Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Arsenal must keep Van Persie at the Emirates

Hair today, gone with Adebayor tomorrow?
Before Arsene Wenger takes a holiday this summer, he must complete one piece of business as important as finishing in the top four: to ensure Arsenal's best player, Robin Van Persie remains a Gunner next season.

I'm puzzled by the term "marquee signing". It's origins are manyfold, but in Arsenal's case, I picture Van Persie as the metaphoric tentpole keeping their marquee upright.
Mancini tempts Gunners stars north
Because over the past three years in particular, it seems every time Manchester City come knocking, they sell them a decent player. Adebayor, Nasri, Toure and Clichy's moves have all conspired to earn Arsenal an unwanted reputation as the world's biggest selling-club.

Add to that the (inevitable) departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and it's no wonder the Gunners have had Tottenham snapping at their heels for that final Champions League place, which is why it's essential Arsene Wenger puts a stop to that this summer.
When did it stop being fun, Arsene?
Roberto Mancini covets Van Persie. Who wouldn't? After years of stop-start injury problems, the Dutchman has stayed fit and scored a hatful of goals to give the Gunners added impetus toward the business-end of the season.

Arsenal's ex-vice chairman David Dein uttered a simple truth: one of his principles was a successful football club started with a successful starting eleven. As Wenger tries to rebuild team dynamic after a couple of years of trading players, it's the world-class quality of Van Persie who'll help rekindle that.

Because it's not just his immense on-field contribution that counts, it's off-field, on-line and through every media outlet that perception counts too. Perception that Arsenal are still a club who can feast from football's top table, that they can still compete for League and European honours.

So whatever the Dutchman wants to fend off the attentions of City, Barcelona, Real Madrid (and Machlakachla-schmachla), the Gunners should match it. Van Persie wearing the red and white of Arsenal next season is non-negotiable.

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