So, the curse of the captain’s armband is ready to strike at The Emirates again, with Arsene Wenger admitting that Robin van Persie could leave the club when his contract finally expires. Many were already predicting the Dutchman would be next big name to depart Arsenal even before he was handed the captaincy, therefore following in the footsteps of Thiery Henry and Cesc Fabregas. Add to the list Samir Nasri and you have a group of players who all insisted they have Arsenal in their hearts and are 100% committed to the club, but ultimate chose to leave in search of trophies, money or both. If van Persie does follow in those footsteps, one could have little sympathy for Arsenal, and Wenger, as they only have themselves to blame – with those previous footsteps providing the reasons.
The Gunners are experiencing one of their most turbulent seasons in recent memory but one positive has been the newly installed captain’s form. However, fresh from his captain’s 2-goal match winning performance manager Arsene Wenger revealed that whilst he is ready to open contract talks with van Persie, the striker may well refuse to extend any deal offered, and it is something they can do little about. With Manchester City reportedly monitoring any developments with a close eye, a repeat scenario akin to the Nasri situation could well yet again occur.
‘The ideal situation is that he [Van Persie] extends his length of contract but, if he does not, we have to respect that. What is important is that he plays like he plays’ said Wenger, before going on to address a possible commitment issue: ‘It depends what you call commitment. For me commitment is not how long you are at the club, it is as long as you are there you give 100 per cent until the last day of your contract.’ Wenger who stated something extremely similar prior to Nasri reappearing in the team whilst it was apparent a deal was being concluded with Manchester City, is of course assessing the whole situation from a logical point of view. But is he really being brutally honest with himself and the Arsenal fans, or just deflecting more criticism from his, and the clubs failings?
It has been becoming more and more apparent that in today’s footballing world, money is the driving factor. At one time Arsenal could be admired for implementing a solid wage-structure, and whilst they were being successful, the glory and trophies could offset any lack of extra money a player could potentially earn elsewhere. However once the trophies dry up, sad as it may now be, very few players will stick around – especially if they could be earning double the amount of money at another suitor. Arsenal’s reluctance to splash the cash they now earn through the Emirates stadium, on established ‘big-name’ players, or through lucrative new contracts to existing star members of the squad have helped contribute to the seeming exodus of their stars, as they become restless and trophy-less. It’s little wonder their heads have been turned.
Robin van Persie is said to be on around £80,000 per week at Arsenal. With City reportedly ready to offer around £160,000 per week for a player who, at 28-years of age, would be signing potentially his last most lucrative deal of his footballing career, Wenger and Arsenal need to make the choice of either offering their star asset a deal worthy enough for him to consider, or continue down the path of previous years and lose their best player.
As always, Arsene, the choice is yours.
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