Wind the clock back exactly one year, Arsenal found themselves in the middle of what seemed at the time two never ending transfer sagas; one in the form of Cesc Fabregas joining Barcelona, another was Manchester City’s relentless pursuit of Samir Nasri.
One year on, and the departure of club captain Robin van Persie is the saga which has captured media coverage this summer. Having been the subject of bating to numerous different clubs after announcing his desire to leave North London four weeks ago, still the predicament roles on, with no definitive outcome likely to be reached anytime soon.
To suggest that the Arsenal ownership should have learnt their lesson by now is an understatement. Last year’s sagas resulted in three uncharacteristic panic buys on the final day of the August transfer window, as well as the worst start to a Premier League season the Gunners had ever endured. Coming to any means of a resolution as soon as possible should be the priority, even though the selling of their prolific Dutchman should have already happened by now.
It is something that Arsenal have always struggled with. Arsene Wenger has frequently remained optimistic in his player’s commitment to the club despite it being spelt out for him otherwise. To look at the Gunners’ rivals on the pitch, Manchester United have always departed with unwilling players as quickly as possible, showing them the door and adjusting to life without them in time for the upcoming season. It happened with David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, and they even managed to quickly resolve Wayne Rooney’s predicament when he wanted to leave Old Trafford.
You don’t have to be a footballing genius to work out that getting rid of a player who no longer wants to play for your club is undeniably the best outcome for everyone involved. Arsenal can sell van Persie for maximum profit this summer following his prolific form last campaign and the remaining year still on his contract. By making the 28-year-old stay, they risk getting a half-hearted effort from him this season, as well as losing out on a high transfer fee for him next year when he is available to leave on a free as his contract expires.
A quick resolution should be the priority as Arsenal can also adapt to life without their captain. If that should not entail finding a replacement with plenty of time left in the transfer window, they can at least find a formation they can adapt on the pitch to make his departure’s impact on the rest of the squad as small as possible ahead of the start of the new season.
Whilst the ideal outcome for pretty much every Arsenal fan may be to sell their current captain, maximise profit, and get ready for the new season without him; it has been proven in the past that a quick solution is never really to expected with Arsenal. There is a huge danger that history will repeat itself, as an on-going transfer saga overshadows the start of the 2012/13 domestic season the same way a similar situation impacted on them the season before.