Tuesday, 15 May 2012

16 May 2012 -Totteridge -Wenger and RVP to discuss his Arsenal future

Morning Gooners.

Now the dust has almost settled on our Premier League season, our attention has switched to completing one of the most important pieces of business done - getting Robin van Persie to sign a new deal.

The golden boot winner will sit down with Arsene Wenger tomorrow at his Totteridge home along with chief executive Ivan Gazidis, negotiator Richard Law and Van Persie's agent, Kees Vos. Whether or not Darren Dein, who is also in van Persie's team of advisors and attended the Football Writers Awards ceremony with him recently, will be there as well remains to be seen.

It's quite clear that Arsenal's wish to have their captain's future sorted by the time he meets up with Holland the following day appear to be slim. He's due to report to the Netherlands training camp on Thursday leaving little time for the deal to be done, unless he's blown away with the deal Arsenal are set to offer him.

All reports this morning say the club will put on the table a deal worth £130,000 a week with a £5million signing on fee for agreeing to commit his future to the club for the next four years. This will make him the highest paid player in the club's history.

Unfortunately for us it's only half what he could earn at Manchester City, who according to the The Sun and Daily Mirror, are set to make Arsenal a £20m to £25m offer for our captain's signature. Whether he'd sign for the league champions is another question and from all I've read, it appears the Dutchman wouldn't want to play for another English side if he left Arsenal. But money talks... so who knows.

What we do know is that he wants the best for Arsenal. He's fired 30 goals and nine assists for us in the league this season, which have enabled us to finish in third place. He's taken on the role of captain very seriously and fostered a team spirit. He's never spoken out against the club and really wants to win trophies with us.

One of the big topics for debate around Arsene Wenger's table will be whether the club are able to meet his ambition. One of the concerns Robin has is that he's had to be relied upon to score goals. He's had an excellent season - the best in his career at the club in terms of appearances and scoring - but can he do that again next season?

The signing of Lukas Podolski is a move in the right direction. But it's clear we need more goals from the rest of the team. Theo Walcott got eight, Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen six each and Gervinho and Yossi Benayoun four each. The rest of our 11 league goal scorers only got one or two each.

Will Arsene Wenger be able to build a side capable of winning the title next season? There is a lot of surgery needed to our current squad if we are going to be able to bridge the gap between us and the two Manchester clubs and seriously challenge them for the title. While we have a first 11 who are capable of beating the best teams on their day, we don't have the squad able to compete over the course of the season.

We also need to cut out the complacency. All too often we are not set up to beat the so-called lesser teams correctly in my opinion. Whether that is a mental issue or a lack of motivation from the players, it needs to be addressed this summer in the way we prepare for these games.

The long and the short of it is that Arsene Wenger and the club need to clear out the dead wood at the club and bring in players who are hungry to perform at a consistent level each week. These players have got to push us up a level so that we can compete against the Manchester clubs for the title next season.

I don't think Robin will sign a new deal before the end of the week. But even if he doesn't, I don't think the club will sell him either. Where can you buy a player who has scored 30 league goals for anything less than £20m+?

I'm sure this won't play out in the same way as it did with Fabregas and Nasri last summer. Van Persie has more class than to do that to Arsenal. But I'm sure whatever the captain decides to do about his future, he'll be an Arsenal player next season.

Until tomorrow.

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