Van Persie calls for Arsenal to match his ambition as injuries mount…

Robin Van Persie has been the main topic for discussion and the club's top scorer has been in the news discussing his future with Arsenal and whether or not he will sign a new contract. The main reason he hasn't signed is because he doesn't believe Arsenal's ambitions match that of his own. Words that players like Henry and Vieira have previously muttered and words that ring in my ears like Big Ben's bells. The problem is not that Van Persie has said what he's said - the problem is, he may have a valid point (ish).

Last summer, the big name departures of Flamini, Gilberto and Hleb were replaced only by Nasri. Yes, some young and fringe players were also bought, Bischoff and Ramsey, Coquelin and Silvestre. When Henry departed the year before, he wasn't replaced. The fact we've let such players as Vieira, Hleb, Henry all leave does raise eye brows. Yes, of course I know we've got a stadium debt, but does that mean we have to live in a state of mediocrity?

Let's take a look at what Van Persie had to say:

“I’m still in negotiations with Arsenal, and it’s going well – in a very positive atmosphere. There are further meetings planned. Financially Arsenal’s last offer is fine, but that isn’t everything for me. It’s about my ambitions and how they can be fulfilled.

“The club and I want the same, and it’s our intention to achieve that. We have all the other factors in place – fantastic stadium, dedicated support and money in the bank. Now it’s about making that final push. In the last four years, I’ve only won one prize, the FA Cup – and that is too little. I want to push through to achieve more. That is something I feel in my mind and my body. It’s difficult to explain, but I certainly feel I can play an important role in taking Arsenal to a higher level.”

And his words are testimony to his stature at the club. He want to play an important role and he wants to take us to another level – but at the same time, he does say he hasn’t won anything for a while and does say “it’s about my ambitions” – mixed signals from the Dutchmen – I think we can take it from this statement, he doesn’t want to leave – but was assurances from the boss that next season we’ll be challenging. If that means we have to buy a player or two, then it means we have to buy a player or two. If that means we keep a player who wants to leave, then we should keep him. It’s hard to give assurances, because everyone knows that it’s Arsene intention to finish as high as possible. The boss does think that he has the squad to win the title.

In all fairness, the development of players like Song, Denilson and Diaby does bode very well for next season, but what is the clincher? What does Arsene have to do to really get somewhere next season, do we need someone else to come in to make a difference or was Arshavin the final piece of the jigsaw?

RVP continued:

“I believe the wild days are behind you when you reach 25. From this age on, you should be reaping the rewards of what you’ve learned. After seven years in professional football, I now have what I need to go further. I’ve heard and seen enough – it’s as if I’ve crossed a barrier. I see players between 25 and 30 having their best years. In a certain sense, it feels like a voyage of discovery – and I feel I’m where I want to be as a footballer. This also applies to physical development. Now, I can play out matches a lot easier.”

And we’ve seen Van Persie really shine this season, no doubt he is class. And no doubt, the best of him is to come.

Personally, the signing of Arshavin has proved that we’ve got the ambitions we need. Prior to this, the acquisition of Nasri and Ramsey were for rather large sums. And maybe it is just our injury crisis that turned us into a team challenging for fourth…

In response to Van Persie’s comments and those of Cesc’s future, chief exec, Ivan Gazidis said:

“It’s not good enough for us to be in fourth place, we have to be competing for the Premier League title. I think there are a variety of reasons we are in fourth place but it’s not the level of our ambition – not the level of Arsene Wenger’s, the board’s or my ambition. Arsene believes he is developing a superb team of young players who can compete for the Premier League for many years to come.”

And specifically on Cesc’s future, he continued:

“I can’t marry the stories that I read with the reality, which is that Cesc is extremely happy at Arsenal and totally committed to the club, and that’s every message that (manager) Arsene Wenger or I have ever received from him or his representatives. I am very confident that Cesc is committed to the club. You never relax about any situation but we are very confident that this team will stay together, progress together and achieve success together. The young players that we have and the manager we have believe we are doing something very special here.”

I do feel reassured by Gazidis. The players coming through – the Merida’s, Wilshere’s, Gibbs et al are very exciting. But something to consider, was that even with our full team out, against the likes of Fulham and Hull, our performances weren’t good enough… is the missing element still that elusive defensive midfielder… or have Song, Densilson and Diaby finally come of age?

Answers on a postcard….

Finally, Van Persie, Bendtner, Diaby and Walcott are all very much likely to miss this weekend’s game with Man City – but on the flip side, Cesc and Ade should be back and Eduardo should be able to play, and of course, Nasri and Arshavin are fit as far as reports tell me…

All that leaves me to say is “Come on England…”…

Til tomorrow…]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Gazidis is saying the right things about the club. 4th spot shouldn't be the position a club like Arsenal should aspire to. Personally I feel that not adequately replacing the likes of Hleb, Gilberto and in particular Flamini from last season, and Henry the season before that, have limited our progress in winning competitions. Before we go looking elsewhere for players, the first challenge is to make sure we keep hold of all the players we want. Cesc, Theo and RvP definately fall into this category. Ade could probably leave and not be missed as long as we brought in a suitable replacement.

    As for where to strengthen, our central defence definaltely needs an extra man to come in for cover and provide competition for first-team places (Hangeland would be an ideal player for us here, and realistically he could be bought in the next transfer window). As well as cover for Bacary Sagna at rightback. Perhaps someone similar in the way Gibbs covers for Clichy, someone capable. More importantly, a proper, experinced defending midfielder would do us wonders.

    What I liked about Gilberto is that he was able to come in on at least two of these positions, and went about his game quietly. Song is definately improving in this position, but perhaps not quite the finished article.

    So perhaps 2, maybe 3 signings in addition to our current team from a full strength squad that can seriosuly contend for trophies.]]>

  • unspoken

    < ![CDATA[lol. did u guys read the news about giovinco signing for arsenal.

    though i wish it was freaking real.

    but rumours have it that it's an april fools stunt..

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/10/italy/2009/04/01/1185913/riots-in-turin-as-sebastian-giovinco-signs-for-arsenal

    check it out..]]>

  • AJ

    I agree with RVP we do seem to lack that drive at times and quite often this season I have felt that the team have settled for what we’ve got at the moment, fourth place, as long as we are in the champions league it’s ok. The signing of Arshavin does show good intent by the club to bring in quality players, but I’m still not convinced I think he may have been bought because the club wasn’t doing well in the league, the fans where beginning to get on the players back and frankly we looked a joke compared to the other members of the big four, surely if they were truly serious a player of Arshavin’s calibre would of been brought in in the summer, Wenger must of known that Denilson and Song are no Flamini, while Diaby always seems to have some sort of injury, as for Rosicky, who knows when he will be back. Either way I hope that the club shows some real intent by strengthening the team this summer, we don’t need lots of players, I think we only need 3 more players really, a good combative midfielder, a good solid defender and a new striker, because I don’t think Adebayor will hit the heights of last season again, so sell him and bring in someone new.

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[AJ, I think you're spot on... yes, the signs of intent are there with Arshavin's signing, but was it done because we were scared we wouldn't finish fourth?

    I think you're right with your signing suggestions too, a good combative midfielder (100%), a good solid defender (75%) and a new striker (50%) - in that order!

    Of course, we have a plethora of strikers in RVP, Nikki B, Eduardo, Vela, Arshavin and Walcott - mmm, who have I left out, so that's the last of my worries!]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[I'm not sure we'd have bought Arshavin if Cesc wasn't injured imo. I think it forced the club into a big signing. Hopefully they'll see the impact he's made and be more willing to make other necessary signings. And with RvP out, perhaps Arshavin will get to play his favored position as second-striker?

    Agree with Dev about the order in which we need to bolster our squad. Defending midfield and centreback cover is needed. It's a big ask for three central defenders to compete in all the competitions. I'd even argue for cover at rightback too, as Sagna looks a little tired sometimes. At least Clichy has Gibbs to cover him.

    Brede Hangeland of Fulham is a player I like, and he has gone on record admitting he'd leave at the end of the season if the right offer was made. Maybe he's an option for us?]]>

  • Pissed off

    Dev , did not mention Ade as a striking Option, not good u know that. Adding three extra players means one or two has to go. The real question is who will go; Dean mentioned it earlier and am kind of in line with what he said.

  • Debs

    Well, Eduardo’s definitely back and firing! He just scored for Croatia! :) More of that on Saturday please!

  • Fabrez

    I was with a friend of mine…a Man U supporter…telling him Edu scored! (As if he cared…i damn well did tho) :D

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[lol. What does a Man U fan know?! lol
    Good for him that he scored man! Was well ecstatic- massive confidence boost for him yet again, especially after the penalty miss in Rome (has he played any match since that game? I'm not too sure). But yeah, good signs, good signs!]]>

  • Fabrez

    I think he was on the bench against Newcastle but didn’t play. It’s insane how he just comes back from his minor setbacks (and of course his major setback!) scoring goals…that is a top top quality player! Eduuuuuu!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[yeah, definitely top class! I hope Fabregas' return is like Eduardo's- not so much in the terms of scoring goals, but in terms of being close to his best so soon after returning from injury. But yeah, Fab's seemed fired up for a while anyways! lol,. But just the fact that he's back in the team is enough for me!
    Can't wait to see the Fabregas-Arshavin combo; with Eduardo being his usual fox in the box; Nasri on the wings... if only Walcott wasn't out.
    I soo can't wait for the Man City match,so much so that I honestly thought 2moro was saturday! lol
    Good to have these guys back!]]>

  • Fabrez

    We never know what to expect but I think Cesc will b firing on all cylinders…he really needed a break and he got one. Mentally he should be craving football and he said he feels physically strong so can’t wait! Our midfield combos can be sooo good very soon! Hope Theo is coming along well in terms of his recovery and hopefully we cud have 1 or 2 of Nik, RvP and Diaby back for Villareal. 1 of them back for Man City would be nice (of course in an ideal world all 3 suddenly fit wouild make my day! lol) And for some reason i keep on thinking 2morro is Friday…seems like we both want Saturday 2 come sooner…understandably so tho…it has been almost 2 weeks with Arsenal playing…testing times!! lol

  • Fabrez

    *without Arsenal playing

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[If only we lived in an ideal world! No injuries... *sigh*
    But yeah, Arsenal not playing for sooo long has caused massive havoc to my sanity! lol]]>

  • Fabrez

    Well Nik played, to my suprise, yesterday. So that is good. That means that Ade will not just stroll back into the starting XI… Got nothing against Ade but he needs to prove himself if he wants to start ahead of Nik and the other strikers. Hope 4 more good news wrt injuries!

  • Debs

    Apparently he came on after 34mins and I think played untl the end, so hopefully that’s a good sign!

  • Fabrez

    Yeah he did…fingers crossed! I guess Arsene will reveal all 2morro in his post-match interview…

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Oh damn! No Eduardo! :(

    “We have lost Robin van Persie for a groin problem,” manager Arsène Wenger said.

    “We have also lost Eduardo through a groin problem, he picked it up after 80 minutes in the Croatian game. We lose aswell Abou Diaby with a thigh problem that he picked up in France in training. We might lose Nasri too because he came back with flu and could not practice today.

    I guess we may never have ALL of them fit at the same time this season?]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That sums up what I'm feeling really. Back to the drawing board - for all who've already penned down their predictions for the starting 11.]]>

  • Fabrez

    ONE GIGANTIC MASSIVE BI OGLD *SIGH* :(

  • Fabrez

    *BIG OLD *SIGH*

  • Fabrez

    Distressing! Good grief!