It’s summertime in England. Wimbledon has ended, the school holidays are about to begin and the back pages are filled with rumors of player transfers. And, as is all too often the case, Arsenal players’ future all too prominently.
Last year, it was the sagas of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri that went down to the wire. The club, all along, claimed both players were staying – yet we all knew they would leave.
Now history repeats. Looking back on the sensational 18-months, Robin van Persie has decided not to sign a new contract claiming he and the club don’t agree on how to bring success to North London.
It’s funny that during the injury-plagued first six-and-a-half years with the club – when he spent way too long on the treatment table and too little time on the field – he wasn’t so worried about the lack of silverware. During those dark days the chances of any big team wanting him should Arsenal have decided to have got rid were pretty small. The guy was forever injured.
Footballers have short careers. It is thought that the Dutch striker earns something like $120,000 a week. Not many people I know earn that type of money in a year let alone a week. Manchester City, with the deep pockets of Abu Dhabi’s rulers funding them, are thought to be willing to offer him three times that to move to the Champions. And let’s be totally honest, who wouldn’t accept a job offer involving such a substantial increase?
van Persie is probably right to cash in. He is 29 years old, coming off the back of an uninspiring performance in the Euros and many suitors, looking for a better bang for their buck, will treat his injury record with caution. Sign him on a four-year deal and there will be no resale value and the risk of serious injury will get higher and higher.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be all too aware of this and will probably be happy to cash in on the striker. With Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski already recruited, and both heavily left footed, it seems that for all his protestations, to the contrary, he has been long planning for his captain’s departure.
Whether these two are enough to help Arsenal end their trophy drought remains to be seen. Keeping van Persie is also no guarantee of silverware. But Wenger has set about ripping the guts out of the young team he had been building, getting rid of dead wood that had hung around too long on high salaries yet offering way too little quality.
With Podolski and Giroud coming in and hungry to prove their worth in the Premier League, Mikel Arteta looking to build on last season’s impressive debut season,, and Jack Wilshire hoping to return early in the new season, Wenger may be thinking that van Persie, for all his heroics over the last season-and-a-half, is still a link to a team that was steeped in failure and that it is time to move on.