me back to 2007 when he had just lost Thierry Henry to Barcelona. Everyone was telling that there’s no chance Arsenal could do anything. But the class of 2007/08 really made us believe, for large periods of time, that they could bring silverware to the Emirates. There was a fresh emphasis, a new outlook and a real hunger. And that is what I can expect from the team next season.
Heroes come and go, Arsenal is forever.
I leave with you some fine articles I have read across the Arsenal blogging community in the past few days, most of them relating to the van Persie transfer saga. All I really enjoyed reading as well as thought-provoking ones.