Well it came to this. After months of hand-wringing, doom-saying, and orgiastic Twitter speculation (normally I’d say guilty as charged, but in this matter, at least, I’ve mostly been a spectator), Dutch striker Robin van Persie has announced he will not re-sign with Arsenal.

robin van persie

Robin van Persie says it is trophies rather than money that has swayed his decision on his Arsenal contract. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images (via @guardian, guardian.co.uk)

I don’t really think most Gooners were shocked by this, and have been — as one of my Twitter followers put it — “quietly preparing for this for months.” I can’t say I’m shocked either. Disappointed, certainly, but not devastated. I mean, it’s not like we haven’t been through this before. A couple of times. In the last year.

I do have to say that RvP feels a bit different, in that Fabregas was departing for his home country, which, while still hard to go through, is understandable. And while Arsenal are without question a world-class club, Barcelona are one of the best in the world in a league that plays technically better football. So, okay. With regards to Nasri, the manner in which he left and how he’s conducted himself since have gone a great way to soothing the blow from his departure …and converting it to full-on seething hatred — to the point where every Arsenal fan in the world rejoices any time he fouls up. Robin, on the other hand, has more of a sense of betrayal. And this is just how I feel personally, but I really thought he would stay; I thought he would sense the optimism surrounding the club, want to play with emerging talent like Theo and Ox and new imports Podolski and a rising Giroud. He seemed to take such joy in that 5-3 at Stamford Bridge or his amazing performance against Spurs that marked a turning point in our season, coming back from 2-0 to thrash Tottenham 5-2.

But here’s why I say it’s not devastating. It’s a trope, but Arsenal are bigger than any one player. We lost Fabregas and Nasri, started the season hovering around relegation territory, but rallied to finish third. Last year, we finished fourth. With Fabregas and Nasri. We do have new talent coming in (Podolski/Giroud) and up-and-coming talent (Ox/Walcott). Come December we’ll have Jack Wilshere back (fingers crossed). And, if we do indeed sell RvP in the next few weeks, Arsène will have more time to find a replacement than last year’s summer transfer window. He could bring in, say, Clint Dempsey? (This would be my dream, not only because Dempsey’s good and peaking, but also as an American, it would be great to see one of the three icons of your national side play for a top EPL squad). It’s not the end of the world. We’ll be losing one of the top strikers in the world, yes, but we’ll keep calm and carry on. We usually find a way to.

I will say, however, that this is an issue that Arsenal need to address and soon, preferably with silverware. If we keep losing top players to other clubs, it snowballs. We acquire the perception that Emirates isn’t a place where you can win silverware, prompting more of our top players to look for perceived greener pastures, making it less likely we’ll be able to sign top transfer targets, making us a less competitive side, etc. etc. With or without RvP in 2012-13 (and almost definitely without now), we need to perform strongly and take home a trophy to remain credible and desirable for up-and-coming talent. Ox and Theo need to make the leap and become the world-class players they have the potential to be.


~ by Benji on July 4, 2012.

2 Responses to “RvP RIP”

  1. Not a good trend for Arsenal the last couple of seasons when their best players want to leave the club!


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