RVP may have turned down talks for a new contract but it doesn't result in a disaster due to a new Arsenal era.
Since Thierry Henry left for good in 2007, Wenger has looked to the Dutch striker Robin van Persie as his talisman in the Arsenal ranks. Wenger typically signed Robin at a young age with a slashed transfer fee of 2.75 million – a bargain compared to the likes of Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp of years gone by.
Van Persie never really got a chance in the Arsenal squad on a regular basis due to Wenger’s philosophy of playing with wingers instead of two out-and-out forward. Van Persie is classic number 9, of which the species has become somewhat extinct.
The Dutch maestro, who has been compared to the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Marco van Basten, truly announced himself in September 2006. A long ball landed on the edge of the penalty area and almost like superman, the Dutch talisman leapt into the air before striking the ball and his vicious effort almost burst the net at The Valley to complete a win over Charlton Athletic.
He would go onto score 13 goals in that season, a record for him in an Arsenal shirt. He would be hampered by injuries in the next season, only managing twenty-three appearances. To anybody who says that van Persie only came good last year is false.
Since the start of the 2008-09 season, Van Persie has rattled 89 goals in 145 appearances which averages out at a goal every 0.61 matches. This is largely due to his performances in Europe and the Premier League, true, he did manufacture his greatest season in an Arsenal shirt last season.
It was a season which included a spectacular volley against Everton, but in terms of the Europe’s elite leagues, his scoring record can only be bettered by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Mario Gomez – two of which averaged over a goal a game.
The introduction to this article may have contradicted my argument tremendously and with the goals and assists he provided for Arsenal last season it shows that his club would have lost the most points from any instrumental Premier League star for their club.
However, and Arsene Wenger may have a sixth sense for this sort of thing, Wenger understood that Van Persie’s rising expectations and reputation across the whole of Europe with the likes of Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid only able to acquire his signature – Wenger bought big for the first time in a while if you exclude last summer’s panic buys.
Not since the likes of Samir Nasri and Andrei Arshavin signed for Arsenal back in the 08/09 season, Wenger has barely ever added two or more reputable players in one season. He has struck early with the signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud – two players who hold phenomenal records in the past season in the Bundesliga and Ligue One.
These two early signings which were made prior to the transfer window opening on July 1st prove that more are on the way for Wenger – he knew that there was a possibility that the talks with Robin van Persie would faulter at some stage. More high profile signings like this could replicate the invincibles which saw the likes of Cole, Vieira, Ljungberg, Pires, Henry, Bergkamp and Sol Campbell all hit their peak simultaneously.
Before the start of the season you cannot promise that Podolski and Giroud will be sufficiently replace Van Persie. Podolski’s scoring record of 18 in 31 may have been stunted by the club he was at in FC Koln but like Podolski, Giroud hit an amazing goal tally, claiming a 25-goal season in 43 matches for the French champions, Montpellier.
Giroud claims 0.51 goals a game whilst Podolski claims a 0.58 record – two no mean feats from two underdogs in two big divisions. It is easy to see that these two strikers carried their side throughout the season – just like van Persie. Podolski is proven at international level whilst the 25-year old in Olivier Giroud will certainly partner the 27-year old Podolski.
Giroud will be able to learn off his German partner and, just like what Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll could have and probably should have been, they will be a deadly forward pairing. There are a world of differences between Arsenal and Liverpool though.
Liverpool may have claimed silverware unlike Arsenal but Arsenal performed better throughout the season both in Europe and domestically. The end of an eight-year era for Van Persie should not bring misery to Arsenal but a new era with new players – another re-building process in Arsene Wenger’s 16-year tenure at Arsenal should be renewed optimism for the Arsenal fans.
After all, it’s not the first time Wenger has had to re-build a squad.