I’ve set my stall out re: Cap’n Pat – I don’t want him to leave – but the more I think about it, if he’s ever going to depart, this year would be the year.
For Arsenal, money would be a big motivating factor. He’s still worth something in the region of £12-£15m (Claude Ukelele went for that price, and he was around the same age), but that’s £10m less than last year, and next year, when he is 30, it will have decreased yet further.
When he signed – and proved himself to be a unique talent – almost nobody expected him to remain at Arsenal forever. The fact he’s been here nine years already is amazing, to be frank. He’s our second longest serving player, after Dennis Bergkamp.
But it’s taken a Herculean effort to keep him here these last two seasons, so if he agitates for a move again, perhaps this time would be the time to let the deal go through.
Two years ago, seeing him leave would have led to much hair-tearing and groaning, but this year, most fans seem more prepared to entertain the thought. Perhaps we’ve just had enough of the boring saga that unfolds each summer. Perhaps, deep down, some people feel he’s not the player he once was (I disagree – every player has a bad half-season at some stage).
Obviously, the whole deal hinges on whether the man himself wants to go – and whether Wenger is prepared to let him go – and neither man has said anything yet. Strangely enough, much to everyone’s great frustration, last summer Vieira barely said a word either.
This might drag on.
And as for the Chelski boss’s rant – we’ve been rustled! Yup, we run the FA, and we all gang up on Chelski. It’s a fair cop.