Arsenal Depot

A depository for musings on Arsenal FC

Champions League Assured, Van Persie Talks Tomorrow

Apologies to regular readers for the inordinate delay in putting up the post yesterday. If you missed it, the West Brom review can be found here. Elsewhere, Arsenal Vision has done a quite brilliant pictorial on how we’ve come from behind this season and silenced those critics that wrote us off not so long ago.

Now that the emotional rollercoaster of Arsenal’s Premier League campaign is finally over, thoughts must turn to the future.

An important part of that future is sorting out Robin van Persie’s contract situation. If the BBC are to be believed, De Kapitein has been invited to Le Professeur’s house tomorrow morning for a cuppa tea and some scones – or baguettes – whatever he likes really. Ivan Gazidis is likely to be present as well and the Daily Mail reckon a 3-year extension at £130k p/week will be tabled, as well as a signing on fee of £5m.

That would make the deal just over £150k per week over four years, way above anything Arsenal have offered to anyone in the past. There may be added benefits as well, such as performance related bonuses and incentives based on the Gunner’s achievements in the League and Europe.

I wrote a piece a few weeks ago on RvP’s contract extension possibilities. I still believe that if Manchester City or Real Madrid come calling, we can’t hope to compete with the numbers they can throw at him. But the offer talked about is without doubt very lucrative and I think it may be enough from a monetary perspective.

It all depends on what Robin wants though. Besides a fair wage, he is likely to seek assurances on how Arsenal plan to compete for prizes next season. Van Persie has been outspoken on many issues since taking over as captain in the summer so if he has any concerns, we can be sure they will be aired in Arsene Wenger’s immaculately manicured garden tomorrow.

Maybe all the Dutchman wants is an Arsene cuddle after all.

Whatever the outcome, the positive for Arsenal is that Robin is committed to resolving his future quickly. While a deal is unlikely to be concluded before the end of Euro 2012, I think we’ll get a fair idea which way the wind is blowing before the week is out.

Arsenal’s new striker Lukas Podolski posed in the new club kit and answered some questions for Arsenal.com. The German striker talked about the influence of Arsene Wenger’s multi-lingual skills (Arsenal ist die beste, Lukas) and Per Mertesacker’s gentle goading (sign ze farking contract now!) on his decision to come to the Emirates.

The thing I found most pleasing about the interview was the German’s answer to being quizzed on his favored playing position. Anywhere up front, he said, it’s the manager that decides where to play me. Not everyone is comfortable with playing where the manager wants them to, Theo Walcott being a prime example of a striker who always has one eye on that central role. You feel Podolski’s versatility has been a vital part in Arsene Wenger’s decision to bring him to the club.

In non-Arsenal news, Carlos Tevez’s classless celebration at City’s victory parade took some of the shine off their title-winning exploits. While at first I genuinely felt happy for City, especially for our ex-Arsenal contingent of Patrick Vieira, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy, this Tevez incident combined with some ungracious remarks by Samir Nasri post-QPR has left a bad taste in the mouth.

While many neutrals were cheering for City this time around after United’s dominance over the years, the newly crowned champions will quickly find themselves the most hated club in England, as much for the off-pitch antics of their players as for their cash-driven approach to achieving footballing success.

Of course, we have our own Balotelli to deal with in Nicklas Bendtner when the world’s best striker returns from Sunderland – if he can first make the bus, that is. One can argue he’s already missed the one at Arsenal, his arrival only tolerated until a half-decent offer comes along.

The footballing world seems to be ever more populated by the likes of Barton, Tevez, Balotelli and similarly mentally challenged individuals, degrading the beautiful game into a mere platform for their personal gratification. At the same time though, I can picture Theo Walcott sitting at his desk by the window writing his next children’s book about a boy who dreams of playing as a lone striker. So maybe there’s hope after all – maybe more for humanity than for Theo’s chances of playing as a lone striker, but hope nevertheless.

Starting tomorrow, I will be doing an Arsenal season review and looking at the areas where we might improve our performances. It will not be an individual player analysis, but the wider areas of goalkeeping, defense, midfield and attack.

Until then.

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