May 17, 2012
A day after claiming that they didn’t expect a deal to be reached between Robin Van Persie and Arsenal in the 24 hours remaining before the Dutchman headed off for the Euro 2012 training camp, the tabloids have erupted in absolute horror at the fact that…a deal hasn’t yet been reached between Robin Van Persie and Arsenal before he heads off for Euro 2012.
‘RVP TALKS CRISIS’ screams The Sun while the Mirror tell us that Robin has ‘given a clear hint that he is ready to quit’. Want to know what I think? I think that just like the rest of us the tabloids have absolutely no idea what happened at that meeting. Because they weren’t at that meeting. And I think that because Arsenal didn’t slap a statement on the official site telling the world that Robin had signed they knew they’d just have to hazard a guess at how the talks went. And ‘RVP TALKS GOING OKAY’ wouldn’t have been a particularly eye catching headline.
Everyone needs to calm down a bit. If the worst thing that happened in that meeting is that RVP demanded that Arsenal demonstrate an ambition to win trophies next season then how bad can it have been? It’s not like AW would have replied ‘actually, Robin. We don’t have any desire to win trophies here. If you want silverware you should jog on.’ The worst he could have said was ‘We also want trophies but I think you’ll see that when Abou Diaby comes back fit and ready to play 50 games next season we have the squad to do that.’
But I saw the look on his face on that touchline as we conceded yet two more soft goals in the first fifteen minutes of a must win game against a mid table side on Sunday. He knows we need more quality to mount a title challenge. He has to know. And if he doesn’t then I’m sure Robin will have laid it out for him in no uncertain terms. So for the first time in a long time Arsene will be accountable to somebody for his summer business. And at the very worst I think that Robin will be packing his things today with a promise ringing in his ears that Arsenal are about to prove how badly they want to compete.
One man who may go a long way to convincing Robin is the ever linked Yann M’Vila who a week and a half ago everyone seemed convinced was about to be unveiled as our latest new Patrick Vieira. The trail has gone cold since then but he’s about to play his final game of the season for Rennes against Dijon on Sunday and after that he’s got some decision making to do:
I’ll make my decision after the game against Dijon. It is true that I would like to improve my game and for that, I have to look elsewhere. Why not in a foreign country?
One man who should be ready to bolster that midfield next season is the much missed Jackie Wilshere. Following fears that he was having serious trouble getting over his ankle knocks there was brilliant news from him yesterday. Speaking to Talk Sport he said:
My ankle is fine now. I’m in every day trying to get fit for the start of pre-season and that is the aim – on the 9th of July to be training with the team.
Glorious news and let’s just hope that there are no further setbacks. He’s in a great position now that he doesn’t need to rush anything in terms of his comeback. He’s got another two months to work on getting stronger and stronger ahead of the real business of pre-season training and by the time the new season rolls around we’ll be hoping to see a fit, healthy and rested Jack Wilshere ready to remind the world why we all got so worked up about him in the first place.
Two players that won’t be getting such a relaxing summer are Theo and The Ox who have both been named in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the Euros. Obviously Oxlade is the surprise package there and I’ve read a few Arsenal fans stating their reluctance to see him included, citing the apparent damage it did Theo to be taken to the World Cup at such a young age and the fact they’d like him to rest up ahead of the new season.
Sorry, but I think that’s nonsense. I’m delighted to see him included and not just because it will give me some sort of impetus to try and get myself excited about watching England games. He’s a hugely different case to Theo. Theo was selected for the World Cup having not even made his Premier League debut. AOC may not exactly be a regular fixture but he’s made 16 appearances for Arsenal at least and while there is undoubtedly a lack of consistency there (as you’d expect for an 18 year old) he’s shown more than a few flashes of being able to cut it at the very highest level.
Maybe it’s a terrible indictment of how rare a talent like that is in England but I have to say, if I was England boss I’d want him in my squad. He’s got the ability to create magic. To make something out of nothing. And how many in the England set up can you say that about? Stewart Downing?
As for the number of games he’ll play, at 18 years of age if he can’t manage to play 16 times in a year and then half a dozen times more over the summer then I really don’t know what we’re feeding the kids in this country these days. At that age I could have played twice a day every single day of the year. Is it the Turkey Twizzlers? Is that what it is?
The big problem with Theo was that once selected he quickly fell out of favour with Sven Goran-Eriksson and didn’t play a single minute of the campaign. Roy says that won’t be the case with The Ox:
I wouldn’t have chosen him if I didn’t think he was ready to start games, He has a maturity beyond his years, he is a precocious talent. I think, sometimes, there has to be a place in the squad for a precocious talent. It’ll help England’s future as well.
More important than that, it will help Arsenal’s future. A decent showing at a major international tournament will give him the experience and confidence that he needs to come back to the club and become a major force for us in the Premier League next season.
I can’t wait.