Will Van Persie buck the trend of Arsenal talent drain?
With the Premier League season now over, the media turn their attention to potential transfers and contract negotiation. Arsenal will again be in the spotlight, not least because they have another prized possession in the form of Van Persie; with 30 league goals to his name, Arsenal will no doubt have to concentrate a lot of their pre-season energy on keeping him at the club.
The striker helped turn his team’s season around following a horrendous start to the campaign and helped ensure Champions League football at the Emirates for another year. It is this same nugget that might eventually keep Van Persie at the club. He has created the atmosphere and potential for Arsenal to have top names like himself in their side. Arsène Wenger has already made a statement in terms of his transfer policy this summer, with the confirmed purchase of German Lukas Podolski, for £10.9 million from Cologne. No doubt more new faces will arrive in North London over the course of the summer, which may be a crucial factor in RVP’s decision over his future. In a sense then, Van Persie has almost single-handedly created his own dilemma – if Arsenal had failed to achieve a top three finish then his decision would have been easier.
But will the “taking part” in the Champions League, or the fact that his family are settled in north London, be enough? Lucrative offers have already been rumoured. Suitors are thought to be from all over the globe for the PFA Player of the Year, with wealthy Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala the latest club to be linked. History also seems to be against his stay. Gaël Clichy, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fàbregas all moved on after receiving offers too tempting to refuse. If Van Persie stays it will be a major show of loyalty that other players who found tutelage at Arsenal didn’t show, something that Arsenal were evidently not prepared for leading to Arsenal’s woeful start last season. This is why it remains crucial to sort Van Persie’s future out as soon as possible, to avoid another reality check so early on into a football year, and to keep in touch in the league’s title race.
A forward line of Van Persie, Podolski and Walcott would strike fear into many teams across the country, whilst a fully-fit Jack Wilshere will also aid Arsenal’s hopes of a trophy next year. However those dreams are going to be far away from reality if the Gunners keep selling their best assets. The suggestions that Arsenal are almost a feeder club to the top sides in the world needs to shrugged off, and tying Van Persie to a longer contract will help that.
Along with the aforementioned, Patrick Vieira, Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry, Kolo Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor all took the initiative to move to where the success was, which also coincided with the bigger salaries. Their moves inevitably jolted Arsenal’s long-term goals of being amongst the best-of-the-best European clubs. Money was at the heart of most of these moves and with Wenger moving early in the transfer market, with Podolski signed, and Jan Vertonghen, Yann M’Vila and Clint Dempsey all reported to be on the manager’s radar, the Frenchman may have just realised that in order to be a successful club, he may have to spend a bit of cash. The romantic notion of player loyalty is not enough, neither is the idea that Arsène Wenger does well to inspire it.