Thursday, 5 July 2012

Wenger stabbed in the back again. Walcott next to leave?

So, Robin van Persie has finally spoken about his future and it very much looks as if he is off to grasses greener. Gutted!

He scores when he wants. He leaves when he wants.

It must be even more frustrating for Arsene Wenger than it is for us fans. Every time it looks as if he's getting close to a squad that might have a good chance of winning the league, one of his best players -- players that he has nurtured, developed and stuck with through thick and thin -- decides to leave.

Arsene Wenger has stuck with van Persie through some tough times. When he joined Arsenal in May 2004, he was very raw and had a bit of a bad temper about him, but Wenger helped him mature. He also stuck with him when he was accused of rape (later disproved) and through seemingly endless years when we didn't see the best of him because of his constant injuries. There were many Arsenal fans (I wasn't one of them) who even called for RvP to be sold, despite his obvious talent, because he spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch. But Arsene Wenger stood by him, giving him with a new contract in 2009 with much improved terms.

And how did Robin repay him? By leaving the club just when he's finally coming good. Just when it looked as if we had a squad that was nearing the quality to win the league, our best player leaves. Just like last year when two of our top players left after being nurtured for years. When they finally came good, they left in search of the lucre. Et tu, Brute?

RvP has of course dressed it up as a desire to win trophies and definitely, definitely not in any way whatsosever anything to do with the alleged £220,000 that he was offered when he was tapped up by Man Citeh/Juventus.

In a statement on his website, the former Arsenal fans' hero said:
"As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the boss and Mr Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club's future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.

"I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.

"Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don't want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.

"I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract."
Even assuming that we take what RvP says at face value, what right does any player -- however good and however well meaning -- have to dictate how the club should be run?

He did of course came out with the usual platitudes about loving the fans and the club, etc., etc. ad nauseum, but I'm sure the words sounded kind of hollow to most Arsenal fans, as they did to me, after he'd stabbed the club, manager and his beloved fans that he loved so much in the back.

He did leave the door slightly ajar by saying that further talks will take place with the club, but I would expect these talks to be about his exit rather than anything else, even if for no other reason than that the fans will no longer accept him as a player at their club after what he has said.

I really felt that we had a good chance of winning the league this season with RvP in the side. We're still in with an outside chance without him, but a lot will depend on whether we can further strenghten the squad, whether the new signings settle quickly and how the rest of the players feel about their captain leaving for the second consecutive season. At the moment I feel kind of deflated and I'm sure the players will too.

Now we must make sure that we sign Theo Walcott on a new contract or else he'll be off too. Like van Persie he's been nurtured as a player by Arsenal for many years and now that he finally seems to be maturing into the player we all hoped he would it's time for him to repay the faith that the club has shown in him. Of course we know how that situation ended with Fabregas, Na$ri and van Persie, don't we?

There have been reports in the press that Theo was waiting to see what van Persie did before making up his own mind whether to re-sign. Let's hope that these rumours were wide of the mark.

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