You wouldn't have that without Arsenal
Tonight's post was going to be about Lukas Podolski's confirmed signing and a rant about the London Olympics. Robin Van Persie has shattered that idea with his statement tonight. I'm sure you all know what he has said so I won't go in to detail about that. Suffice to say that RVP has decided he no longer wants to play for Arsenal, but he still loves the fans blah, blah, blah. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Robin Van Persie was outstanding for Arsenal last season. He deservedly won both major Player Of The Year prizes. It was a truly phenomenal campaign from our Captain. But don't you think he kind of owed us one? Don't you think he still does? Van Persie arrived at Arsenal off the back of the Invincibles season. He was hopelessly one-footed and lacking in pace. Undoubtedly skillful (on his left foot) with a jack-hammer of a shot, he was a spiteful player who had brought with him a reputation for being unpopular. Later that season he was sent-off at Southampton, costing Arsenal the three points. Arsene Wenger marked his card and the disciplinary problems became a thing of the past on the pitch. Make no mistake, Arsenal rescued him from Feyenord and then Arsene rescued his career by setting him on the right path. Before the start of the following season Van Persie was arrested and charged with rape. Arsenal stuck by their man and he was found to have no case to answer. It would have been very easy for Arsenal to kick the youngster in to touch, but they didn't. Over the next six years Robin spent more time injured than playing. What did Arsenal do? They got him all the specialist treatment he needed, they gave him new and improved contracts, and they stuck with him until he came good at the back end of the 2010-2011 season. Don't you think Robin Van Persie owes Arsenal some loyalty?
The statement issued tonight was disrespectful in the extreme to Arsenal FC. For the Captain of the Club to do something like that is completely outrageous. There was no reason to publicly question the ambition of the Club when still employed by them. If what he has said is true, then there are questions that must be answered by Arsenal - though they never will be. However, I do not believe for one minute that financial terms were never discussed or offered. I would also say that, if Van Persie does love Arsenal then I trust we will not be seeing him in a Manchester City or a Chelsea shirt any time soon. After all, it's not about the money...apparently.
There are a couple of things I want Arsenal to do immediately in response. They have already issued a statement with the usual non-inflammatory remarks about fulfilling contracts etc. However, I want to see a harder line taken. We went through all this rubbish with those two idiots last Summer. The Club failed to be strong enough. This time I want to see a statement telling us that Robin Van Persie has been fined for a disciplinary offence (if I went public about the things that are wrong with my employer I would be sacked). I also want to hear that he has been stripped of the Captaincy and that it has been handed to Thomas Vermaelen (who has committed himself to the Club long-term) or Jack Wilshere. Finally I want an announcement that Lukas Podolski will wear the number ten shirt from now on and that Van Persie will be issued with a squad number if the Manager requires him to play at any point. As well as all that there now needs to be a massive transfer - to make Van Persie look stupid, and to get the fans back on side. After all he has to be replaced, and a relatively unknown French striker doesn't quite fit the bill. Go and get Benzema or Goetze or Higuain and show the ambition Van Persie claims the Club is lacking.
There is now, of course, the annual debate about what is going on. Why have we lost our best player, yet again? Obviously the lack of trophies is a big thing to some. But who better to end that drought than the players themselves? Lest we forget that both Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie had the opportunity to win us a trophy in 2011 against a side that got relegated. Who knows how the rest of that season might have gone but for the crushing defeat by Birmingham at Wembley? Only the players were to blame on that occasion.
Over the next couple of days there will be many mourning the loss of Van Persie to Arsenal. I would ask those people to remember one or two things. Firstly, one great season does not an indispensable player make (just ask Adebayor). Secondly, we have lost better and more important players than Van Persie. Thirdly, nobody is bigger than Arsenal Football Club - we celebrated 125 years last December, so I won't be shedding any tears over another player who thinks the grass is greener.
Arsene Wenger is already getting stick over this in some quarters. Regular readers will know that I am no Wenger apologist. In my opinion he should have been out ages ago. However, I don't see how he gets any blame over this. I would also come back to my original point with regards to Van Persie's lack of loyalty. Arsene Wenger created Robin Van Persie. He is owed big time by the Dutchman. Last week Wenger turned down the French FA because he was loyal to Arsenal. He knows that without Arsenal he would not be the figure he is in football. Fair play to him for that.
I will leave you this evening with one final thought. I mentioned earlier that Arsenal rescued Van Persie from Feyenord. He was deeply unpopular in Holland, and Ajax fans had actually tried to get on to the pitch to attack him at a Reserves fixture. This Summer he has cemented his place as the most unpopular Dutch footballer in Holland following his showing at Euro 2012. He has now also made himself deeply unpopular with the many legions of Gooners. That takes some doing.
Bye bye Robin, now give us back our armband and sod off.