So who remembers how I ended last week’s blog…
‘…Here’s hoping for more news next week.’
Well later that afternoon my ‘wish’ came true as RVP dropped a bombshell on his own website by announcing he would not be signing a new contract. (Apologies if you’ve read all this before and I’m covering old ground but I wanted to say my two cents.)
‘I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.’
First thoughts? Oh Sh*t but I’m not surprised. No news isn’t typically good news in this situation and the longer this dragged on, the more unlikely it became that we would see a positive outcome. It was only after hearing the conclusion of the statement that I started to pick out parts of the full statement.
I’m not going to pick out words and phrases to analyse it a week on but the general tone of the email shocked me then and still puzzles me now. In essence, RVP was questioning the clubs policy and set up. Some will argue he has every right to question the off pitch activity (or lack of it) if this is a concern to him but there is a way to express your concerns.
Ok fine, you’ve made the decision not to renew and you want to move, guess what? you’re not the first and I can guarantee you won’t be the last. Once you’ve told the club your final decision, allow them to hold a press conference or issue a public statement informing all. Through this process the club are able to maintain a strong bargaining hand when negotiating the transfer but more importantly RVP is able to keep the bond with the club and fans he has told us all about over the last few seasons. We’re not stupid, we understand players move on and want to continue their careers elsewhere. We would love to see RVP see out his career at the Arsenal and go down as one of the all time greats, why? Because we’re selfish passionate fans who only think of our one love, The Arsenal. Like with Henry and others before, he could have walked off under bit of a cloud but eventually welcomed back as part of the family.
Too late now. The statement was designed to create a stir and to make his position as club captain, lest we forget, untenable. He/his advisors clearly acted without the clubs knowledge and wanted to ensure that they drew the first punch. That first punch floored the club who reacted with a statement shortly afterwards, but by then RVP’s camp had created the stir they wanted. Fans were furious at the lack of respect show by our captain toward the club and more importantly, his manager who had stuck by him for eight seasons and had even recently defended his ‘class’ after the Euros.
This situation could have been handled a lot better by RVP and his advisors, who were clearly behind this. Bridges have been burnt.
There are plenty of questions that still remain unanswered for me and including the fact that RVP’s behaviour toward the end of the season did not match the tone of this statement. My gut feel is that this isn’t over yet. That does not mean we’re about to see a Rooney/Gerrard style U-Turn but we may witness a battle between Arsenal and City over where RVP ends up. The fact regardless is simple, yet another summer of preparation messed up due to the sale of our star player.
So where do we go from here?
Questions about the club’s policy and direction will have to wait for another day, probably 2014, as nothing is going to change today. For those expecting £20m signings, dream on or buy a City shirt because that isn’t happening. The bottom line (typically the most important in the eyes of our directors) is that the Arsenal do not go out and sign superstars for big money. We never have. We’ve gone out, found players with potential and imbeded them into the Arsenal way. While this policy has been championed by Mr Wenger, George Graham and others have also followed a similar way of buying. There are only a few signings I can think of that were true star players before they joined the club. Yes we signed some good players who were always destined to be good but we also took risks on players who just didn’t work out. This has always been the club’s policy regardless of the stadium or its debt. Henry and Bergkamp, struggling in the Italian league but not stars; Arshavin, unproven out of Russia; Suker, passed his sell by date; etc. For those that may have forgotten, RVP was signed for £2.75m on his future potential.
I’m not naïve enough to think we don’t need new blood. I strongly believe our squad needs new blood to replace the players that haven’t worked out for us. RVP is now in the same camp as Bendtner, Arshavin, Chamakh, Park , Squillaci and Djourou. For one reason or another, their time at the club is probably up. It’s time to sell and build where needed again.
RVP if you are leaving, thank you for the good times and the amazing goals. The break up looks like is going to be messy one and it may take us a little while to look eye to eye but as long as you don’t back chat us after you’ve leave, I’m sure we return to a level of mutual respect.
Have a good day all, here’s for some positive news next week!!