Is RvP Rotated Too Far & Transfer Talk
Robin van Persie is flavour of the month with just about everybody at the moment. A hat-trick helps but since returning to something approaching full fitness, the Dutchman has been the missing spark in the front line of the Arsenal attack.
That is not to demean the efforts of Marouane Chamakh. The Moroccan has done well since joining but with van Persie, there seems to be more of a threat. The return of van Persie allows Chamakh to rest and to adjust to the physical demands of the English game.
van Persie though is one of those players whom you have to enjoy watching whilst it lasts. His injury record suggests that Wenger is being cautious for good reason. Bringing him through relatively gently might be good for the long-term fitness of the Dutchman. Is it good for the short-term health of the squad?
Tomorrow offers the opportunity to progress to the Carling Cup final; would a forward line of Bendtner, Arshavin and Chamakh be capable of providing the goals to win the tie? Recent form suggests that they might struggle with no goals in any competition for any of them. Contributions to the final product of others cannot be ignored but the trio need a goal.
In van Persie, Wenger has a player who is on a scoring run, confident that he will get a goal. With that in mind, Wenger should be looking at the upcoming fixtures and asking which is more important – Wembley, FA Cup 5th Round or complete rest. Without any inside knowledge, it is hard to rule out the latter option but surely van Persie is fit enough to withstand two games in one week.
With Huddersfield at home on Saturday, Wenger must look at the possibilities of this season. He admitted that the players are starting to believe in winning things; van Persie starting against Ipswich can help achieve an early trophy which will boost that self-belief. Whether he will take that step remains to be seen.
Occasionally, Harry Redknapp says something worth listening to. I cannot quite put my finger on when the last time was – it certainly was not his faux concern for West Ham’s plight should they take over the Olympic Stadium – but this morning’s assertion that Jonathan Woodgate is not coming to Arsenal was certainly a moment to savour. It put to bed the silliest of silly season rumours.
Despite plenty of chatter, neither Nicklas Bendtner nor Andrey Arshavin is leaving The Emirates in this transfer window. The Dane’s agent (who doubles up as his father at weekends) vehemently denied the rumours last week whilst Arshavin is believed to be wanted by Chelsea and Zenit St Petersburg for a pocket-sized £10m simply because his contract is up next week. Arsene’s assertion that the Russian is coming back to form pretty much ensures that he will be there for the rest of his contract.
Indeed, having denied that Gary Cahill was a good player and that he was trying to sign him. No, wait, Gary Cahill is a good player and Arsene is not trying to sign him. That’s better. Anyway, Arsene is doing his best to boost the commercial revenues of the club signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton. That means a shirt with his name on it will be around £85 and cause a shortage of letters for other players – expect a raft of shirts with ‘vn Ps’ and ‘Fgs’ although ‘Szczesny’ will probably be alright.
Apparently the youngster and his advisers have learned the lessons of Shaun Wright-Phillips and believe that Arsenal is the best place for him to develop his career. A move that is about ensuring longevity at the top of the game rather than a spiffing bank balance which will enable him to forget that he owns a Porsche 911 and leave it at a train station.
Elsewhere, Arsene is looking to use £5m of the used-£5 notes under Ivan Gazidis’ desk and take them north of the border to spend on Rangers Allan McGregor. This is all pie in the sky though; even the reporter does not believe Arsene will sign the 29-year old, “McGregor’s age may count against him, with Wenger generally in favour of signing younger players“. A curious line for the reporter to take, killing his own story before it even got any legs.