Arsenal Depot

A depository for musings on Arsenal FC

Arsene Leaves Van Persie At Home As Arsenal Fly Into Malaysia

Arsenal commenced the highly anticipated pre-season tour of the Far East as the team touched down in Malaysia earlier today.

Expectedly, Robin Van Persie was not on the flight. Unexpectedly, neither were Giroud, Podolski, Mertesacker and Koscielny, all deemed to require additional time to regain their fitness levels. When you add in the injured quartet of Rosicky, Sagna, Wilshere and Frimpong, there’s plenty of first team members that have not made the trip.

From a fans’ perspective, especially those who will come to support the team in Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Hong Kong, it must be disappointing not to see many of the big names in action. From the manager’s point of view, it is more important for his key players to be fit and raring to go against Sunderland in just under a month’s time – if he deems that leaving them at London Colney will achieve this objective, so be it.

Besides the high-profile names left behind, the other first team players not included in the squad are certainly on their way out of the club – subject to Arsenal finding takers for them. The departures of Bendtner, Arshavin and Squillaci were anticipated, while it’s clear now that Park Chu-Young will definitely be shipped out as well. The one player whose Arsenal future remains unclear is Henri Lansbury. Like many fans, I was hoping to see him play the pre-season games but a shin problem put paid to his hopes of travelling to the Far East.

Arsene Wenger’s first pre-season interview on the club’s website is being indignantly received by a section of the media as well as many in the Arsenal blogosphere. There are those who feel that their intelligence is being insulted by statements such as ‘players are being left behind for fitness reasons‘ – especially in Van Persie’s case.

In my opinion, those people who are so indignant with Arsene’s ‘lack of transparency’ betray a lack of intelligence themselves. The moment Robin Van Persie issued that statement on the fourth of July, it was clear his chances of playing for Arsenal again were remote at best. Instead of reacting to the Dutchman’s raise, the club has done well to keep their cards close to the chest. If Arsenal Football Club had got into a public argument with Robin and his agent, it would have led to a media circus and eventually a reduced price for the striker.

As it is, Van Persie being left at home is a clear statement to the Dutchman that Arsenal have moved on. More importantly, it avoids any chance of a freak injury that would lower his sale value. In addition, Wenger’s carefully worded remarks leave the door open for suitors while letting them know that as one of the world’s leading strikers at present, Arsenal will not allow Van Persie to go cheaply.

What the media expected is an outburst from Arsene Wenger – something to sell papers. After 16 years of talking to him, they should know better.

Looking at the squad list again, there are a number of youngsters who have a chance to impress. The likes of Yennaris, Aneke, Afobe and Eastmond will all be on show. And along side the more recognizable names is Thomas Eisfeld, the 19-year old attacking midfielder bought from Borussia Dortmund last year. The youngster put in an assured performance against Anderlecht in the friendly last week and his inclusion on the tour is an indication of how highly Arsene Wenger rates him.

Amidst the speculation linking us with Ganso, Paulinho and Cazorla, perhaps Eisfeld can provide the answer to the lack of depth in the attacking midfield position? Maybe not, but I am still looking forward to watching the young German in action.

More tomorrow.

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