At this stage of the season and given how well the club has done since that awful start to the season, the last news you would want to read is that we’re going to be patient with the contract of Robin Van Persie. This is our captain, our inspiration and quite literally has dragged us all the way up the table.
Peter Hill-Wood was quoted to say that there’s no rush in getting RvP to sign on the dotted line. Seems like whatever PHW says is in the negative/defensive tone and no wonder. Lest we all forget, RvP still has 1.5 years left on his contract but such is the rules nowadays, no team likes to leave just a year left on any player’s contract.
Sorry Mr Hill-Wood but you’re wrong. The team is doing well and RvP is at the fulcrum of it all. It would be disparaging to the rest of the team if RvP is allowed to run down his contract. I don’t even want to contemplate the chances that he might even be sold, though in his current form, there wouldn’t be short of suitors.
RvP himself might be putting all talks on hold just to see how things turn up this season. Or it could be just be a question about money (considering his age, the next contract might be his last). RvP is at the peak of his career and he would want to play with the best players, so he could also be waiting to see if there’s movement in January. Whatever the case, such quotes from PHW doesn’t help.
If the quality of the squad is a major concern of RvP, then he should be fairly pleased at what Arsenal and Arsene Wenger did at the end of August. Substantial number of players were brought in and with that a good degree of experience too.
Mikel Arteta has brought stability to the midfield and Alex Song has shone alongside him (not discounting the fact that Song is already an integral player for us). In defence, Per Mertesacker has been a solid acquisition, if not a spectacular one. I will not hide the fact that I’m one of those who thought that he might find the switch to the Premier League pace a bit hard to overcome.
From his initial introduction to a new league, I wasn’t that far off from my judgement. However, slowly but surely, the big German centre back is beginning to show that he would not go down as a poor signing. Fair to say, he’s making me start to nibble at that humble pie.
It’s always hard for any player to shine immediately in a new environment. Mertesacker did not have the luxury of a pre season with us and ready have to do all the adjusting and learning by playing every match. Understanding of other team mates and their movement is vital in any team sports, even more so when the game is football and you’re a centre back.
From the time that he has been with us, Mertesacker has shown what he can do. Not the quickest of defenders but a very good reader of the game. He positions himself really well and that allows him to use his physique to win tackles and make interceptions. Only one single yellow card thus far is testament to his abilities. His passing out from defence has been good and accurate too.
If there’s one criticism of him, it would be at the opposite end. He has not scored for us just yet. For someone of his height and build, that’s slightly disappointing. We’ve had a lot of corners and set-pieces for him to open his accounts but it has not happened just yet. Perhaps he just needs to impose himself a bit more in the attacking sense.
He’s playing more now also partly due to the fact that we’ve got zero fit full backs at the club. Senior full backs. If I have to make a choice now, it would be Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny for the first choice pairing. After the performances that he has put in, it would be harsh to put Mertesacker on the bench but at least we have strength in depth in that department.
Players of the ilk would be something that attracts RvP and help tilt his decision to our favour. If need be, the board will need to give RvP the key to Islington to ensure that he stays with us. That might be something harder too do, so hopefully Wenger will work some more of his magic.