RvP: Dawning Of A New Era

Phew, glad you could make it today. Took me a lot longer than usual to get here, it’s a hell of a climb over the mountain of towels that have been thrown in following the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United. Thirty-five years ago today, Elvis Presley died. Two legends stopped in their tracks on the same day? One had achieved, the other flattered to deceive.

There is no doubt that to lose a player of that quality is a blow but it’s a strange state of affairs when a club sells its best player and you look back at the summer’s transfer activity, reflecting that it has been quite good on the whole. That’s not to dismiss Robin van Persie lightly, you cannot legitimately belittle a player whose form in the last five years is a goal every other game. He has had injury problems but has been fit for a season and a half. Don’t forget the majority of those injuries were impact, poor challenges by himself or an opponent.

According to David Ornstein, van Persie was told on Sunday before the match in Cologne that he was being sold. That fits in with the 20 minute runout. United have reportedly paid £24m for him with little information about the detail although the BBC from London believe that Arsenal are receiving £22.5m with £1.5m if United win the title or Champions League over the course of the next four years. I guess the ultimate irony would be if they won the one of the two with van Persie out injured for most of that particular campaign. Whether those figures are correct depends on to whom you are listening; United will claim lower, Arsenal undisclosed and sources at the club, higher. That’s the way of the footballing world. It’s a fool’s game to claim to be ITK.

So is the deal good for Arsenal? There are valid arguments to suggest it is, spurious ones as well. Ultimately, the finances suggest it is good in the short-term for the club. In some quarters, it is profiteering; others sensible business practice. Arsenal could – in my opinion, should – have kept van Persie to the end of his contract. Yes, it was giving up £24m but that money could have been made up in prize money. The club chose to take the definite cash instead. I understand that. I think from the footballing perspective that Arsenal might have achieved more with the new additions and van Persie at the club for a season. There are no guarantees though and history errs on the side of failure. Whether the deal is good for Arsenal will be seen next May.

That statement was the millstone around van Persie’s neck. Reports suggest that it was the straw which broke the camel’s back as far as the manager was concerned. He knew that the Dutchman wanted to go and despite a softening of the player’s stance with recent signings apparently matching his ambition and him signalling a willingness to sign a new deal, none was forthcoming. There has been a lot of speculation but we all know that once the manager has made a decision about a player, he rarely changes his mind.

Generally though, it is much easier to spend money when it is someone else’s which is where the arguments about capitulating to a player’s demands and paying others similar increases falter. No-0ne ever comes up with a substantive answer where the funding comes from. FFP – not quite dead in the water but certainly listing – precludes funding from a Sugar Daddy. Oh yes, they can invest in the asset purchase but not in the operational cost. Sure, we can renew the commercial deals. Can’t we? If it was so easy, why is not happening now?

Undoubtedly United have strengthened their squad, indicating that Ferguson is adhering to Arsène’s philosophy of scoring more than you concede. To some extent he has ignored what was considered United’s achilles heel last year; the defence. Whether a new striker is enough remains to be seen.

The key to all this is to reinvest the moneys. Do Arsenal need to do so now? The key is buy quality and for supporters to avoid becoming obsessive about the price. Cazorla cost less than Fletcher, a signal of lunacy in some quarters or desperation. Good business in both cases if objectives are achieved. The question is where to strengthen? The forward line has some depth despite the sale with Giroud and Podolski. They bring different strengths to the squad than the Dutchman, certainly the Frenchman is more of a target man than van Persie.

Given the choice though, the strikeforce would not necessarily be my first addition. Giroud, according to Grimandi, was an insurance policy. Arsenal need another one if the manager decides the money on offer from Barcelona is good enough to sell Alex Song. I don’t know who they have in mind for that role, if anyone at all; they will have. That and a substitute forward would be enough for me; Chamakh and Bendtner might think there is some hint of reprieve but I don’t see it although the possibility seems more likely in the Moroccan’s case.

Is that enough for you? Others want more defenders, more versatility across the back. I honestly do not think that necessary, they just needed organising differently, schooling in the basics. According to the interviews, that is happening with Steve Bould taking charge of the back four. Another goalkeeper? Some demand an older head, more experienced. Is Jens Lehmann busy? Complaints are rife that we have the so-called deadwood to shift, why add an ageing reserve to the squad? Are they guaranteeing better performances than Fabianski when required? I am not convinced of the argument in that sense.

Some are dismissing the new signings, the specious argument being that they have never played a minute of Premier League football. It is an argument I do not comprehend, it is just ludicrous. That being the case, no signing from outside of these shores should ever be made irrespective of the 100 caps they have gained for their country or the champions medal in another league. It also rules out signing current poster boy, Yann M’vila or is the hypocrisy of that stance now sinking in?

I expect some transfer activity in the next sixteen days. This transfer is more Stapleton than Brady, more Nasri than Fabregas. The player has made his move for the money – it seems strange to criticise for something we would all do although diminished by the sums involved – and foregone any longevity in the Arsenal pantheon. So be it.

With the season just days away, we move on. Sorry the vituperation you wanted isn’t here today, others with quantify it more gutturally than I.

’til Tomorrow.

606 thoughts on “RvP: Dawning Of A New Era

  1. Bradys right foot says:

    Well have to differ on this statement mate. I dont see why he couldn’t have articulated these points behind closed doors without going public. He had a responsibility to the club and the statement smacked of agent speak.

    Anyhoo if at the start of the summer someone had said you’ll get Poldi Giroud and Carzola but you’ll loose RVP you’d have taken it and thought you’d done well out of it. The emotional distress of loosing an RVP has to be countered by the fact the squad is stronger overall.

  2. Bradys right foot says:

    Off to bed, the scousers are in meltdown rumour has it were back in for Sahin still think they’ll get him with Madrid seemingly pushing him to Liverpool.

  3. earflow says:

    Is it that M’Vila has burnt bridges or is it that that he has not demonstrated maturity in his euro ‘performance’?
    What level of maturity is required?
    Is Biglia considered more mature or more viable?

  4. Dean says:

    Has anyone here questioned whether football has just gone too far now?

    Will financial fair play ever evolve to bring the game back to anything resembling sanity?

    Captains for Sale

    It saddens me to say that I accept many of your points are correct. I believe that you accuratley observe alot of what is happening. But I dont like any of it. And I think I am joined by many of the people who post here when I say I do not want to invest any emotional stock in something as cynical and greedy in nature as the thing you observe. Giving in would be taking that to the next level.

    I can honestly say if I were a United fan I would not enjoy watching Wayne Rooney score goals for the club I supported after the ‘lack of ambition’ stunt he pulled that eventually saw him recieve a kings ransom. That behaviour is odious. It’s sick. And if it’s the real word I quite frankly want no part of it. It completey betrays the possitive spirit of the game of football and sport and reduces it to a game of numbers.

    I sympathize with those who attend games regularly and spend thousands of pounds to do so. I can only afford to attend Arsenal matches on rare occasions. For those that do regularly the sense of financial injustice must run deeper. I’m no economic expert, but it seems clear that our closest rivals including those that just signed van Persie do not operate on a sustainable level. If there is any truth in the figures being banded about for what vPersie is being paid at united surely it would be irresponsible for Arsenal to have even entertained it.

    The simple fact is this: Robin van Persie could have not released that statement. He could have stayed at Arsenal football club and signed an extension that alone would have made him rich beyond his wildest dreams not to mention his little sponsorships on the side for addidas and edam.

    He could have continued been the focal point of a spectacular team in a fantastic squad that play in a spectacular stadium in one of the most desirbable cities to live in the world. His children could have stayed in the school where his wife and mother have told the press they are very happy and settled.

    What caused him to reject and uproot all that? Ambition doesnt cut it in light of the new signings. So its simple he wanted more money. More money than he could ever spend. Arsenal for whatever buisness reason di not feel inclined to meet those demands..and because of that hes off fuck you all ta ra.

    Buisnessmen an boardroom executives seem to be greedy boring fuckers on the whole…vPersie is supposed to be sportsman no?

    I dont want to cheer someone like that on Captains for Sale, regardless of his undoubted talets. Regardless of the clubs buisness models and motivations.

    In all honesty do you?

  5. ASH says:

    @ Captains for Sale

    Did Nasri, Clichy, Fabregas, Adebayor, Cole, the Belarus and others wanted to stay?. No all of them wanted to go. Some for money, some for trophies…alledgedly. You cant blame the club for selling players that want to leave. Would I have liked to see Arsenal make a stand at some point and say: “You have 1 year left on your contract so you play for us next year aswell”..ofc I would, but I am not in charge. And to be honest Footballers dont really have a great track record if they want to go. Most have awfull years with a lot of drama attached to it.

    The youth thinghy is really not in tune with the “we want silverware now” crowd. Young players are notorius for having great strides, but also bad periods during a season. That being said we still get really promising talent up through the youth ranks. Personally I cant wait to see what Yennaris will bring when he gets a little older.

    RvP did something incredibly stupid in going public with that statement. Had a player like Adebayor done the smae he would have been crusified by the supporters. With RvP everybody(almost) just shook their head in disbelief and uttered: “Did he really say that”.
    I would have fired an employee for a statement like that and in football that equals a transfer.

  6. Ole Gunner says:

    Captains for Sale; How would you have managed it. What could have been done to not sell our Captains to rivals?

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