They can’t all be like that. There must be someone out there or someone at our football club who must really love our club. Someone who will give their all for the good of our club and not demanding that the club live up to what he want. I know players don’t necessarily think that way, but I’m sure fans do. The emotional attachment varies from one person to the next when there’s a contract involved.
That was what went through my mind as I witnessed the saga of last summer’s transfer window and the subsequent departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
Here we are repeating the cycle again with Robin van Persie, who released a statement on his own website stating his displeasure at the way things are run at Arsenal and telling us that he won’t be extending his contract. There’s no need to repeat those quotes here as I’m sure you would have seen plenty of those. In a move that caught the club off guard, a response had to be published to appease angry Gooners.
First of all, there’s no reason why such a statement should ever come out. Even more so on his personal website. Why do players even have personal website any way? Shouldn’t there be more important matters to attend to, like his football or his family? This was discussed in private and no matter how much fans or journalists pester RvP about the updates on his situation, he should have honoured his end of the deal.
We always knew that player power is no longer a negligible aspect of today’s game. Here is a player at the peak of his career off the back of an incredible 1.5 years of football, demanding that the club do what he wants or he’s off. Since when do football clubs be subjected to what individual players want? It’s a poor reflection of the state of things in this day and age. Being someone who is the captain of the club and understand the way we operate, it is certainly strange to see him expecting the club the break records and spend like other clubs do.
From one point, I can understand his frustration over matters. He’s fast approaching an age where his value diminishes very quickly. The last big contract to secure his and his family’s long term future. That is perfectly understandable. In terms of honours/trophies, if RvP thinks that Arsenal do not have a chance of winning anything in the near future, that is also fair game. One can have personal opinion on any matter. If he wants to close out his career at a club where he thinks that he has a higher chance of winning titles/trophies, then so be it. We can’t control on that front.
Unless the opinions were changed post Euro 2012, I’d say its safe to assume that both parties knew of this after the meeting in end of May/early June. But both sides have come to an agreement that nothing further should be speak of this matter until further actions are done. Either that means that the silence allows Arsenal the time to find replacements and not weaken our hand in trying to secure these signings or it could also mean that any club that comes in asking for RvP, we would be able to hold out for a higher fee. With that public statement, those advantages that we hold have come crashing down.
Now, every club in the world knows that RvP wants to leave and that anyone we pursue now is a response to his potential departure. That makes us look desperate and we lose out on the bargaining power. Clubs will use the desperation to suck more money out of us, or to impose higher transfer fee for any player that we want. Not only that, clubs that want RvP will also offer significantly less than what we price him at. Knowing full well that RvP also wants out.
Although if you look at the response from Arsenal, it does insinuate that we could very well contemplate keeping him until the end of his contract before letting him go. A notion that has been bandied around previously. A position which I’m happy to take had the statement not come out. How will this impact the team now? We’ve built up what is seemingly a very good and harmonious squad now, will this change the parameters of that? It is hard to know the perception of individuals when the club captain says he doesn’t believe that the club’s project is for him any longer. Surely nothing positive can be gained from that.
I do believe that RvP’s position is untenable now. The reaction from online world perhaps indicative of the reception that he will get if he does remain with the squad until the end of 2012/13 season. This is no different to how it started for Emmanuel Adebayor before his eventual transfer to City. More than 30 goals scored in the season preceding this and then seeking to move away the season after. RvP chose to alienate himself by sending out that statement and that will be exactly the respond that he will get. Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought that Nasri would turned out to be the one who conducted himself the best during his transfer saga.
All this are a world’s apart from what we assumed of him. As captain, he has led the group together and we rose up against the failings at the start of last season. He was proving his worth on and off the field. Making social gathering with the team off the field and powering the goals on the field to help us finish where we were last season. On top of that, the comments and interviews that he gave seemed to suggest that there is a special place in his heart for Arsenal Football Club. Not saying there isn’t one now but if he had, surely he would have handled/worded this statement much better.
As fans, we can only hold a player to what he said as we cannot possibly know for sure what he thinks. When that is different to what we thought, it hurts. This…..is one of those times.