Robin Van Persie | To Be Or Not To Be?May 24th, 2012 | Posted by in Arsenal
Are Arsenal fans EVER going to have a relaxing summer? Robin Van Persie’s delicately poised contract situation means not, for the summer of 2012 at least. The handling of last summer’s ins and outs was frankly nothing short of a disgrace, and alarm bells are ringing yet again. We knew Cesc was going, we knew Nasri was going, so why didn’t we facilitate getting them out the door quicker, thus giving us enough time to recruit top quality replacements? Cesc ended up leaving 16 days before the transfer window closed, Nasri just 9 days later. I’m not here to knock the likes of Arteta, Mertesacker and Santos (in fact I think they’re all decent players, Arteta especially) but they’re not in the same league as the 2 best players we had at our football club. During last summer, the club will have no doubt noticed that our next best player’s contract had just 2 years left to run. Did they decide to get Robin and his agent into the boardroom and effectively offer him a blank cheque? No, they decided to let things play out, and here we are 12 months later in a pretty sticky situation (not to mention the same sticky situation with Theo Walcott).
At 28, Robin knows that this will be the last big contract of his career, and he’s rightly thinking long and hard about whether he wants to commit to Arsenal or go elsewhere. Some on Twitter have suggested that he ‘owes’ the club in some way, and that because the club stood by him through his injury problems he should in some way ‘repay’ the club. Anyone who still believes that this is how the world works is deluded. You can see that Robin loves this club, I think he actually WANTS to stay, but doesn’t see enough reasons to do so (whether that’s money, signings, ambition, trophies or all four). Wenger has made it clear that he intends to keep Van Persie next year regardless of whether the Dutchman signs a new contract, a move which I’d agree with. Plenty before me have eloquently emphasised how crucial the man is to the team, it’s quite obvious we’d be up shite creek if he leaves the club. But his on pitch performances aren’t the only reason why I’d like to see Robin stay. If Man City or Real Madrid come in with a £30 million bid which we decided to take (on paper not bad business for a guy who will be 29 in August and has 1 year left on his deal, right?), I’d have absolutely zero confidence that we would spend that money on an adequate replacement(s). Just look at what we did last summer.
Like Wenger, I’m not one who thinks that spending is always the answer, but I do think that the club have severly mis-managed transfer and contract negotiations of late. Far too much time and money is spent on tieing poor to average players down on ‘long term contracts’, rather than rewarding those who deserve it, and clearing out those who don’t. For instance, we’re currently paying Bentdner £52,000 a week, and he’s out on loan at another club. Squallici is on 80k, Vela on 40k, Almunia on 60k – the list goes on and on and doesn’t make for pretty reading. We desperatley need to clear out the dead wood that is rotting our great club, and replenish with real quality that will, I’m afraid to say Arsene, cost money. Let’s hope that our captain is there to greet a fresh, hungry and talented squad come pre-season.