Once again, Arsenal has been at the heart of the summer’s biggest transfer saga. Last year, it was Fabregas and Nasri. This year it’s been Van Persie. It has long been the assumption that Van Persie would be leaving the Emirates this summer, heading to either one of the Manchester clubs or to Italy and Juventus.
Bids have been made, bids have been rejected. There were reports that all 3 of Van Persie’s suitors had made bids in the region of £10-15m, all of which were rejected out of hand by Arsenal. I very highly doubt Arsenal will even consider selling their prized asset for less than £20m, even if it means letting him go for free next summer.
It will probably take a bid of at least £25m to get Van the man out of the Emirates and it remains to be seen whether his admirers are willing to shell out that much for an injury prone 29 year-old in the last year of his contract.
So, with the interest in Van Persie seemingly dwindling, will he yet remain with Arsenal?
Firstly, it must be remembered that Van Persie’s reasons for leaving were not primarily about money. He said he did not agree with Wenger and Gazidis about how the club should move forward. It is easy to see how that conversation went; Van Persie would’ve wanted money spent on big name signings, Wenger and Gazidis would have wanted to continue operating their self-sustainable business model by searching for bargains and investing in youth.
Since then, a lot has changed. Arsenal had already signed Podolski and Giroud, adding some much need firepower to the frontline. There followed a quiet period of transfer activity with the only rumour being the possible signing of 17 year-old striker M’Baye Niang.
But now things are once again starting to kick into gear in North London. According to practically every source in the business, the arrival of Santi Cazorla is imminent, whilst the loan signing of Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin also looks increasingly likely.
Cazorla is perhaps one of the most unfortunate International footballers of recent times, his career coinciding with that of Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Silva etc. Still, he has made 45 caps for the all conquering Spaniards, which speaks volumes for his quality. He has been hailed as the best player in Spain outside of Real Madrid and Barcelona, which is quite some accolade. He has played much of his career on the wing but is equally well suited to an advanced central role and he will almost certainly slot into the same advanced position which Fabregas employed so magnificently.
The signing of Sahin is also very interesting. He was named Bundesliga player of the year in the 2010/11 season as he propelled Dortmund to the title. His stellar performances earned him a move to Real Madrid where things haven’t exactly gone his way. A string of injuries last term restricted him to just 4 appearances and Mourinho seems more than happy to see the young midfielder leave, possibly creating room for Luka Modric.
There are 2 ways you could interpret Arsenal’s transfer dealings; preparation for their star man’s departure, or, a show of financial strength which might persuade their talismanic captain that they do possess the ambition to win the trophies he so desperately craves.
Arsenal fans will certainly be hoping it is the latter, as Arsenal now possess a midfield and strike force capable of competing on all fronts, providing Van Persie is still the focal point of their efforts. Questions still remain over the defence, where additional strength is still required. The amount of deadwood in the squad is also a worry.
If you’re an Arsenal fan, things are certainly starting to look a lot rosier than many would have thought at the start of the summer. If they still have the flying Dutchman as their captain come September, I imagine their faces will be red with glee.