It's a world of hurt for Arsenal fans like myself, as we've now lost another key player to add to the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri last summer. It's not the first time there's been speculation surrounding one of Arsenal's best players, with Arsene Wenger stating that he's confident of keeping the player(s), but a sale ensues nonetheless.
The Van Persie departure, though, is one where fans feel especially betrayed. After season upon season of countless injuries, Arsenal has stuck by the Dutchman, keeping faith in him and not cutting their losses on the player despite his frustrating injury record. Until this past season, Van Persie has never shown his true potential—and it's upsetting for Arsenal supporters that after his first full, fit campaign with the club Van Persie decides to jump ship.
But it's not all bad news, not at all. The Van Persie situation overshadows a, quite frankly, brilliant summer for Arsenal, where they've signed three quality players in Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla.
While the fans will call for an immediate replacement for Van Persie, they may already have one—or two. Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud have the potential to become a dynamic duo that can light up the Premier League this season, a duo that can definitely make the fans forget about Robin van Persie.
In Arsenal's recent 4-0 friendly win over FC Cologne, all three of Arsenal's new signings shone. Lukas Podolski netted a brace on his debut, with the first being from the penalty spot and second coming after some lovely link-up play with Kieran Gibbs. Olivier Giroud made Cologne's goalkeeper look phenomenal after forcing him into several saves and coming close to scoring on a few occasions. Santi Cazorla, the newest signing, controlled the midfield and attacking third with some clever passes as well as tricky dribbles.
I know, it was only a friendly and Cologne aren't exactly at the same level as a Premier League side. But it was a nice look at the future of Arsenal, with Cazorla living up to the hype that he'll be Arsenal's midfield maestro—and possibly the replacement of Fabregas—while Podolski and Giroud commenced their strike partnership in style.
In terms of the players who aren't new additions, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked good in his cameo as a centre midfielder, Theo Walcott seemed dangerous down the right flank and Gervinho continued his excellent preseason with a superb solo effort. Robin van Persie's 21-minute cameo, on the other hand, was somewhat unspectacular.
So while the media will probably make it look like it's yet again crisis time at Arsenal, it's not—not nearly. Key players like Wilshere returning from injury, young players like the Ox maturing and the new signings give reason for hope for Arsenal supporters.
The way I see it, it's a new era for Arsenal. Robin van Persie was the last player left from Arsenal's "glory days," and now that he's gone it's time for the Gunners to wipe the slate clean and have a fresh start. The new signings and rising young players will kick start what can be an exciting new wave for Arsenal, hopefully one that sees success, trophies and, most importantly, the continuation of champagne football.
Arsenal must move on, and that starts on Saturday.
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