It’s going to be another 26 days before some form of competitive football will be played. All right, fine. There’s one more this weekend and after that, it’s still another 21 days before the start of the European Championships. If I haven’t state it enough, I’ll state it again. I hate Spurs but the prospect of them playing in the Champions League qualifiers is not worse than the prospect of John Terry and Frank Lampard lifting the big ears trophy.
So, what happens during the lull between football? That’s when the crazy season starts. Rumours starts to fly around about which players are joining which team and who are no longer wanted by a certain team or even players who use reason as wanting to be closer to their family as a reason to initiate a move. In today’s world though, money will still be the biggest pull for a move.
Football players has a specific skills in which they are only allowed to reap the full monty within a very short period of time. The life-span of an engineer or a doctor could be 30 – 40 years, for those who wants to work that long. For a player, they only have a good 10 – 15 years to earn their trade. Then, unless they want to stay in the game to become a coach or a manager or in the administration part of football, they will have to do other things in life or retire completely.
For fans, we always talk about our loyalty to our club. No sane fan ever changes their team, that much we are certain about. The loyalty part is less apparent with the players and I can understand that. It’s not often that your home town team and the team you want to play for is one of the best in the world and could afford to pay you a lot of money to do so. The likes of Andreas Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Xavi could consider themselves very lucky.
Players will always move for better contracts. To me, it means better in 3 possible ways. Higher salary or better footballing team or more chances to play. We musn’t forget that these players often come from poor backgrounds and their path to stardom has lifted them and their family onto better lifestyle. I dare say some players, especially from non European countries, are actually supporting more than their own immediate salary with their wages. So, how do we chastise them for leaving one club to another in search of a better contract?
I think that comes down to the way one leaves. Agitating for a move is normal and has to happen. Otherwise, who would know that you want out. However, there are ways and means to do it, in a manner that do not make you the culprit. Fans will always be angry either way, there’s no escaping that. You can’t find 2 or 3 million people having the same thinking towards a specific event. Then there’s the part of being smart enough not talking about your former club after you’ve moved on. Or just talking about the good things. Something which Thierry Henry has in abundance while not so much with Samir Na$ri.
Some would argue loyalty is warranted with the value of the salary. The average salary for a skilled professional in Malaysia with 5 years of working experience is approximately RM1500/week, equivalent to £300/week. Compare that to someone like Robin Van Persie who’s assumed to be over £90,000/week. It’s not an apple to apple comparison as England is not like Malaysia. The prices of things are different everywhere. But one would assume that on that salary, shouldn’t it be enough for RvP?
Yet, things couldn’t be more the opposite. When one reaches that level of income, the lifestyle changes. Of course, it’s easy to say that even if those lifestyle drops a couple of levels, one could still live comfortably but that is not the way it works. Once you’ve lived a certain way, you want to continue living in that manner rather than making do. So inevitably, you’ll find a way to maintain/improve that lifestyle. Better contract serves that purpose.
At this stage of his career and the possibility of the final big contract, I’m sure RvP will think long and hard about his next decision. Given his passion and commitment for the club, it will be more of a footballing decision rather than money. Had we won anything this season, RvP might even be contemplating an exit strategy. It’s really more about whether Arsenal as a team can realise his ambition of winning trophies more than individual honours.
The early signs are good and if reports are to be believed, we should know further come the end of this week. Whether he stays or leave, that decision is for him and the club to make. I doubt there’ll be any argument from fans should he decide to stay but no player is bigger than the club. If he goes, we must improve and replace. The decision is not based on what appeases the fans but rather what will help us be competitive next season.
Long and hard summer awaits us.