Nothing is going to bring our mood down this week. Nothing. Nothing. What? Robin Van Persie has an injury scare and failed to finish a training session with the Dutch national squad? Ok, the good mood has gone. Our player of the season has a strain in his groin and is in big doubt for tonight’s friendly against England.
With another important fixture coming up on Saturday at Anfield, I would loath for RvP to be risked. Of course, I’m talking about this from the standpoint of a Gooner and probably not many Orange fans would give a damn about what we think. In any case, there’s absolutely no point in risking him over a friendly. It’s not as if Bert Van Marwijk doesn’t know that he’s their number 1 striker. I sincerely hope that BVM assesses the situation well and don’t mess with the fitness of our captain.
In recent times, BVM seems to have an understanding with Arsene Wenger with regards to RvP. That is good and I hope that they keep in communication over this situation. On one hand, it is easy to imagine that AW might try to rest RvP in preparation for the upcoming AC Milan match but given the outcome of the first leg, that looks unlikely. His importance to us more than just someone with an armband.
Whenever we talk about RvP, apart from the goalscoring and leadership exploits, there’s also the contract side of things. Mikel Arteta is convinced that RvP will resist the temptations of the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Apparently, there’s also good news coming from the Dutch side of journalism as RvP was quoted to have hinted that he wants to stay with us. You probably have read one too many articles speaking about his contract situation and there’s no need to dwell on that here.
Moving along, yesterday there was a major transfer story coming out from Bild in Germany. In the article, it states that Arsenal already have an agreement with Lukas Podolski over a summer transfer move. Agreement over personal terms at least. Which is slightly strange because I thought one would have to agree terms with the club (in this case FC Koln) before being allowed to discuss any personal terms. Otherwise, it would be considered tapping up, no?
That is unless Koln themselves have given Arsenal the permission to do that. Which is not unlikely given the way relationship is between the player and the club at this point in time. Strain is one way of describing it. First and foremost, Podolski is an experienced international player with the German national side. However a question mark hangs over him, especially given his performance when he last moved to a big team (Bayern Munich).
Essentially, Podolski is a left footed player who can fit into our system either on the wide attacking role or as the central striker. I must admit that usually when I see him in action, he plays as the wide man and I have never seen him in action centrally. Which also means that most of the matches that I’ve seen him play is with Germany and not Koln. He looks comfortable with the new style of play that Joachim Loew has introduced to German football and that is a positive considering that our style is not too far removed from that.
What does that mean for the team and the rest of the squad? In general terms, it means that we have reinforcement for RvP. Someone who’s not marquee nor is he an unproven talent. Unproven-marquee? But immediately, it is worth noting that he is of better quality compared to the other strikers who are behind RvP in the queue at Arsenal. Whether or not his temperament and character permits him to be on the bench is another matter on its own.
If we are to recruit him, it would surely mean the end of either Marouane Chamakh or Park Ju Young’s time at Arsenal. Or it could even be both, if RvP’s rating of Benik Afobe is anything to go by. Chamakh seemed to be attracting interest from Fiorentina and there won’t be many Arsenal fans shedding a tear over his departure. Such is his fall from the heights immediately after his arrival on our shores. The same could be said of Park, though his fall hadn’t been much while with us, just that we haven’t quite seen enough of him to make any judgement. Or could judgement be made by his non-appearance for us?
However, let’s not kid ourselves. RvP has had a fantastic season and that’s entirely down to him being able to maintain his fitness throughout this campaign. Something which we have not seen of him since he signed for us. It would not be hard to envisage RvP suffering an injury next season. If that happens, then having only Podolski as the option is not enough. We still do not know whether he can adapt to the English/Arsenal game. It would be risky to put all our hopes on him.
There will be plenty of that discussion going around come the end of the summer. For now, I pray for all Arsenal players in action today to be free of injury.
Published with permission from ArsenalHeart.