RvP: do Arsenal have a plan, or just hope?
By Simon Rose
Resist defiantly, or sell up and move on?
Wednesday began with Lukas Podolski officially joining Arsenal, potentially to complement Robin van Persie; it ended with Podolski looking like a straight replacement. When van Persie’s early evening statement started to hit Twitter it seemed clear to me immediately that this was an unofficial breaking of the silence agreed between him and Arsenal over his future.
I couldn’t see how Arsenal would have approved such a statement. Any official silence-breaker would surely have come through the club and featured manicured quotes from both parties. Van Persie's statement was a breakaway gesture which shouted out loud that it was an act of rebellion. Arsenal’s response was what you would expect; essentially, our man is under contract, if you want him bid for him.
And here we are again: Arsenal struggling to keep their biggest star player because he feels that Arsenal lack ambition. Many still love Cesc Fabregas but, from several accounts, he practically went on strike last summer to force an Arsenal exit. Many fans also thought they were meant to hate Samir Nasri, for having the temerity to wish to leave, but he actually stayed at the club at the beginning of the season and even played (well as it happens) at home to Liverpool, just days before joining City.
Arsenal publicly stated that neither Fabregas nor Nasri would be allowed to leave last summer. Was that a real, admirable heart-felt intent, or just Arsenal jockeying for financial position? In the end, both players still left of course, so in the end Arsenal’s apparent hard-line stance was not enough to keep the players at the club.
So what effect will Arsenal’s statement have on van Persie? Can Arsenal keep him to his final year? Do Arsenal have a particular plan for how to keep van Persie, or are they just living off hope that he might stay? Given that van Persie has broken the silence by opening a can of worms over Arsenal’s ambitions, including swipes at both Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, the chances are that Arsenal will not expect to keep him and frankly may not want to.
(Added: another interesting sub-plot here is quite what van Persie meant by “the club’s future strategy and their policy”. Van Persie scored a lot of goals last season in a defensively-poor side that conceded 49 league goals. He is sure to want to score many goals this season too and will have the ear of his great friend Thomas Vermaelen, over Arsenal’s defensive deficiencies. So what message about “future strategy” and “policy” does it give to sign two more strikers? Would a striker in prolific club form want to share out his goals? How do two new strikers help to solve our defensive problems? They don’t, they distract from it and possibly ignore it. You could understand van Persie not being enamoured by that as a strategy or policy. On the other hand of course, signing two strikers is not a bad idea if you think your prolific striker wants to leave. Given Vermaelen’s recent social time with Carles Puyol, people will now wonder what his plans will be next summer).
Most Arsenal fans and neutral observers assume that van Persie will join Manchester City. The fans would prefer that Arsenal sell van Persie abroad but the best deal is to be had in England. Juventus cannot match City’s wages.
There might yet be a bigger shock to come though. Make of it what you will, but a few weeks ago I was told something that surprised me about van Persie’s possible future. It has yet to surface distinctly and it may come to nothing. It may have just been the position at the time and it may have been total balls, real Chinese whispers. Wednesday’s statement may also yet change the direction of travel here, but the bottom line is that I was told that Robin van Persie would be joining Manchester United.
5th July 2012
User Comment and Reaction
User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.
frank 0:24am 5th Jul 2012
Great player, he was always going to go. Best to sell him and use the money lol. I would love if robin could go abroad , we cant sell him to city. Its becoming a joke that we cant keep our captains. I am still very optimistic about this season. Barca want the vermanator, they can do one. I think if we sell rvp we need to use the money on a defender and midfielder. I dont think people realise how good pod and giroud are. ONWARDS AND UPWARDS - Post No. 26135
Kevin Kong 0:25am 5th Jul 2012
Er, your EXCLUSIVE surfaced in the Daily mail about 4 hours ago mate. - Post No. 26136
Highbury Boy 0:37am 5th Jul 2012
Wenger supporters always said that without him we would lose our star players.It seems that the opposite is true. - Post No. 26137
Mbarsenal88 0:41am 5th Jul 2012
If he want leave let him go, we'll be better even without him. UP GUNNERS!!! - Post No. 26138
Kevin Tonkinson 0:46am 5th Jul 2012
His statement does its best to ensure that his position is untenable with the club, making him see out his contract is just not an option. That said, I would rather see him put in the ressies for a year than sold to United. - Post No. 26139
maguiresbridge gooner 1:09am 5th Jul 2012
Simon of course arsenal couldn't have approved such a statement there's no spin in it for a start. RVP has told it the way he sees it and like it is there's no ambition at our beloved arsenal anymore its all about profit.The official club statement of we are confident he will fulfill his commitments to the club and we are planing with ambition ambition ? how the hell can we be ambitious when we sell our best players season after season.And how can RVP stay with us now and how can we make him stay when we know he's not going to sign on again when his contract runs out.What ever he clearly knows there's no ambition at arsenal and where ever he ends up you can bet your bottom dollar that will not be the case. sad sad. - Post No. 26140
Danny 3:54am 5th Jul 2012
i told my son a few weeks ago, VP will go to united not CITY. United are a winning team and VP wants to win trophys wenger and the americans have to go. - Post No. 26142
Gonefishing 4:58am 5th Jul 2012
RvP: RIP. - Post No. 26143
Martyn 7:08am 5th Jul 2012
No shock here. When Arsenal signed Podolski it was obvious RVP was on his way out, it was only a matter of where. My view is we got one good season from RVP so let him go. I only hope Podolski proves a worthy replacement as his performance in the Euros was not that impressive, but neither was RVP's. - Post No. 26145
jj 7:23am 5th Jul 2012
Whatever the reasons,it's a pretty sad day for the club when another captain says he wants to go.The management are so far out of touch with whats happening at the top end of European football it's embarrasing.Even the tiny totts have managed to get Bale to sign a new contract.All we've managed to do is re-sign Djourou.Wow.It's clear for all to see now that Wenger has lost the players.The board and the manager are failing.They have to go. - Post No. 26146
Jamie 7:29am 5th Jul 2012
It doesnt matter who RVP joins what it means is Arsenal are a selling club and a feeder club.And we like to call ourselves a big club.Also Simon you need to realise the problem at Arsenal is Wenger.Nothing goes on at the club without Wengers say so.Walcott is off next then TV5.They are not stupid they can see we are going nowhere.They like RVP are rich but they want winners medals.And we are left with the dross no one wants to buy.Remember we built the Emirates to compete with Barca and Madrid.What a joke that is.Until Wenger leaves nothing will change - Post No. 26147
RJ 7:29am 5th Jul 2012
I heard a rumour that he was going to.... Spurs, but then it was the voices inside my head, so I paid no heed. Of course Arsenal's statement is about maximising the value we can get from a sale of him now. Thanks RVP for the goals and 3rd place last season and thanks for the memories - but time to move on. If he does not share the Wenger / Gazidis vision of the future (and I am sure many don't), then he will be on his way swiftly - otherwise the poisonous whispers in the dressing room will undermine what chances we have of anything next season. Clean slate, start again. COME ON YOU GOONERS - Post No. 26148
John A 7:33am 5th Jul 2012
It's all a big con. We buy 2 left footed strikers and then RVP is off - so where's the surprise in that. The thing that does need resolving in the next few years is to stop giving all the rubbish players ridiculous incomes so that we get stuck with them and restrict purchases of decent players. Theo next but no loss there. Tommy to be off next season after he has 12 months of captaincy. No trophies again and the fans again get mugged. Surely this can't go on? - Post No. 26149
Barry 8:05am 5th Jul 2012
When Flamini left on a free we were told by Wenger it would never happen again.Wenger lied - Post No. 26159
thatsimonrose 8:21am 5th Jul 2012
Kevin Kong; not aware I said anywhere that it was an exclusive, more that I was told it a few weeks ago. That is all. - Post No. 26166
Treble Double 8:43am 5th Jul 2012
Not even AW can talk the usual b*ll*ocks about us competing for trophies if we sell the best player in the premier league last season to a team that we want to catch. I would like him to stay the final season but he clearly won't, we will sell him and it will be to the highest bidder... so Manchester it is. Patrice Evra called us a feeder club about 3 or 4 seasons ago, at the time I didn't believe it, but it certainly rings true now. A change of leadership is required and not just the manager. I want my Arsenal back!!! - Post No. 26177
Tony Evans 9:32am 5th Jul 2012
And so the demise of our club goes on - half of me just doesn't care anymore but my affection for Arsenal goes so deep that it still hurts. - Post No. 26192
RJ 9:33am 5th Jul 2012
@Barry - Wenger got it wrong, he didn't lie - and it was a stupid statement to believe (BTW - Almunia has already gone on a free - it works both ways.....) - ultimately, it is the players choice, we can't force'em into new contracts. And, BTW - Van Persie seems to me to be unlikely to go on a free - we will sell him this Summer, and as others have said, let's maximise what we can get from this mercenary. - Post No. 26193
Seven Kings Gooner 10:03am 5th Jul 2012
Do Arsenal have a plan? of course they do it is called making money? They let RVP stew and he blinked first, so now the way is clear for the board to get 25 million for our Dutch striker. The facts are they were always going to sell him, just as they were always going to sell Cesc, Henry etc. It is called maximizing your profits, it is also why you pay nearly a "tenner" for a beer and a pie at The Emirates! - Post No. 26201
AfanRocknrolla 10:10am 5th Jul 2012
We need a striker to back up giroud and we need a defensive midfielder and a back up midfielder. We don't need a starting defender we someone who can back up the top 3. Demba ba, m'vila and an attacking midfielder is what we need. - Post No. 26202
Wombledin 10:44am 5th Jul 2012
I think RVP has made his rebel statement to deliberately p*ss Wenger and co off and make them squirm a bit as he leaves because he really feels for us fans and the way we've been bent over and taken it up the reamer season after season by Wenger and the smug owners whose only ambition is profits. This is RVP's little way of agitating for change for the fans. - Post No. 26208
RJ 12:38pm 5th Jul 2012
@Wombledin - Oh Dear - and the AKBs get accused of not facing reality. RVP cares about the fans? He is making the statement now to expedite his exit from thje club so that he can secure an extra £150k per week now before he gets injured again and loses his chance to cash in big time - it is not out of love of the fans or the club - Post No. 26230
Joe S. 12:40pm 5th Jul 2012
I think Frank McLinyock's commentss are the best I have read so far on the shambles that is Arsenal, Kroenke and Wegner need to front the fans and outline a clear plan as to where the club is heading. Of course they won't have the guts because these are not men of vision. Why are so many of you so stunned. What did you think was said at the meering before Van Persie left for the Euros " I love this club and will play my final game here": Come On you must have seen this coming. As for the ridiculous optimism ofthe certified AKB's; you guys will cheer on a team made up of the deadwood if they wore the colours. Like all the long term fans I have seen our best leave the club but never the asset stripping ( Joe F. ) that has occured in the past few years. I think few clubs have and most of them are still lost in the wilderness.It's a shame. This is all about greed and opportunism - from Kroenke, Gazadis and Wegner. - Post No. 26231
Vip 13:27pm 5th Jul 2012
I'd be happy if the club took a £30m hit (transfer fee and wages) and told RVP to rot, away from the training ground and then let him go on a free. Lets see then what he can earn as a 30 year old and the length of contract he gets. - Post No. 26242
fozzy's mate 14:19pm 5th Jul 2012
Simon - you are the worlds greatest optimist. How mant times on this site over the last few years have you posted articles ststaing how OGL will prove us all wrong? As one fan said to you rather harshly several years ago when after the calling cup final defeat, you said we would win the league "Simon take you head out of Wengers behind". The man is 10 years behind in his transfer policy and 5 in everything else at the very highest level. Under the regime of DDT, MSS and OGL we are and will remain also rans at best, waving goodbye with a cheque every year. What matters is the share price and cash reserve, not trophy cabinet. An accounting firm stands where a football club once did. - Post No. 26256
Any Old Iron 14:28pm 5th Jul 2012
The discord between the board and Red & White is now public. Now it begins; the gathering storm. Long live Arsenal FC. - Post No. 26257
AndoverGooner 14:51pm 5th Jul 2012
We are a feeder club for clubs with more ambition. - Post No. 26259
Omid 15:58pm 5th Jul 2012
best article about RvP situation, thanks - Post No. 26274
Jason B 22:53pm 5th Jul 2012
Great player,but no leader.Great captains lead by example.RVP is a very poor example of leadership.He should remember who stuck by him during his court case and dark days of injury.He should be stripped of the captaincy and left to rot.Or, better still,tell him to pack his bags and **** off.Regardless of whether he's worth millions or pennines,i don't want him at the club in any shape or form. - Post No. 26314
Shropshire Lad 1:52am 6th Jul 2012
Let the ungrateful ****e go to Italy. With a bit of luck those Italian defenders will snap his glass legs - you know the ones we have been putting up with for one good season in nine. How dare anyone compare him to the great Dennis Bergkamp - he's not fit to clean his clogs! If he goes to United we should bring Martin Keown out of retirement just for that match and watch the the Pussey crap himself! - Post No. 26317
sparksy 9:56am 6th Jul 2012
Although he had a fantasitc season last year and was probably teh sole reason we managed to get 3rd place, the fact is it was his first full season for us in 8 years. Will he ever repeat that? Yes it would be better if he was with us but i'm not overly bothered that he wont be. What bothers me a whole lot more is the damning statement from him about teh lack of ambition at the club, something we all knew about but now coming from the horses mouth. I also believe the club knew he was going before the Euros but probably agreed with him to keep things quiet until after. Season ticket renewal time etc? Only thing was he didn't seem to keep his side of the bargain and let the cat out of the bag before the club could release a nicey nicey press release. - Post No. 26328
exiled&dangerous 10:54am 6th Jul 2012
If he wants to leave, let him. Great player, will be missed, but like any other member of the team, he is only one bad tackle away from missing the whole season. So signing a couple of other quality strikers is good business whatever the background. Now, how about those world class defenders and holding midfielders........ - Post No. 26333
TopKat 12:54pm 6th Jul 2012
I truly believe it is the club pushing RVP out. He is 29, been injured for more seasons than I can count (love to know the %) and he has just come off the back of one excellent season. His stock could not be higher. I personally would not extend his contract more than a year (he is likely to be injured again) and would def not give him more money. From RVP's point of view. If he was to stay and see out his contract at the arsenal, in one year is anyone going to give him a contract let alone a big one? Especially if he is out injured again. - Post No. 26338
aditya 21:51pm 8th Jul 2012
From what could be made out from rvp's statement; it seems rvp wanted some of his suggestions to be implemented with regard to the squad. However, they seem to hv been rejected by wenger and gazidis. Even though I'm a die hard gooner rvp is still our skipper and his suggestions are ought to be given weightage. If rvp has certain plans to make the squad even better I don't see any issue in being a little considerate towards them. Signing two strikers was actually a bit bizarre and was frankly a little unexpected. On another note, I don't know why rvp would want to go to man city who already have world class established strikers like aguero, tevez and balotelli. If its solely for the money, then its a pity. - Post No. 26501