So this is my first post-Africa entry (sorry for the wait), and I want to spend it talking about Arsenal’s transfer business. If you truly aren’t interested, I’m very sorry, but I need to rant here for a bit.
On July 4th, my country’s independence day, Robin Van Persie unleashed a well-prepared, scathing statement about how he disagrees with the Arsenal management’s vision for the future, thus essentially demanding a transfer. I learned of this during our patriotic festivities while in a great mood, but this news ruined my day. Van Persie is Arsenal’s captain, talisman, and overall best player (according to football pundits). He showed his true colors that day by forsaking his leadership role as captain and demanding to leave. Even more aggravating is that this past season, RVP’s best season ever, coincidentally was also his first injury-free season. After sticking with RVP for so long and continuing to develop him into a world-class striker, all Arsene Wenger receives now is a slap in the face. Rumor has it that RVP’s statement was intended to get the Arsenal fans to sympathize with RVP and demand change in the Arsenal boardroom. That didn’t work. Yes, RVP is our best player, but everyone is replaceable: especially someone with such an egregious injury history. Arsenal already has gone out and bought two quality strikers, Giroud and Podolski, who can help Arsenal score the goals they’ll miss from RVP.
RVP’s main destinations seem to be Juventus, Manchester City, and Manchester United. I strongly believe that no matter where he goes, he’ll get injured and will never reproduce the form he showed this past year. If you look at RVP as a striker, you see a technically amazing player with average speed, strength, and height. He’s a product of the Arsenal system, a pass-first, technically-focused style, which nobody else (save Barca) replicate. Yes, a Rooney RVP partnership may seem other-worldly, but I don’t think it’d work. Regardless, I hope we sell him to Juventus. Get him out of the EPL. If he does go to Juventus, I don’t think Arsenal fans will hate him nearly as much as if he goes to one of the Manchester clubs. Some people want us to hold him until the end of his contract, but I find that to be very dangerous. A player–nay, a captain–who wants to leave the club is an awful presence to have in the locker room. Think of the example it’s setting for our young guns like Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Ryo. But, an Arsenal player is an Arsenal player until the transfer is completed, so if RVP comes to his senses and realizes that 1) he can win with Arsenal and 2) he doesn’t need 150,000 a week, then he should sign a three-year extension at a little over 100,000 a week, and publicly apologize for his statement. That’s my best case scenario right now, but I’m at peace and okay with selling him; like I said, everyone is replaceable.
The other Arsenal player we need to discuss is Theo Walcott, the pacy 23 year old who has seemingly been here forever. The argument over Walcott centers around his consistency. Occasionally, he acts as the sparkplug and propels Arsenal to big wins. But, more often, he disappears. I’m divided over Walcott’s future, but with the Ox, Ryo, Gervinho, Podolski, and Arshavin all vying for a first-team spot in the wings, I think Walcott will feel the pressure on him to improve and will eventually produce more consistently. Thus, I’m all for keeping him. Oh, and I disagree with the people who want us to move him to striker. He’d get physically destroyed as a single striker in the Arsenal system. Keep him on the wings.
In other news Arsenal are reportedly close to signing Santi Cazorla from Malaga. Just last summer, Malaga bought Cazorla from Villarreal for 20 million euro, but since their new Qatari, oil-rich owners stopped caring about the club, they are in a situation where they need to sell. We’ve apparently submitted an offer of 23 million euro, enough to cover their fee from last year plus the VAT tax. I hate to get too excited about transfers before they’re said and done, but I can’t help but grin whenever I think of Cazorla playing for us. I mean, check this guy out–especially at 1:10.
Cazorla can easily be compared to Juan Mata, the Chelsea player who Arsenal almost signed last year. After seeing Mata’s first year at Chelsea, I really believe Cazorla can be as influential at Arsenal as Mata was at Chelsea. One of Cazorla’s best assets is his flexibility in position. He can play left or right wing, or even attacking midfield. Even better, his creativity would bring something to side that we’ve missed since Cesc left. He is supposedly undergoing a medical this week, so I pray nothing delays the deal. With 16 days until EPL kickoff, we need him to get adjusted and start competing with Walcott, Gervinho, Ox, and Podolski for a spot on the wings as soon as possible.
Other transfer rumors have us linked with a loan move for Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid. The Turkish defensive midfielder impressed a few years ago at Dortmund, but has found playing time hard to come by at Madrid. I am wary of loan deals, but this could be a great move for us as well. Sahin is a quality defensive midfielder and could help provide cover for Song. Of course I would prefer to have him on loan with an option to buy after the season, but regardless I’d like to see him in an Arsenal shirt.
If Arsenal sign Cazorla and receive Sahin on loan, I can see us challenging for titles. Of course, we’ll have a better chance if we keep Van Persie and Walcott as well.
Lastly, I just want to say I called Song being rumoured to Barcelona. Of course it hasn’t happened yet, but Busquets praised Song recently, and with only two years on his contract left, next summer we could be talking about Song instead of RVP. He’s turned into a phenomenal midfielder, and he’d fit in the Barca style very well. Next thing you know, Xavi will claim he has Barca DNA. I hope we hold onto him, but I have pretty low expectations now for Arsenal players when it comes to transfers.
Right, well that’s all for now. G’day.