With Arsenal's fall from grace and miraculous rise back up the rankings to squeak through to 3rd place and the Champions League next year, I was beginning to think that we'd recovered from the debacle of the twin losses of Francesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
Photo courtesy of soccerball365.com
And then Robin van Persie (RVP), captain, Golden Boot winner, and Dutch primadonna extraordinare, started to drag his feet around leaving, which prompted more rounds of worrying. Wenger was busy buying up forwards rather than midfielders and defenders, which indicated to me that he thought RVP
was on the way out. And now he's decided not to renew his contract at the end of next season.
Despite his awful form at Euro 2012 (for a guy who "scores when he wants," he only netted 1 goal in 3 games), he becomes very marketable now that interested teams dont have to pay a transfer fee. Obviously, he also screws Arsenal from at least $20m+, so he won't be getting any love from me or any other Gunner fan.
Unfortunately, there's no one on the horizon to replace RVP - it seems Clint Dempsey might be off to Liverpool - but where will RVP go?
Here are my thoughts on likely destinations, from most to least probable:
1. Chelsea - no obvious striker there now with Drogba gone means higher likelihood of playing time. Needs to keep an eye on Torres if he gets in form or if Hazard (albeit not a striker) starts playing well from the start.
2. Man U - would they put 2 strikers up front? Might be some drama in the dressing room with Rooney. Ferguson is also less forgiving than Wenger, so any drop in form means he might be subbing in for Rooney instead.
3. Real Madrid - not sure how he'd do with a crazy coach in Mourinho and the other Galactico strikers in Ronaldo and Benzema. I'd say he's definitely sharing time and will have to fight to make the 1st team consistently.
4. Man City - already has a slew of strikers although I think RVP can make first team. How many egos does Mancini want to manage, though? Already has a crybaby in another Gunner traitor, Nasri.
5. Bayern Munich - more far-fetched, but he'd definitely be playing most games. They'd have to convince him they can win UCL though.
Don't think the Italian teams have a shot right now with the corruption scandals and overall chaos going on unless he's just interested in a Serie A title. Barca probably isn't the best fit either in terms of style of play. That's about it.
Now, to figure out how to get Podolski and Giroud to produce as effectively as RVP last year...