Robin Van Persie and Four Gunners Manchester City Could Turn Blue This Season
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He has been consistently linked with The Blues since he began a good run of form that has seen him score 17 goals in 19 appearances in all competitions in the current season.
More than that, they see his productivity in front of goal as the perfect weapon to help bring them their coveted triumph in Europe.
"Will he or will he not go?" Is the question on the mind of every Gooner.
Robin Van Persie has been evasive on the issue. He did restate his commitment to the club last month, however he fell short of promising to stay. Talk between him and the club regarding the extension of his contract, which runs out in 18 months, has since broken down.
In the following slide, I give my opinion on whether or not he will turn blue at the end of the season. I also discuss four more gunners that could turn blue in the summer, or even as early as this January.
Robin Van Persie to Be Blue
Pride in Battle or in Money?
Robin Van Persie could be kissing this crest after every goal next season, but the pride he'd be adoring wouldn't be in honor of "bloed en Zweet", it'll be in honor of a padded and fatter purse.
So is he to turn blue then?
Van Persie has given as many years to Arsenal as the iconic Thierry Henry. The latter left Arsenal after eight seasons. The current season is Van Persie's eighth. If he decides to leave, it wouldn't be fair to call him disloyal.
The only complaint Arsenal could have would be that he leaves at the best moment of his career when they could just be set to reap in him the fruit of their investment, which is what happened in the case of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
In comparison, Thierry Henry left the club at the dawn of a niggling problem with fitness. He had already given his best years to Arsenal by then.That he's still loved at Arsenal today may have a lot to do with this difference. It is unlikely that Arsenal fans will be as magnanimous with Van Persie if he leaves now.
But leave he may.
It makes sense economically.
When the fields were more even, players could stay with one club for the whole of their career. Loyalty could make a player forego a difference of 20 to 60 thousand pounds of weekly wages.
Nasri is reported to have doubled his weekly wages when he signed for City. Gaël Clichy may have increased his considerably as well.
How many of us can turn down opportunities that promise to drastically improve our prospect?
The prudent salary structure at Arsenal does not help. Reported at 90 thousand pounds a week for the highest-paid player (said to have been Cesc Fabregas), the possibility of keeping Van Persie on that when another club is ready to pay him twice or thrice as much is slim.
It makes sense as insurance.
At 28, Van Persie has approximately four years of active playing time left in his career. If he signs a four-year contract extension with Arsenal, that'll be it. At 32, no club will offer him the kind of money he is likely to get at this point.
Okay that's not totally true.
Anzhi could still come calling or a club in Turkey, or even an MLS club—that depends on whether or not he stays healthy and productive.
This last possibility does not open or close in relation to whether or not Van Persie stays at Arsenal. He could go to City and double his earnings and still leave after that for Russia or America.
The plain truth is this: It is more prudent for Van Persie to leave Arsenal now than staying. This is not to say I want him to leave. I want to see him stay as badly as the next person.
But will he?
A lot depends on what Arsenal offer him, but since they are unlikely to match City might for might financially, the chances of him leaving are higher than of him staying.
City fans know this, which is why last Tuesday at the Emirates they sang: "Robin van Persie, he's gonna be blue."
To keep him red will be a Herculean task.
Theo Walcott to Ride Easy at Etihad
A Padded Ride?
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Theo Walcott does not seem, in this interview, to rule out playing for another English Club when or if he leaves Arsenal. This is unlike Cesc Fabregas, who was definite about not playing for a rival English club when he leaves Arsenal.
But again, Fabregas had his mind set on Barcelona.
But how high is the probability of Theo Walcott leaving Arsenal next season? Quite high, in fact.
First, his contract situation is similar to Robin Van Persie's and although he is open to a new negotiation, news of progress on that front is not forthcoming. This can only spell danger for Arsenal.
When Walcott agreed to begin negotiation for a new contract, it was at that three-week period when his form dipped. Now he is on top of his game again. His assists have improved steadily, as have his crosses.
If he recovers the same goal-scoring form with which he began the season, it's only a matter of time before Manchester City come calling.
Manchester City, remember, buy any player who displays good form, which is why they're planning to buy the entire front line of Napoli. If Walcott continues to play well, the only thing that could stop Manchester City from buying him would be if they did a double over Arsenal this season.
Manchester City, you see, have this belief: "Any team that beats us must have better players than we do." Their solution? Make those better players theirs, cue in Nasri and Clichy.
Gooners be warned: Beat Manchester City, lose Van Persie and Theo Walcott.
Lose to Manchester City, keep Van Persie and Walcott. Which do you prefer?
But will Walcott turn blue?
It's hard to argue with hard cash. The ready face-saving excuse is there: "I need to win trophies."
Moreover, he has been linked to Barcelona, and who can argue with the best team in the world?
Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong Could Ride the Blue Bus
My red shirt for blue? How much?
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Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong could both join the thoroughfare of Manchester City. Call me crazy, but hear me out first.
Who would have predicted that Wayne Rooney would turn red after declaring he'd be blue forever?
Or when Emmanuel Frimpong takes umbrage at Nasri apparently because of the latter's disloyalty to Arsenal, the same warning lights should begin flashing. After all, who knew that the sweet Anakin Skywalker would grow up to become Darth Vader?
What has fiction to do with this? A lot, as a matter of fact.
Are stories not meant to teach us about real life? If Jack Wilshere returns to the same form he showed last season, it's finished. Nothing could save us. He'll be City's.
Unless you're telling me he is beyond being tempted by wages thrice as high as what he earns at present. Or that Manchester City would uncharacteristically choose to show no interest in England's best young player. Both don't seem likely.
There may be some blue in Wilshire's future, sad as it may be.
I guarantee you this: With the way he played in the Carling Cup, had we beaten City in that game, they'd be in talk with his agent already.
To keep both Frimpong and Wilshere? Arsenal should decide never to beat City again, not when they're still married to Sheikh Mansour.
Laurent Koscielny in Blue Paradise Like Fellow Frenchman
I will go and prepare a place for you.
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The principle that says, "Other clubs have better players than we do but we have the money to buy them," is precisely the one that applies here.
If Roberto Mancini can say with a straight face that his current squad is not good enough to win the Champions League, then I'm not crazy to think that should Koscielny continue his current form, Mancini might just decide that he's the intelligence that is lacking in his defense and so should be bought.
So Koscielny only joined Arsenal a year ago? How does it matter? How long did Nasri stay at Arsenal?
There are only two ways Arsenal could keep Koscielny. Deliberately make him play badly, scoring an occasional own-goal now and then or decide never again to beat City as long as Mansour remains liberal.
Realizing that the new contract that Thomas Vermaelen signed would not be enough to keep the blue wolf off him, he was instructed to score an own goal. That brilliant strategy ended any immediate interest from City. Now Arsenal can hope to keep him for a while.
Come to think of it, losing the Carling Cup match wasn't such a bad idea. That result will keep City off Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Francis Coqeulin and Emmanuel Frimpong.
The team City beat, they think they're better than, that's why they will not make a move for Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young or Danny Welbeck. But the team that beats City they think they're inferior to and set about wooing their players.
Let wisdom guide us!