Aroused from my blogging slumbers again, now what is it this time? This had better bloody well be important.
Well, itâ€™s Robin van Persie to all intents and purposes handing his notice in, without actually handing his notice in. Not extending his contract is all down â€“ he says â€“ to the fact that â€œwe in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.â€ Not financial, he says.
Arsenal countered with a brief statement, saying â€œRobin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfil his commitments to the Club.â€
Naturally thereâ€™s shock and anger and resignation and belligerence, but I ask you this: Are you really surprised? He has just a year to go on his contract, no doubt having had ample opportunity in the last year or so to renegotiate it should he have desired. This always seemed a likely outcome and in light of this information, Arsenal must have thought so too having already bought two strikers for around Â£23m. This now seems like a very shrewd move.
The manner of it is a bit galling, posting it on his own website, without Arsenal knowing, clearly wanting to push the issue. The pally tone of the announcement will sting with some people but Iâ€™m too long in the tooth to get too flustered by it all. Players leave, players arrive. Life goes on and the best you can do is to prepare for it â€“ something we didnâ€™t do last summer, but have addressed this time.
I donâ€™t blame him, why should I? Heâ€™s done eight years at Arsenal, an age for a modern footballer. Heâ€™s been a good pro, a role model, and the only real regret is that he didnâ€™t play more. Yes, we stuck with him when he was injured but heâ€™s given us a lot of enjoyment â€“ particularly the 37 goals last season â€“ in return.
And whether you believe or you donâ€™t believe his comments about it not being financial, are we all at peace about the direction of the club ourselves? Weâ€™re so not.
Has he backed Arsenal into a corner in which they have to accept a low fee? We shall see about that. The Arsenal response suggests that they wonâ€™t bow out quietly and nor should they. We do have one bargaining hand â€“ holding him to his contract. Itâ€™s not entirely fanciful even if bridges have been burned to a cinder.
But the likelihood is, unless he is Rooneying us into paying an absurd salary (I find this unlikely), that we need to do a deal sooner rather than later. I donâ€™t care much where he goes so long as itâ€™s not to another English club with whom we supposedly compete for trophies (you at the back with the hollow laugh â€“ see me later). That for me would be the salt in the wound. If it was City, thatâ€™s three years running. We can all titter a bit â€“ a lot, maybe â€“ about the ones we offloaded before but this would be different, essentially an admission that â€˜weâ€™re not serious about challenging you for thisâ€™. (You at the back with the hollow laugh â€“ join your friend by the headmasterâ€™s office).
Weâ€™ll see how this pans out. Messy end though it might be, I find it hard to get my blood up unless he takes the sheikh’s shilling. And even then – broiling internally is not good for the health. Heâ€™s a lovely player. Letâ€™s sort it out and move on.