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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Decoding Van Persie's Statement

This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.

It was a well-known fact that after the end of season meeting between Gazidis, Wenger, Van Persie and his representatives they all agreed not to discuss or comment on what occurred in said meeting. So much that the Dutch FA agreed with Arsenal to ensure Van Persie did not take on any media obligations while at the Euro’s. In his statement, Van Perise says it is his belief that it is only fair that we the fans really know what’s going on. That strikes me as him reneging on the verbal agreement made with Wenger and Gazidis in a bid to serve his own purposes. With regard to the media speculation, one must ask has there really been any difference in the media speculation in the time between the end of the season and the date of his statement. There have been stories here and there but are they any different from the ones we heard last season with the constant links to Man City, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona?

As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.

I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.

Whilst I would view this as an indictment on the powers that be at the Emirates, I would suggest the signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud go some way in disproving that. Whilst Giroud and Podolski are not in the Eden Hazard range, they are good signings on every front. Giroud comes to England on the back of leading the French League goal charts, Podolski at 27 has been capped 100 times for Germany, definitely not a mean feat. Obviously, one has no idea of what was said at the meeting but one has to expect Van Persie was realistic. Having Giroud and Podolski in the set up surely suggests a strength in depth that was lacking last season and would suggest an improvement on the 3rd place of last season would not be far of. Personally, I also find this a bit condescending on his part. Does he think Mr Wenger wants to remain trophyless? Messrs Wenger and Gazidis’s jobs are to manage the club’s finances in relation with the club's requirements and I believe they have sought to do that whilst taking into consideration that the club is hamstrung financially and unable to rival the sugar daddy led Man City's and Chelsea's of the world? Why did Van Persie decide to release the statement today? The Transfer window has just opened and there are about 7 weeks left? I doubt Arsenal have done their business for the Summer and there’s still a lot of time for them to make the moves that could see the team challenge the Manchester teams and appease him. Clearly, his aim was to make his position untenable and force the club’s hand into selling him whilst also pulling wool over the eyes of the fans into holding the club and Wenger at fault for not fulfilling his needs when in reality they have attempted to. This would portray him in innocent light, thus retaining to some extent the cult status he currently holds like say, Thierry Henry who despite abandoning the club for Barcelona is still revered as the greatest player the club have ever had.  Based on reports, Man City are offering 250k per week. Arsenal, on the other hand 130k per week. Over five years, Man City’s contract is worth 65 million whilst Arsenal’s stands at about 33.8 million. It’s easy to play the “I want trophies and don’t see myself getting them at Arsenal” card but the gulf in both figures would make me a bit suspicious about that. If money’s irrelevant, why release a press statement effectively burning all bridges with the club when you can see your contract out, watch the season pan out and see how Arsenal fare. If they are successful and secure a trophy, a contract could be signed and if unsuccessful, leave on a free and no one would begrudge you. If money was as irrelevant as he portrays, why come out with this statement which is effectively a transfer request when he could easily submit a formal, direct transfer request? Well, by doing this he would be able to retain the one off loyalty bonus owed to him whilst losing it if a transfer request were submitted?

I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.
I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC. Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last 8 years. As soon as Mr. Gazidis is back from his 2-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.

As soon as Van Persie’s statement came out, Mark Gonnella, Arsenal’s Communication Director tweeted “Ivan is not on holiday. Such things do not exist for Chief Executives at football clubs or anywhere else”. Going back to the point I raised previously, of what significance was mentioning Gazidis being on holiday when it has been proved not to be true? It strikes me as another attempt to villainize Gazidis. It would suggest to the fans a lack of commitment on his part thus demonizing him and suggesting he is the party at fault when that is in fact not true. Whilst I’m not of the camp that Arsenal standing by him through his injury travails should count as some bargaining chip to earn his loyalty, I am a bit disappointed that he chose to undermine the club as such. Cesc Fabregas did something similar last summer after reportedly telling the club he wouldn’t play for them again in a bid to force his move to hometown club, Barcelona. He was smart enough not to make such postures publicly. Would this have been a 'safer move on RVP’s part? His statement portrays the picture of a man who wants  to be loved so I'm a bit surprised as to why he would run the risk of blatantly incurring the wrath of the fan base? 
Also, one cannot claim to love and then abandon in a time of need.
Reading this statement and that of Wayne Rooney when he submitted a transfer request two seasons ago then making a U turn and signing a new, improved contract a couple of days later they are quite similar. A lot of the same words and clich├ęs were employed. Had I been a blind optimist, parallels could be drawn between both scenarios but the again, he’s not British as Rooney was so the hate symbol he could become is not as relevant to him as it would to a home-grown player.


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