Morning, fellow carbon lifeforms.
Robin van Persie, aye? Where do you begin? How do you adequately sum up his contribution to Arsenal this season when the superlatives have been used up long ago?
He’s irreplaceable, he’s our captain and the thought of him leaving rivals the idea of a ‘Step-up 4’ in the unpleasant stakes. Over the course of this season, his contract has taken up as many column inches as the praise his performances have warranted. Arsenal supporters the world over would happily offer up their sisters, mothers and virginities to see him sign on the dotted line. The quintessential query occupying the brainbox of the Gooner faithful is simply; “will he?”.
Call me a romantic fool, a blind optimist or whatever you deem apt, but I’ve got a sneaky, clandestine feeling of hope brewing in my abdomen; I think he’s going to. However, I think it’s going to take a few caveats the club will have to agree to. Paramount amongst those is an end put to our parsimony in the transfer market. Like any top player, Robin wants to win things and Arsenal are going to have to match his ambitions by bringing in real quality. We don’t need a spectacular overhaul that sees several departures and several incomings, not at all. We need only 3-4 top-class signings to augment what is already a good squad of players. If we do that, I think we’ll sway the decision in our favour.
Over the course of the past 6 months, Robin has grown into the role of a striker – his brace at Anfield were striker’s goals – and he’s gradually proven himself a real leader and someone who the team are willing to follow. I like his modesty. Whenever interviewed, whenever offered praise, he’s only too quick to point to the contributions of others. After the Liverpool game, for example, he said:
‘I’ve got 31 goals this season. I can’t believe it. It is the first time in a season I have scored this many – and 25 league goals, it is just insane.
‘But I have to thank my colleagues because without them I am nothing and they are a massive help.’
That’s what a captain does; he leads by example and doesn’t place himself as the figure of glory. Robin leads the players in a way that isn’t typically ‘English’; he doesn’t scream, shout and wear his heart on his sleeve. He leads by setting the example, by being the focal point of the team, by understanding the most important thing of all is the team itself.
He’s comfortably the best striker in the Premiership. If we can hold onto him, if we push onwards and secure 4th then I’ll be a very happy guy indeed. There have been many mistakes made this season, not doing everything possible to persuade him to stay would be the biggest of all.
That’s yer lot folks. Tomorrow I’ll preview the Milan game and bring you team and selection news. Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Take a moment to comment and follow my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner.