Tottenham’s spectacular start to the season has been predominantly engineered by its two star players this season – Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart. After an £18 million transfer from Real Madrid to Bayern Munich fell apart, Van der Vaart’s price tag plummeted significantly. Despite Harry Redknapp’s claims that he’s not a wheeler dealer, he does have an eye for a bargain and was able to sign the Dutchman for £8 million on deadline day.
Arsenal’s convalescing striker Robin van Persie recently revealed to the Press that he had spoken to Arsene Wenger regarding his Dutch team mate before he was snatched up by Spurs. “He (Van der Vaart) is a great footballer, I know the quality he has. I would rather have him at Arsenal. I indicated a couple of times that Rafael would be useful for Arsenal but that advice was not followed.”
You can’t help but feel that Van der Vaart would have been able to adapt to the Arsenal way of playing with the greatest of ease. He’s smart, quick on the ball and is one of the best passers in the game – characteristics usually better attributed to an Arsenal player than a Spurs player.
Despite van Persie’s comments, you can’t help but feel that Wenger knew exactly what he was doing over the Summer. With Fabregas essentially an automatic pick whenever he’s fit, that leaves only one open slot in the centre of midfield for youngsters such as Jack Wilshere to make their mark. Would Arsenal fans really rather Van der Vaart play than Jack Wilshere have a chance to develop and play first team football?
Wenger’s response to Van Persie’s comments was emphatic. “Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Andrey Arshavin, Robin van Persie. All creative players, top-class players, so we had no need to do that. We are not in the search in this department.” Spot on as usual. The Gunner’s do not lack in creative talent and to have added another player of this mould to the squad over the summer would have been to the detriment of Arsenal’s younger talent.
From Arsene’s list of players, one man stands out. Samir Nasri, in his third season with the club has really sprung into life. Being omitted from France’s World Cup squad clearly came as a shock (and was probably for the best with hindsight) but he has done what any good player should do – respond on the pitch. This season he has combined his quick feet and vision with an eye for goal. In 18 appearances he has scored 9 goals – very impressive stuff.
As good as Rafael van der Vaart has been this season, would any Arsenal fan want to him to trade places with Samir Nasri? Above and beyond his talent, Nasri shows a determination and passion that many of his fellow Arsenal players are unable to replicate.
Without doubt, these are two fantastic players, but I’m with Wenger: if given a choice, I’m a Nasri man.
If you’re interested and want to hear more feel free to follow me on Twitter