To tour or not to tour, that is the question
This morning the BBC announced that Robin van Persie would not be going on the club’s tour of Asia, because he needs to stay behind and ‘work on his fitness’. Obviously the club don’t really expect anyone to believe that, so why they can’t be honest I don’t know, but I suspect it’s all connected with the general lack of cojones when dealing with players and contracts. And not entirely coincidentally there are now rumours of bids from Juventus, Man City and Man Utd. The Juventus rumour is that their bid is only £8m – have they not seen on transfermarkt.com that his value is £42m?! Honestly, what the hell are they on?
No one – not even Man City and their bottomless bank account – is going to pay £42m for a 29 (next month) year old so I don’t know who came up with that valuation for the website, but equally £8m seems to be rather taking the mick.
News of the bids – well, I say news, there is no actual hard evidence of any bids in the public domain, and thus all info should be taken with a gritting lorry full of salt – set off a bit of a flurry on twitter, but nowhere near as much as the announcement that the Arsenal captain (yes, still – can you even believe that after his recent statement? More evidence of no bollocks at managerial and Board level) wasn’t going to be on the plane east.
My personal view is that unless he has actually signed for another club and the money is in the bank he should go. He is contracted as an Arsenal player and therefore when it comes to playing and training he should do what he’s damn well told to do. However, it doesn’t appear that anyone at Arsenal has the will to enforce this.
“But he’ll be a disruptive influence if he doesn’t want to go,” said a few on twitter when I put my view forward. Well that’s easy – put him in a different hotel. He doesn’t need to be anywhere near the rest of the squad if he’s going to be disruptive. I want the players who want to be at Arsenal to have every opportunity to succeed in the new season.
“But we’ll have to get used to playing without him,” was another point. As was “But what if he gets injured?” I didn’t say he had to play on the tour, did I? Just that he has to go, and shouldn’t expect to be let off all his contractual obligations just because he’d rather not fulfill them.
I also think Arsenal should hold out for £15m at least. Others would rather just see the back of him for any amount of money if he wants to go – £8m from Juventus is fine by them. I would rather see him sit in the reserves if he doesn’t want to play. There’ll be another transfer window along in January, we can get £8m for him then just as easily as getting it now. If he feigns injury or plain refuses to play then he should stop being paid. Let him sue. By the time the case is over he’ll have missed half the season, so he still won’t get everything he wants. And if we get that far, push him onto the pitch in the last minute of the first Champions League game so he’s cup-tied, just to show him he can’t mess Arsenal around.
I’m not saying don’t sell him. If he wants to go, of course sell him, but on two conditions: we can get a fair price and it’s on the club’s terms. I’m getting fed up with players running the game. I know owners will take advantage as well if you let them, but let’s work on one thing at a time. All I’m saying is that getting a bid is no reason not to send him on the tour. The only reason not to send him is if there are signatures on contracts and money in the bank.
It’s not petty or spiteful to expect players to fulfill their contracts and play and train when and where they’re asked. They signed a contract! That’s why contracts exist, so that people don’t get out of their obligations – obligations that in this case are paid for by every Arsenal supporter.
So pack his bags and sit him on the plane. Perhaps it will be a small deterrent to others thinking of doing the same thing.
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