Thursday, August 16, 2012

Robin Van Persie leaves Arsenal to join Manchester United

Robin Van Persie will sign for Manchester United, subject to a medical, after Arsenal and United agreed on a fee for the Dutchman. There are so many questions that fans have been wondering about, as one of the biggest transfers between two English clubs in the modern era is about to be completed:

- I recently wrote about Arsenal fans getting used to the idea of losing their key men when they hit that golden age of 29-30 years old. But losing Robin Van Persie is going to be a major blow to them. Despite the signings they've made this summer of players like Giroud, Cazorla and Podolski, all of whom are bound to make a positive impact on the league, losing their key striker, captain and star man (again!) is going to demoralize their players. How often are Arsenal going to keep going on like this? Wenger should have waited out for Van Persie's final season to try and make him change his mind halfway through the season perhaps. Cashing in on him when the "right" amount of money comes their way shows where Arsenal's ambitions might actually be. Losing him on a free rather than selling to a rival should have been the mentality adopted to ease Arsenal fans' worries.

- There is a telling difference between Arsenal losing Van Persie and when they lost the likes of Henry, Vieira, Nasri, Fabregas and co. When most of the "invincibles" left, their talents were either fading or had not yet been reached. When Fabregas left it was because of his past affiliation with Barcelona. When Nasri left, the suspicion was that it was about the money...but none of these players were sold at the peak of their powers. Van Persie has never been this good. This is the peak of his career and losing a player that influential at this stage in his career, no matter how many Arsenal fans deny it, is a massive blow. Wenger wanted him to stay and he joined one of Arsenal's rivals.

- Arsene Wenger must prove Van Persie wrong and show him that this Arsenal side has the capability to win trophies. This must now be one of Wenger's biggest challenges yet.

- People often forget that Robin Van Persie was signed in August 2004 for the tiny fee of 
£2.75 million from his childhood club Feyernoord. Wenger spotted the talent and gave him the chance to join a top club. Numerous injury plagued seasons later, Wenger stood by the Dutchman and gave him chance after chance to show his true talent - which to be fair, he only did properly last season (2011/2012). That patience that Wenger had with Van Persie seems like it was never appreciated by the Dutchman. How naive Wenger must be feeling right now.

- 24 million pounds for a 29 year old Striker, who's injury prone, and has only had 1 good season is a very valid argument. But to whoever uses that argument, would you say "No" to Van Persie joining your club? I doubt it. The man remains, at the moment, one of Europe's most lethal finishers and probably the best striker in English Football. This is a huge signing! One of the biggest to ever happen in English football.
- Arsenal fans must start praying their next captain is Marouane Chamakh, Abou Diaby, Park Ju-Young or Sebastien Squillaci. 

- How are United going to play now? How will this move affect Welbeck and Hernandez? I personally believe having 4 top strikers is something Ferguson has been unable to handle since the 1999 treble season, back when egos weren't as big as they are today. Expect someone to be grumpy about this move and unhappy at playing second fiddle.

- What has Dimitar Berbatov done to deserve this treatment from Ferguson? Nobody will ever know, but the Bulgarian would be an asset at absolutely any club he joins and should be ready to move on now. Unfortunately, Ferguson's cold shoulder doesn't seem justified.

- The mouth-watering aspect of seeing Van Persie up front with Rooney must be terrifying for any defense. This is going to be pretty damn exciting!

- Was Robin Van Persie really needed at Old Trafford? United's main problem last season wasn't up front. Why sign a striker when the need to fill gaps in other positions is much more important? This might the rare occasion I believe that a United signing was being done for the player not to join any other rival club (City particularly) and not for the purpose of having him at the club. Often players linked with clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have been poached and signed by the boys with the huge bucks (City, Chelsea and now PSG), but this might be the first time the roles have been reversed and United have signed a player to avoid him joining one of the huge cash-filled clubs.

- Manchester United fans are excited and have every right to be. Rarely has Sir Alex signed players that are aged above 25 who have succeeded - so this is another test. Veron, Hargreaves and Berbatov (sort of) are just a few examples of that. I'm pretty sure he'd have studied this move long and hard before deciding to go for it.If the move works out Fergie will be deemed as a genius and if it fails, RVP will just join that list of players who never lived up to the hype. A win-win situation I suppose? "Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie" - how good does that sound?

- Rooney, RVP, Hernandez, Welbeck, Kagawa, Cleverley, Nani, Young, Valencia...United's front line is looking really good!

- The rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal has admittedly softened over the past few years with Wenger and Sir Alex often seen together sharing a joke or two, but don't be surprised to see it boil over again now that this move has happened. Pizzagate the return? I sure hope so!

- The one thing that this move does confirm is that loyalty no longer exists in Football. One day a player is your hero, the next day he's turning up playing for your rivals. Kissing the badge and all that means nothing anymore. Even what the players say means nothing anymore. We've seen it with Fernando Torres, Ashley Cole, Carlos Tevez and now Robin Van Persie. Long gone are the days when players will stay at one club long enough to earn themselves a testimonial game. Such a thing doesn't matter anymore when "personal ambitions" and cheques are involved. Once upon a time moves between clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea...etc were so rare that it was unthinkable as the players knew and respected the rivalries. But the more time passes, the more that mentality disappears. Never, ever, be shocked to see your hero leave your club to join a rival.


  1. I agree with some of your points, but some of them are a bit dodgy in my opinion:

    The year after losing Henry, Arsenal had an amazing season (07-08) only to collapse after Eduardo's injury. Adebayor had the season of his life and nothing can stop Giroud, podolski or Chamakh (arf arf) to do the same. Therefore the loss of a talismanic player/ captain can be overcome.

    How can you call Ferguson a genius for buying the best striker in the league (maybe the world)... it doesn't take a genius to do it, just a big checkbook.

    Why the heck should Wenger feel "naive", he did the right thing with all the players he coached, If RvP, Nasri, Adebayor etc. want to earn GBP 70k-100k more every week there's nothing he can do.

    You are right by saying that loyalty does not exist in football, but has it ever existed? Yes some players played for the same colours for all of their career, however at the time it was different, there wasn't such a big gap in salaries between teams with unlimited wealth (city, chelsea, PSG, to some extent Utd. etc.) and the other teams. Players didn't have an incentive to leave, but today, loyalty can be bought.

    1. The loss of RVP can be overcome, that's for sure. But this is RVP at his peak. You have to admit that it's still a big blow. And for Wenger to do business with United on such a scale speaks volumes!

      The big chequebook was available at City and PSG as well, but it's not just about the cash. Wenger did the right thing with all the players he coached, but when those players know they can earn better elsewhere for doing the same job, they'll go (as loyalty means nothing). But that's where the Arsenal model is currently failing. Because financially it makes sense, but on the pitch it's (somehow) punishing them. Think of the invincibles. Everyone feared them. Didn't matter who it was, they were a scary bunch who were being handsomely rewarded based on their success. Arsenal have got the cash, but they're just not spending it. They've got 60k fans a week paying the highest ticket prices in the country. A stadium sponsored by a brand. They're not a poor club.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but this was the first summer Arsenal went on an international pre-season tour (which generates LOADS of money). Why didn't they ever do it before? It's little details like this that aren't allowing Arsenal to reach their full potential.

      Pay the players the wages they want, and they'll get you the results on the pitch, which will get you the trophies, which will get you the cash (sponsors and what not).

    2. A few things...

      RVP's 'childhood club' was not Feyenoord, but Excelsior; Robin only spent two years at Feyenoord.

      You say this might have been the first time the roles have been reversed and that United were able to sign him instead of the 'huge cash-filled clubs'. Im sorry to break it to you, but United are one of those clubs, just because they attain their money through different means doesn't mean they don't throw big money around at players in the same vein that CFC, MCFC etc. do. (Veron, Rio, Rooney, Berbatov, Anderson etc...)

      You also keep saying how RVP has been sold at his peak and that it's different to players gone before. Henry, Cesc, Overmars, Petit, Adebayor, Vieira hell even Nasri were all sold when they were approaching their best years.

      'Arsenal have got the cash'. How do you know what the club finances are like? They are still paying up a debt and frugality and maintaining a tight shipt (money-wise) has been a running theme for a while now, why does it surprise everyone when we don't offer the same wages as City, CFC etc?

      We do not have the highest ticket prices in the country, our entry-level match day prices are not the highest which is something considering Arsenal is based in London.

      Also you're wrong about the pre-season tour. Arsenal go on one every year; last year they went to Malaysia as well as a couple other spots in Asia. The years before they usually stick to a low-key Austrian/euro tour.

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