Managing Arsenal is a simple job, isn’t it? A squad of finely-tuned athletes, well-honed in their craft and never injured. Well, unless there is a competitive match to play. It is not as if we can blame internationals this time either. Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Koscielny have all withdrawn from their countries upcoming friendlies with the the England youngster apparently already ruled out from this weekend’s clash with Sunderland. It must be the equivalent of having a £5m Ferrari in your garage but not being able to drive it because a particular nut and bolt keeps needing to be replaced and those replacements are as knacked as the originals.
But that is the essence of the squad system, a loyalty to one another. In fact the Ferrari analogy is probably not the best; it’s more like a 1970s British Leyland plant, the players are the unions and its one out, all out.
He’s apparently going to be subject of a new and improved bid. You can tell that the media believe this is going to happen, not just because of the exclusives carried by several news outlets but that pictures of him smiling in the Dutch training sessions have made the back pages. No longer a slave but soon to be a free man. Well, not so much free but around £20m. Noticeably, the Arsenal asking price of £25m is now reduced in reports to £22m, is someone preparing us for something?
This morning’s Daily Telegraph carries the warning from Red Action, that van Persie can expect to be booed on Saturday should he remain at the club. That presumes he will take any part and if Arsenal are negotiating with United – which is a big IF – then I am not sure that the Dutchman will be in the squad. I know Samir Nasri was last year but we were desperately short of midfield players and did not have a replacement already lined-up. This time it is different and at best, I can see the Dutchman being a substitute in those circumstances,
I do and I don’t understand the booing. Of course I understand the sense of betrayal, how poorlyTeam van Persie have managed the situation, how he has taken his Arsenal career and ripped it into shreds for the sake of money. That is all van Persie is about; money. Having set himself up as an idol, he has turned out to be another false one. I understand how that will make people want to vent their displeasure.
But I don’t understand how anyone can boo an Arsenal player at a match. I don’t ‘get’ that; I just don’t. It is nonsensical; it is not supporting Arsenal, willing them on to win. I would understand a muted reaction, a lack of enthusiasm toward him but surely the essence of supporting a team is to encourage through good times and bad? Still, elements of The Emirates have previous in this respect so it would come as no surprise.
As observed, his programme notes will be interesting. Has he written them for a start? Will they amount to a mea culpa? It is hard to see how van Persie (a) remains captain in these circumstances and (b) can avoid writing about his statement. To ignore current events would be laughable and is impossible. Indeed, it would be another PR own goal to miss such an opportunity to give his version of the whole tawdry affair. Of course, it would be filled with platitudes, about how he was leaving for ambition but the summer transfer activity betrayed that lie. Will he admit that this is his last pay day? I could respect such honesty.
But enough of him, let’s talk about HIM. Oh yeah, the exodus begins. I would be tempted to cast Nicklas Bendtner as Moses but I am not sure that his ego would allow him to take the role; he would want top billing. Which is a pity since his abilities do not actually warrant it. He has laid out his conditions for leaving Arsenal and that he has concrete offers from foreign fields to follow up. Take them Nick, take them.
I understand the desire to stay in London to be close to your offspring. But there are no London clubs with vacancies in their strikeforce who can offer you Champions League football and regular playing time. None. Spurs aren’t in the Champions League; Europa League, yes. Chelsea already have one duff striker, I am not sure that they want another. Surely the hint came last season when Sunderland were the only ones who took you on loan?
Having an ego is a necessity as a footballer but being able to produce quality form consistently is a fundamental requirement at the top clubs; you could not do that at Arsenal. We even have Marouane Chamakh ahead of you in the striking queue; I don’t think Arsène is going to change his mind. One of those concrete offers, Nick, take one or it will be a season of nothing but Carling Cup football if you’re lucky. And that would be the waste of a career.
This is now the reality for players at big clubs, fringe players. The days of wine and roses are over – relatively speaking – as the upper echelons take more money, those in the shadow find that the current vogue to be perceived as playing fair financially, even if you’re not, is undercutting wage packets. The question is whether egos allow them to take pay cuts or forgo pay rises. Whilst maintaining your income is nice, is it really worth a lifetime of regrets at wasting years of your career?
Finally Song is not leaving Arsenal according to the manager and The Sun, except that the same paper carried Arsène‘s words and then reprinted Spanish media reports that a Catalan vice-president was in London negotiating the fee. Talk about covering all bases…