Thursday 12th July 2012
When I first heard of Robin van Persie’s desire to leave Arsenal I was surprised and thought, ‘well it’s fair enough, he’s been very loyal to them for the past eight years.’ But then another thought struck me: maybe it’s far more a case of Arsenal being loyal to him! A large proportion of his time with the Gunners has consisted of the Dutchman spending time recuperating from injuries. Last season was arguably his first season of being a prolific and consistent injury-free marksman, so now he pushes through for a transfer. Could it be that he has wanted out more than once in the past eight years, but didn’t feel justified enough to do so having not given that much to the Arsenal cause? With this in mind, it also seems strange that the first time he has publicly questioned the ambition of the club is when they have actually made some decent signings early in the transfer window as opposed to those ‘panic’ purchases (Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos) on the last day of August last year.
Arteta flourished in the second half of the campaign while the other two were average at best although Mertesacker did get injured in February and missed the remainder of the season. It seemed strange that Arsene Wenger spent the kind of money that he did on them when players in the class of Gary Cahill and Christopher Samba were available for what is a pittance for top professionals in today’s football. Although going by Samba’s move to racist hot spot, Russia, it would seem that money was the highest priority on his agenda, so negotiations would have been fraught.
If there’s one position where Arsenal need to strengthen after the signings of strikers, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, it is in defence where they conceded 49 league goals last season. Maybe van Persie sees this, but knows the club will not pay the fees that are asked of them – whether they’ve already gone over their ‘allotment’ with Poldolski and Giroud we’ll wait and see. Or maybe it was a case of van Persie thinking, ‘well, they’ve bought two quality forwards, they don’t need me now,’ as in he felt obliged to stay at the club in the past because he thought he may be leaving them in the lurch as it were.
He accused or rather said that he and the club do not share the same ambition in terms of how they move forward from their current state, which is still healthy after finishing in 3rd place. Tottenham Hotspur fans would sell their grannies to have the seasons that Arsenal have had for the past fifteen years including the one just gone. But one would expect that if he truly loved Arsenal he would want to try and push on with the club particularly with the signings that have been made so far.
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