RvP & Arsenal – Can The Club Change To Keep Stars?
Arsenal’s win over Bolton has denied an opportunity for criticism in the media of the team’s performance, the clean sheet did not fit into the equation either. Neither the win or stifling Bolton’s forward line means that the problems which beset the squad in other matches have disappeared from anywhere other than the back pages. Instead another route of ‘bad news sells’ had to be found.
Paul Hayward in yesterday’s Observer tried, promoting the notion that Arsenal is a series of splinter groups, cells and isolationists, as Robin van Persie fell into disagreement with various Bolton players over a ball not being kicked into touch whilst one of their number was injured.
Quite aside from the fact that there is no obligation under the rules or any Gentlemen’s Agreement for Arsenal to have done so, Hayward has picked an interesting aspect in which to find fault. We remember the halcyon days of Adams, Winterburn and co surrounding United players from the 1991 title triumph, a fracas with Norwich, Ruud van Nistelrooy receiving the full gory of Martin Keown’s contorted face inches from his eyeballs. We remember the media chastising everyone at Arsenal, telling us how much of a disgrace the players were; Oh the shame, the shame, such a venerated club, such shabby individuals.
And now they are disunited, disinterested and disintegrating. It was a classic exercise in taking pot shots with mud pies, hoping some of the residue will stick. So tell us Paul, where is the evidence of Arteta “already betraying frustration“, your inference being he regrets joining?
But it dovetailed neatly into the key feature of the weekend, the reluctance of Robin van Persie to sit down with the club and talk. Not many would argue with the Dutchman, the start to season, the changes to the squad, all factors that he needs to consider. As a player who is rightly hailed as one of the best in the world, why should van Persie not want to wait to see that the club match his ambitions. It strikes me that he is more aware of his own role in that, more team-orientated than Nasri who simply lacked the character to lift the team.
Of course it leaves a wide scope for mischief making in the media. Matt Law in The Express informs us that van Persie has sold his £1.395m mansion in Hertfordshire, something that “Gunners’ fans will hardly be cheered to hear“. Presumably Matt he is living somewhere though? The only thing I would be distressed to hear is if he had moved his family into a pied de terre constructed entirely of corrugated cardboard.
I quite understand the conflicting viewpoints on the contract talks. Or lack of them. We presume that the delay is to enable him to assess the revised collective, to see how the squad gels. I also appreciate the view that cites Arsenal’s continued support for a player who has been regularly injured, out for some substantial spells in the past, arguably a significant contributing factor to missing out on silverware.
In the current climate, more is being made of the situation than is necessarily there. Reservations of Darren Dein’s involvement are not misplaced since he has managed moves away for all of his clients who were Arsenal players. His influence of course, has to be fuelled by the players themselves so to blame him entirely is wrong. But that does not absolve him either.
The question of money is going to rear its head at some point. Arsenal’s pay structure is quite egalitarian. That may need to end with this negotiation. Whilst the unity of the squad is maintained with equality of pay, knowing that senior players can earn significantly more elsewhere and will leave to seek those deals, is potentially more damaging. Indeed there is a lot of merit in having a wider gap since it gives those motivated by their pay packets, the incentive to perform exceptionally and consistently in order to feed their finances.
What Arsenal’s position in this will be if talks have not begun by the Spring of next year is interesting to consider. Having seen the damage that belated departures caused, can the club afford to wait on the Dutchman? Indeed, does the captaincy presume the responsibility to declare his intentions as part of his leadership?
Posted on September 26, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 262 Comments.