More deserving than Pires and Bergkamp?
It seems that Tomas Rosicky is about to put pen to paper on a two year contract at Arsenal. I have to say I don't understand why he's being given this deal. Back in the past Arsene had a policy of offering only one year extensions to players of a certain age. As a result the likes of Robert Pires, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown and Dennis Bergkamp were all working from season to season. These were all legends of the Club. Given the quality of those players, especially Pires and Bergkamp, it was a risky and insulting policy from Arsene Wenger and David Dein. It actually led to Robert Pires and Nigel Winterburn (foolishly, in his case) moving on for some career security. Having said that, the counter-argument is that players over 30 are more likely to be unavailable for whatever reason, and it safeguarded the Club against a large wage liability for a player who was more often on the injured list.
The policy changed when we inexplicably signed Mikael Silvestre on a two year deal from Manchester United. This merely served to compound the insult made to those mentioned above. Here was a player way beyond his best being given a contract that he simply was not worthy of. When Silvestre left he was replaced by Sebastien Squillaci, also on a long contract. The less said about how that has gone the better. Now we have the curious case of Little Mozart.
In recent weeks (in fairness I think he's played very well all season when called upon) Rosicky has been in the form of his Arsenal career. Coming in to the side for Aaron Ramsey in the past few games he has shown a real turn of pace, an ability to beat his man, an eye for a pass, and a return to some goalscoring form. All in all it is the form of a man deserving to be kept on by Arsenal. However, is it the form of a 30-something midfielder that is deserving of more than a one year deal? Let's not forget that Rosicky spent over a year being paid wages for being unavailable not too long ago. That being the case I would suggest that a two year contract is a risk for Arsenal. Moreover I would have to question how Rosicky deserves a two year deal when those mentioned above were treated as they were. Cynics might even suggest that the form he has been in is more to do with the fact that it is contract time, than it is to do with a late career renaissance. I suppose we'll see how he reacts once he signs on the dotted line. I have to say that, right now, he is very much the man I would be selecting between now and the end of the season to play behind Robin Van Persie, but I wouldn't be extending his Arsenal career quite so readily.
Judging by the back pages of the newspapers this morning it has been decided that now is the time for the press to start the unsettling process for Robin Van Persie. Of course it has nothing to do with Arsenal threatening the position of their beloved Harry at Tottenham and their "certain" top three finish.
We all know that Van Persie has yet to sign a contract extension at Arsenal and that, if he doesn't do so, he is likely to be gone this Summer in order for Arsenal to get a fee for him. However, the stuff in the papers this morning is as close to a non-story as you can get.
A couple of days ago they tried to trap Roberto Mancini in to saying he would be trying to sign him at Manchester City. Mancini, like most foreign Manager's, is a bit too clever for the average football reporter and failed to rise to their bait. Such things didn't stop the press who then twisted and manipulated his words to fuel their made-up "Van Persie to City" stories yesterday.
Going back to Summer 2001 the English press have stirred up problems for Arsenal's best players. It started with Vieira, then moved on to Henry, then Fabregas, and now Van Persie. They never, ever, pick on the players at other teams. This is designed simply to unsettle the player and to hurt Arsenal Football Club. There have been no offers for Robin Van Persie. Man City, or anybody representing them, have not said anything to indicate they will try to sign him this year (that's not to say they won't do so, but simply to show that there is nothing in this story at the moment). The two Spanish club's are not even briefing their press on a move for Van Persie, so I don't understand why our journalists choose to carry on in this way. It really is very poor form indeed. Cretins the lot of them.
I'll preview the Newcastle game tomorrow evening.