Saturday, July 14, 2012

Meet the new Blog, same as the old Blog

Groundhog Summer.

 For Fabregas last year, read Van Persie this.

 I think the indignant response from many Arsenal fans to Van Persie's statement is unwarranted.

 Football is now, undeniably, equal parts sport and business. How else can we explain UEFA's insistence on changing the European Championships from a competitive, 16-team tournament to an unwieldy, 24-team one? Money matters, and what goes for UEFA, and the big clubs, goes for the best players too.

 Football generates obscene amounts of cash. The great players are at the root of that. They generate the excitement and the interest. Robin Van Persie is one of the best around at the moment and he has a right, at his age, to prioritise making as much money as possible. Sadly, as we all know, that can't happen at Arsenal.

 But, what's sadder still is that he hasn't a hope of achieving his sporting objectives at Arsenal either.

 People have reacted angrily to his reference to a meeting with Wenger and Gazidis, in which he was not convinced of the club's ability to compete in the coming years.

 It may have been arrogant of the player to question his own manager's project, when that project has arguably been responsible for his development as a player. It is undeniable that Arsene Wenger has made Arsenal what they are today, a big club with a big stadium and the potential to grow into a footballing superpower.

 But while austerity measures are still in place at Arsenal, can anyone realistically argue that it is the best place for Robin Van Persie- soon to turn 29? It may be that, when Arsenal's stadium-related debts are paid, and as the club finds new ways to raise money for the purchase of players, Arsene Wenger will be able to bring in players who are at Van Persie's level. Clearly, during that meeting, the Dutchman saw that that time has not yet arrived. By the time it does, his best days will be behind him.

 To the people who say that Arsenal stood by him during multiple, injury-ravaged seasons, and that he owes the club the same loyalty, I ask: why? The club stood by Van Persie because they knew his colossal talent. If they decided to cut their losses, there would have been plenty of other big clubs willing to gamble on that colossal talent. He would not have somehow ended up in the footballing wilderness.

 What Van Persie has shown is not selfishness, but rational self-interest. It is clearly beneficial for him to move on. He had a great season personally, but the club had another poor one. Without him, who knows how poor it would have been. Why would he waste another season, when a shot at the big prizes, and greater financial rewards, await elsewhere?

 He is a professional, not a fan. I don't doubt his affection for the football club but he has to do what is best for him. Speaking of fans, I wonder how many would act differently if they were in his position. It is easy to take the moral high ground from a distance, but football is Van Persie's job, and if anyone is offered a better job, with a better chance of success, and better money to boot, what do they do?

 I say good luck to him.

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