And so another pre-season is upon us. Double training sessions, long flights, prestige friendlies, photo opportunities and signing sessions; just some of the mundane tasks that fill these quiet weeks leading up to the season starting. Arsenal kick off the season at home to Sunderland in nearly 3 weeks time, with much left to be decided. At the forefront of this is one Mr Robin van Persie. Our cap-i-tan took it upon himself to release a statement on his personal website stating that he would not be signing a new contract – fine, no problem with that, most Gooners didn’t expect him to. What irked most fans however, was that Robin went on to criticise the club, the manager and the board for a lack of ambition, and said that he and the club have very different ideas of how the club should be run and what direction to head in. This was what we feared. I was hoping that Robin would keep schtum, see out his final year, play great, score goals, and leave with everyone’s best wishes, but this statement makes his position at the club practically untenable. Wayne Rooney tried something similar and was offered a huge new contract which funnily enough caused him to retract his statement – all of sudden Utd were ambitious again. Arsenal won’t be doing that. The club are very proud of their self sustainable model (even if no-one else, including UEFA, seems to care) and won’t do anything to put that in jeopardy, especially not for a player who let’s face it, has had one great season and a lot of injury ravaged ones. I’m not one of those who thinks he ‘owes’ the club anything, or has a ‘duty’ to stay (it would be nice, right?), but I do think that publicly criticising the club as he did, is unacceptable. Clearly he wants to force through a move, and if he’s to do that without putting in a transfer request then he is entitled to all sorts of bonuses. He’s made his position untenable and is now available to the highest bidder.
To where dos thou go Sir Robin? As far as I’m concerned, the club CAN NOT sell him to another English club, end of story. Man City and Utd are both ‘ahead’ of us already, so to sell them our best player would be madness, and I think we could already wave goodbye to the league title. I’d rather chuck him in the rezzies than ship him up north. People will say that we should take a big fee from City if it comes, or else we could lose him for free next summer – how about we worry about next summer, next summer for once? Let’s think about this season, please. If Wenger told RvP that he’s not going anywhere, sure he’d be disappointed, but I think by Sept/Oct he would see sense and get his head down, work hard and try and win for this club. How does it look to potential suitors if you go on strike and refuse to play? Can’t see it. We’ve strengthened our rivals (particularly City) over the last few summers, and then faffed about with the resulting transfers fees to buy some unconvincing players. If the interest from Juventus is genuine then let’s get him out the door to them ASAP – I’d even take a lower transfer fee just to not have him sold to Manchester. There’s even an Ibrahimovic’d size hole in Milan that needs filling – Silvio?
Transfers have been so far so good to date this year, Podolski – good, and Giroud – sounds good (let’s hope he’s not another Chamakh), we’ve moved Vela out of the club, and Denilson’s robbed another year away on loan, but there’s still a ton of dead wood that needs shifting. Nick Bendtner seems to be linked to a different shit club every day (latest being Celta Vigo), Arshavin’s time is up, Chamakh and Park are both available (but who would buy them?) and there’s still uncertainty surrounding Djourou, Fabianski and Ramsey. If we can get a few of those out, the boss has already confirmed that he’s looking to bring in another one or two. By the sounds of it the M’Vila deal has gone very quiet, if there was ever genuine interest in the first place. One that’s hotting up is Santi Cazorla from cash strapped Malaga, which would be a fantastic signing. Versatile, experienced, quality. Plenty of uncertainty surrounding the club in any case – just another summer at Arsenal then.