Story by Sarah Mobbs
With the transfer window open, and the 2012/2013 season only a month away I think it’s about time I started talking real football talk- rather than simply sentimental gush. This week then I’m going to be not as team/league-balanced as I maybe ought to be, and talk about the impending departure of Robin van Persie from Arsenal, and how Wenger plans to compensate for his loss.
I was most upset to read that van Persie will not be extending his contract with the Gunners. Overrated by some and underrated by others, I have always felt that Arsenal somewhat depend upon his offensive talents. While Wenger is determined (and desperate) to persuade RVP to stay, it is becoming more and more likely that he will lose the battle to keep his star striker.
The number of clubs now in line to whisk him away is increasing; yet looking most likely is Manchester City. Offering him £200,000 A WEEK(!) City can certainly afford to tempt him away and having already snatched Nasri and Clichy from Wenger, their clutch of ex-Gunners would seemingly do them no more harm, after going on to win the Premiership last season. However, Manchester United are also tipped to be talking about how RVP might help them regain the top spot. Fergie is most certainly not afraid to splash the cash and stop City gaining another chance to come out on top this season but, will it be enough to keep him in red, rather than Blue?
So what is Wenger doing to minimise the damage? Well, he’s certainly acted much more accordingly and much quicker than last year. Snapping up Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski (French and German respectively)rather than leaving things until the last available chance, he has at least properly used his foresight in replacing RVP. Both are strikers of proven ability and both are determined to see Arsenal succeed. Podolski certainly seems to be a good decision on Wenger’s part; his former manager at Cologne, Stale Solbakken, praises him most highly and admits that at Cologne, he was “bigger than God” (from football365.com) and scored 18 goals in 30 games (scoring 45 in 100 for Germany) and while Podolski is hoping for an opportunity to play alongside RVP, it would seem that he would make a very good replacement. Meanwhile, despite the fact that the signing of Giroud was supposedly not about replacing van Persie, Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi has now admitted that it was a tactical move saying that signing him would mean that the Gunners would not be “cornered” (from skysports.com) should RVP choose to leave.
And so while it will be a sad day to see van Persie leave Arsenal, I am also really excited for the start of the new season, and to see just how Giroud and Podolski shape up with the rest of the team. With RVP leaving, seemingly in search of silver, and Podolski’s determination to see Arsenal win, he may do just as well to stay with Wenger. Unfortunately, I think it will take more than one season to see the Gunners rise to the top, and much more than what Wenger has to offer to keep RVP on side.