Van Persie And Walcott Talks This Week
Welcome to Crunch-Talks Week at Arsenal.
Robin van Persie returned to London yesterday and had a medical at the club. Medicals usually precede the announcement of new signings, don’t they? In this case though, it was just a routine check-up by Arsenal physios to ensure Robin hasn’t lost too much weight looking for a new house in Manchester.
There is talk that Arsene Wenger might force Van Persie to join the travelling party to the Far East, even if the Dutchman were to leave later in the summer. Like most fans, I think that would be a bad idea. Unless Arsenal intend to use the player next season regardless of his contract situation, taking someone whose future is uncertain will only create avoidable tension in the camp – especially if the player involved is as high-profile, influential and out-spoken as Van Persie.
On the other hand, transfers are dependant on player’s preferred destination, clubs negotiating a fee and personal terms being agreed, among others. Arsenal may have a figure in mind for allowing Robin’s transfer, and if that price is not immediately met, the club would negotiate patiently than allow the buying club to grab the player at whatever figure they can come up with. I am certain the club got a better deal for Cesc Fabregas by being patient than if we’d agreed to sell the Spaniard at Barcelona’s first asking.
Leaving a player at home strengthens the negotiating position of the buying club – Arsenal would virtually announce to all suitors that Van Persie is not part of our plans for the coming season. Secondly, while negotiations continue behind the scenes but with no certainty of the player being sold, the manager has to ensure that if a transfer does not materialise, he can use that player at the start of the season. Hence, perhaps, the inclusion of Samir Nasri on last season’s tour and speculation of Robin Van Persie being forced to travel to Malaysia and China this year.
In an ideal world, a contract extension or sale will be completed before the team leaves for Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Let’s face it though, it’s unlikely that a resolution can be found by then – I fully expect the Van Persie saga to drag on for a bit longer.
The other player with whom talks are reported to be scheduled this week is Theo Walcott. Both Chelsea and Liverpool are believed to be interested. While he doesn’t always deliver, I think Arsenal should hang on to Walcott because he will have a blinder of a season one of these years. I would rather it’s with us after all the patience we’ve shown with him.
Even with Theo, wage demands could prove to be a stumbling block. With Van Persie, you can claim that a £150k-a-week salary would be justified but is Theo Walcott really worth the £100k-a-week the media claims he’s demanding? Walcott’s case is symptomatic of the difficulties in retaining players – if Chelsea are serious, they will most likely be able to offer that compensation to a player who has only performed in fits and starts.