By Walter Broeckx
Is the game we play in the Cologne the most important game for Arsenal this season? Or is it just the most important game for one player in particular: Robin Van Persie?
And in fact it is maybe not even down to the people on the pitch or on the bench to decide on that future of our last season captain. No it might be down to …the diehard Gooners who will spend their hard earned money on Sunday in Cologne. Before you start thinking: has it gone to his head all that praise about the ref reviews? Well it might but just walk this possible path with me.
The first thing we have to do is to forget all what has happened this summer. Let us set our feelings back to Sunday May 13, 17.00. What were you hoping in which shirt would Van Persie be playing this season? Well I think for some 99% (or maybe even higher) we all would hope he would be an Arsenal player this season. Keep hold of that feeling because that is the main feeling.
The next issue is the fact: should Robin Van Persie sign a new contract? We bought him for relative small change 8 years ago. He has given 8 years to us and has had 1 great season and the rest were mostly hampered by injuries.
If we go back to players who have ran out their contract, the only one I can think of in the last 7 or 8 years is Mathieu Flamini. How was he in his last year? Well it was his best year. Because he knew he was playing for whatever team he would be playing for and the better he was the more money he would get be it at Arsenal or at any other team. So if Van Persie would follow his footsteps that wouldn’t be too bad.
And in fact Van Persie not signing a new contract also means that he just stays on the (already high enough) wages he has and this will have as a result that Arsenal will have more financial power to pay other players. So Van Persie not signing is not a disaster, or it shouldn’t be a disaster for Arsenal.
So is there up to now any reason to boo him? Well I don’t think so. It is a private matter if a player wants to sign a new contract and earn more money. Or that he chooses to just earn what was agreed 4 years ago and stick to that. So if we take all this in account I feel no problem to clap in my hands the moment I hear his name and he will play in an Arsenal shirt.
Now comes the most difficult part. The statement. Because of some ill-advisers Van Persie agreed to launch that very silly looking statement. I think Vos-Dein shot themselves in their foot with launching that statement. We have bought 3 players who can be called top class in Europe with Podolski, Cazorla and Giroud – how can we not have ambition?
But the real thinking behind the statement was inevitably money. Van Persie is entering the final stage of his career and he is thinking of getting a big pay cheque for whatever happens later. Now that itself is no crime. I would walk away from my job if someone offers me double that money. And even then I can only dream of getting in a year what RVP wants in one week. But I’m human and some greed is familiar to me and so once again it is not a crime to want as much money as possible in your career. So wanting more money is again no reason for me to boo him.
The way he behaved with that stupid statement is however one bridge too far. He could have kept it behind closed doors and not gone public. But I think we can look at his agent-advisers for that stupidity. Stupidity on which he agreed but some advisers can be very persuasive and well we all make mistakes.
All the newspaper rumours about Van Persie flying to Manchester each day were just the normal newspaper gibberish. Pictures of him on arsenal.com clearly show that Van Persie was with the squad training like the rest of them. So please let us not get carried away by those reports and false rumours.
In fact I think those rumours are somehow fabricated by Manchester United and Ferguson in order to create an atmosphere where it would be impossible for Van Persie to change his mind and stay at Arsenal.
So what will we get as a result if we boo or don’t boo Van Persie next Sunday?
If we don’t boo him Van Persie will know that the fans could forgive him and still support him (as long as he delivers of course). And most of all it will make it clear for Wenger that he can keep Van Persie and that it will not have a negative impact on the support for the whole team.
Because I think it was clear (thinking back to the Adebayor saga) that when a player is unhappy and the supporters turn against him it can affect the rest of the team. When a team hears boos they cannot stop the game and ask each booing fan: “Against whom are you booing? Ah, RVP, ok fine so it’s not against me so I can feel supported”. No, booing affects the whole team and could lead to players letting their heads drop.
Now just imagine that we would boo Van Persie. The result would be that:
1.Van Persie will have no desire to make an U-turn.
2.Wenger will know that the fans might turn against him and this could lead to all kinds of trouble in the team.
3. The other circling vultures from other clubs will know this and will try to unsettle Van Persie and the fans even more. And this could lead to eventually Arsenal selling Van Persie at a too low price to no matter who.
4. The papers smell blood and will add more to their campaign of disinformation and Van Persie will be seen flying off to sign for all sorts of teams next week.
Do we really want those last 4 things to happen? Do you want to do the Anti-Arsenal’s dirty work for them?
So now think back at your feelings of May 13, 17.00. You wanted him to stay. What do you want? Think of the fact that for now Manchester United seems the only really interested club in Van Persie? Do you want to boo him direction Manchester?
Well I will be one of those deciding fans in das Rheinenergiestadium in Cologne on Sunday (tickets in the mail today). I HAVE NEVER BOOED AN ARSENAL PLAYER BEFORE! And Robin Van Persie will not have that privilege.
Not because I love him that much. No, just because when I try to think of it, the last thing I want is send him out to another team and possibly to our rivals. So if you want the chances of Van Persie ending up in Manchester getting higher… then just boo him on Sunday.
But if you think “I don’t want him playing for another team” and I want him to stay and play his best season ever or if not want him to rot in the reserves…then for God’s sake, then DON’T BOO HIM.
The choice is up to us Gooners who will be in Cologne. We might be part of how the coin will drop at the end. The most important thing we should consider is ARSENAL. And that is exactly what I will be doing by not booing Van Persie. Because it could and probably will damage Arsenal.
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