Sod it all, I’m not expected to give an introduction to this post, am I? We’ve all known that Robin van Persie’s future lay in the balance this summer; and while we all beat our intrepid chests on twitter with regards to him being a true and loyal captain, we knew there was a serious possibility of him leaving. But this announcement on his official website still hit me like a time-travelling DeLorean from the sixties. There were words on the screen that I found it difficult to believe were true; naughty pixels running across its length and sticking their tongues out at me in equal parts mischief and hubris. I wasn’t living in denial. I think we had all made peace with the eventuality of van Persie leaving the club. But I’m sure no one expected the ball to be set rolling like that.
Right, opinions are like arseholes: everyone has them. Here’s mine on display…
Purely on a technical level, van Persie is brilliant and that fact won’t change irrespective of the multitude of gooners gnawing on sour grapes online. His quality is unquestionable; he had roughly two injury-free seasons in eight, but we would all be defending him right now with words like ‘momentum’ and ‘prime age’ and ‘he’s come good and the good will continue’ if he had signed a contract extension. And that doesn’t change. This is surely a huge loss; the club’s captain and best player waving the white flag and legging it to pastures greener two seasons in a row would bring any club to its knees. Or at least shake it up a bit. There’s no need to pretend we won’t miss Robin van Persie football-wise. We will.
Was PR hara-kiri. As one wise soul said in 140 characters, van Persie managed to alienate a vast majority of the Arsenal fan-base in an announcement wherein he professes love, affection and respect for them. Quite destructive love.
I personally find the entire blog post to be cheesy, demeaning to our intelligence and cliché-ridden like holes in cottage cheese.
Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.
Loopholes are jumping out, eagerly raising their hands and going ‘Me first!’ At the outset, I think we can all agree that if van Persie had respect for Mr. Wenger, this announcement would not have been made behind the club’s back during a period when he’s under contract, being paid an Arsenal-made cheque and has agreed to a media blackout until the situation becomes clearer. As for disagreeing about the way Arsenal move forward, pffft.
We can’t give him Messi on a platter. In fact, if he needed a statement of intent, the club were giving it to him this summer (although Podolski and Giroud seem like replacements now) and he’s already *cough* said it’s not about the money. The very fact that he doesn’t divulge any details about where their visions for the club differed says that he’s speaking a load of tosh. Man City wafted the pounds and dollars and dhirams at him, and Robin went a-sniffin’.
I’m not saying that’s wrong…
Money is good, I like money. More money is even better. If he’s getting double the paycheck somewhere else, and arguably a better chance to win something tangible, he’s fully entitled to make the move and refuse Arsenal’s contract. But, in addition to his sudden outburst that reduces Arsenal’s negotiating power in this deal by spades and spades, I also take issue with the fact that he wants to dress up a better monetary deal as something haloed and noble on his part.
Man up and say they were blowing the money pipe at you, so you toddled off. Writing half-baked accounts about how you didn’t even ask for the fiscal part of the contract and just focused on what the club’s long-term strategy was, is cringe-worthy in the extreme. What long-term strategy do City have? I just used City and long-term in the same sentence, I should get a medal.
As for his closing lines about loving the club and fans, they echo back from my tinfoil heart. I’ve long since stopped putting players on pedestals, this just enforces that belief. It’s a profession, and the players will always treat it as such, sweet-talk and apocryphal loyalty aside.
Where this leaves us…
Well, it doesn’t leave us anywhere pretty, but this summer is still not the unabashed train-wreck that last summer was. We’ve brought in decent cover for van Persie’s departure, and the funds from his sale should (read: must) be allocated to plugging other gaps in the squad, so we can compete. A repeat of last August would be markedly unpleasant.
As for what the club will do with the player, there are broadly two options. They either sell him to the highest bidder (which won’t be much now after his heart-bearing) or tell him to see out his contract, disagreements be damned (We seem to want the second one). I think the relationship between player and fans will be too fractious for there to be an open possibility of him playing at the club again, so that leaves us with putting him on the bench or asking him to train alone. It would be cruel, it would be something that Arsenal don’t generally do, and it won’t really help anyone if looked at sensibly. But Arsenal will continue to be perceived as a selling club as long as they indulge in this carousel of departure. The buck has to stop somewhere.
To close, I’d just advise all fans to blur out the names on the back of football jerseys for a while. Just concentrate on the name up front. Feel better already, huh?------------
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