Good morning Grovers. Today is a very important day in our summer. Robin Van Persie sits down with Ivan, Big Dick Law (perhaps we can't do football naming conventions for our directors) and his agent. Darren Dein will obviously be there... like a shark detects blood in the sea, Darren Dein can sniff out a massive pay day from 32,301 miles away. He'll be there, hiding in the bushes or the briefcase of Ivan Gazidis.
One thing that warms me about this meeting today is that Kees Vos also represents Thomas Vermaelen. He signed up to a new deal with us without any hassle. I guess the main difference there is firstly Thomas was coming back from a rotten injury and secondly, he's relatively young in comparison to Robin Van Persie. The way I see it is there are three options today...
1. Robin agrees that he'll not sign on this summer, instead taking a free transfer next summer
Pros: He'll get a monster pay deal next summer. The pros for us is that players in the last year of their deal tend to have better fitness records. Well, according to someone who told me that in the pub. Nigel Phillips from the AST I think? Apparently they ran a study for this in America. If I could be arsed to dig it out, I promise you I would.
Cons: He's lost out on £4million this year if you think his value is £160k a week. £7.1mill if you think he's worth what Carlos Tevez is worth. If he takes a free next year, he'll have lost out on £14.2mill. Is he going to get that in a signing on fee? I doubt it. What about if he gets injured next year? He'll have lost out on the biggest pay deal of his career.
2. Robin agrees a massive deal with us and signs on for the next 4 years of his career.
Pros: He earns less than he's get at City but he'd go down as a legend of this club forever.
Cons: He might not win a trophy for his whole career. His talent surely merits a trophy.
3. Robin agrees an extension based on a few things. 1) We sign players that make us competitive 2) He's paid a staggered loyalty bonus that goes up every year 3) He can leave if we're not matching his ambition
Pros: He gets paid what he's worth. He can leave when he wants. He gives himself a great chance of winning a trophy if we match his ambition.
Cons: He might not get the mega pay deal he would at City. But if it's not all about money. That shouldn't be a problem.
The meeting takes place at 10:30 at his house. Let's see how persuasive Ivan and Richard are. I'm neither confident nor despondent about this situation. Robin's comments don't really fuss me...
'You never know but Arsenal is a massive club. Whatever happens, I'll always love this club.'
He's hardly going to come out and say he'll definitely stay. He'd know Ivan would be round with his Tesco Value contract if he did... he's playing it cool. Anyway, enough on that... onto other news, which is obviously in abundance now the season is over!
Podolski has been making positive noises in the press. He's been talking about where he's going to play next season...
'In Cologne, I played as a centre forward and also as a playmaker'
'In the national team I play wide on the left. I honestly don't mind where I play, as long as it's in a forward position.'
Sounds like he doesn't really care too much for which side he plays. I think he'll play wide left. If he's playing centre forward next season, you'll know it's because we failed in our negotiations with Robin. If we do keep the Dutchman, it does leave us with quite a bit of competition in the wide areas. We'll have Ryo, Theo, Gervinho, Chamberlain and Podolski... I like competition. We certainly need it at the club after some very complacent end of season performances.
Finally, The Daily Mail reckon Junior Hoilett is attracting interest from Arsenal, Spurs and Bayern Munich. I'm not really sure you can ever take anything too serioulsy that paper publishes because they will publish anything to maintain their record of being the biggest online newspaper site in the world. However, I was told way back in January that he'd not taken a move to Spurs during the winter window to get one to Arsenal this summer. We'll see. Things change by the minute in the world of transfers, so you'd imagine those plans could be quite wildly different right now.
I suppose a lot depends on what Theo does with his contract. It's been another average season from the man who promised so much. He still doesn't have the pitch presence or consistency to merit anywhere near £100k a week. Still, you can't expect him to sign on for anything less than a payrise... the folly of Arsene and his monster contracts.
There's loads of web talk about the great tackle Gibbs made last minute against West Brom. It's a bit OTT to call it the £30mill tackle. Like West Brom are incredible finishers. The thing that makes me laugh about it all is that the reason he had to make a last ditch tackle like that was because he was out of position. Gallas made a career out of that! As did Kolo Toure come to think of it...
Anyway, let's just be pleased he made it and we finished third.
There are a lot of rumours going around about Vertonghen agreeing a deal with Arsenal then being shot down on personal terms. That's not what happened. We've not bid for him. His wage demands would not sit well in our dressing room apparently and we'll have known what they were before we went to the effort of sending a fax to Ajax. Surprising that a player of his calibre is considering Spurs when a club like United are looking for centre backs.
Finally, I've knocked together a poll for you. Enjoy.