Arteta’s Only Fifth Best While Van Persie Speculation Mounts
Firstly, many thanks to all the readers who commented on yesterday’s post about our pursuit of Yann M’Vila. Many of you made valid counter arguments to my own views and it generated a bit of debate so I am grateful to all those who took time to post their opinions.
Before I do a quick round-up of the news surrounding Arsenal, I would like to point you to a post I really enjoyed yesterday, Ginger4Limpar’s highly insightful review of the Gunners’ 2011-12 campaign.
While there’s plenty of speculation about targets such as Giroud, there isn’t any actual news. The one story dominating Twitter timelines yesterday was non-Arsenal related, the swayamvara of Eden Hazard seemingly ending with the Belgian choosing Chelsea as marriage partner – for an initial period of five years, it is rumored.
On Arsenal.com, Mikel Arteta was announced as the fifth-best player of the season as voted for by fans. I am a little disappointed the Spaniard finished that low. For me, he was the third best player behind Robin van Persie and Laurent Koscielny. While the work he does goes largely unnoticed, it was his overall contribution in the midfield that allowed Arsenal to control games even when the team wasn’t playing at their best.
In one of the interviews given earlier in the season, Arteta had this to say:
I just try to balance the team a little bit. I don’t want to be the main man; we all know who the main man is and that’s Robin. The most important thing is the team, and once the team is doing well the highlights will come for the rest of the players because we are playing well. Everyone is part of a machine and we are all just trying to make the machine work as well as we can.
With a plethora of eye-catching attacking players, Arsenal need to add one or two more professionals like Arteta who can do the hard grind without being noticed. Hopefully, there’s more to come from the humble Spaniard next season.
Most of the other talk in Arsenalsphere centers around the future of Robin van Persie. While it’s clear that no further discussions will take place until after the Euros, each passing day brings more predictions of his imminent departure. It could be partly due to the shenanigans of last summer but we, the Arsenal supporters, have only ourselves to blame for dwelling on a matter which is not even going to be discussed between player and club for another month.
Eventually, it is Robin’s decision to stay or not. I think the financial package that’s been talked about (£130k per week) is quite generous and I can’t see Arsenal stretching that figure any more than that. If the captain has other concerns such as new signings, these can be talked about – but it would be a dangerous precedent to allow a player to influence the club’s transfer policy – even if that player is club captain and has scored 30 goals in the last campaign. If Van Persie does not believe Arsenal can challenge next season, he should be moved on swiftly and focus shifted to players who are committed to the cause.
Last season, it was claimed that the onus for Arsenal’s attacking play fell too heavily on Cesc Fabregas. This season, his absence was covered further back in midfield where Alex Song’s attacking contribution and Arteta’s six goals helped Arsenal achieve a better goal tally than last season. Sure, Robin van Persie’s 30 goals were critical this season but life goes on. If Van Persie were to leave, I am certain we would see a better distribution of goals among the other strikers.
Then of course there’s the possibility he will stay. While it’s a good topic of discussion about how Arsenal might cope with his departure, there’s a long way to go before RvP’s decision is forthcoming so let’s just stay positive while we wait.
Back tomorrow with some more thoughts.