Good morning fans of Le Grove. It's excellent to have you here this morning, it truly is.
Did you watch the England game last night? Wasn't it a bit like watching an injury ravaged Bolton side from the mid 2000's? That's what it felt like to me. Sloppy, flat and lacking in ambition. I mean sure, a bulk of our best players weren't there, but wow, when you've got a group of 11 English players together these days, it's not a pretty site!
On the upswing of things we won. We also got to see appearances from Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Neither really did anything of note. The commentators did their best to talk up the Ox like he was the second coming of Theo Walcott circa 2006. Which is a shame. But I'd rather commentators wax lyrical about our players than Spurs ones.
I had a bit of a debate around Theo Walcott last night. I'm not a massive fan of the young winger. He's not a striker. Hodgson, Capello, Pearce and MacClaren all agree. He's a winger / attacking mid. He'll always be a wide man because he's too one dimensional as a striker. Now, this season saw an improvement in his game. But when all is said and done, 10 assists and 8 goals isn't an impressive return for a player with the pace he has in the type of set up we have. People highlight his age and the fact that those returns are good for someone who is 23... and again, I don't agree.
He's played nearly 200 games for Arsenal. He's played at the very highest level since he was 17. He's on £60k a week. He's looking for £100k a week. He's won nothing with us. Nani, who is arguably the best attacking wideman in the Premier League has won the lot numerous times. He's on £60k a week. Danny Wellbeck, who is at a similar stage in his development to Theo was on £15k a week last year and has been bumped up to £45k a week. So we're not talking about a football problem here, we're talking about an Arsenal problem.
The going rate for Theo is not £100k a week this summer. He shouldn't be getting higher wages just because he wants them. He should be paid the market rate. If someone can offer more... sell him. I don't think he'll find those wages. Eden Hazard is 21 years old, he just played 50 games, bagged 21 goals and 18 assists. Marco Reus who just moved to Dortmund scored 18 goals and landed 9 assists. In 23 games, Gotze managed 8 goals and 8 assists. Those are starts worth of a big contract.
You can say that money doesn't matter. Well it does. It absolutely matters what he earns. If he's earning 80% above market rate, that's money we can't channel elsewhere. Our wage bill has to reflect reality if we want to compete. At the moment, it doesn't because we pay on potential. If Theo wants money like that... sell him on and channel it into two players. Hoilett could do the same job Theo is now for well under £60k and he's free. That gives you another £20mill to play with for another player. Maybe a striker like Giroud you could bring in on a pretty low salary.
Anyway... continuing on. The Mirror are reporting the news we've all been dreading. He's told the club he's packing his bags and he's moving where the stars go... Manchester City. Now, when I spoke to my girl at the club the others day, she said no one knew what the deal was. So, this must have happened while he was away on International duty. I'm not saying I don't believe the story, I'm just saying it all seems a bit odd just before the Euro's kick off that you'd want to make the whole tournament about where you're going to go.
That said, Sagna coming out yesterday and saying something totally different is a bit weird. Mind you, he did get it wrong about Cesc and Nasri last year.
Now I know we don't want to sell our best players. But you really do have to put your business hats on sometimes. Robin Van Persie is going to be 29 this August. This is what his last 5 seasons have looked like.
49 - 28 - 17 - 36 -21
Averagely, that gives us 30.2 games per season. Take out last seasons wonder year of health, what do you have? An average of 20.4. Replace last year with the season he gave us 6 seasons ago what do you have? 25.5 games per season.
His return on goals has been impressive-ish. He's averaged 19.6 goals a season over the last few years. A healthy return when you average 30.2 games a year. A goal every 1.54 games.
The goals are nice. They surely are, but having a player who historically, whilst in his prime, couldn't manage a full season of games is bad business. Take this season out, which is a fairer reflection of his fitness, how could you justify £130k a week and £5million in bonus? Sure he's our best player, but he won't be any use to us if he returns to type next year. I can't see how that won't happen. You can't guarantee a player will be fit the length of their contract. I know this. What you can do is weigh up the probabilities. They don't look good for Robin.
The biggest fear amongst Arsenal fans isn't the loss of Robin Van Persie. It's the fear the manager won't replace him adequately. Herein lies the problem people. If we never replace our best players, we never restore our reputation in the eyes of the squad. That means each year, our other remaining players who have done well will decide to jump. You know how you amend this issue? You go out and you make a serious, serious splash in the market.
Players love signings as much as the fans. They get a psychological boost knowing they're going into work with guys they saw ripping it up at the Euro's. We need to make sure if we sell Robin we go out and land a player like Falcao, Cavani or Giroud. We then need to make sure we sign a really top notch back up. Let's land M'Vila or Martinez in defensive midfield and let's really push United to their limits by trying to tempt Kagawa over. I appreciate United are United, but there must be a draw for a Japanese player to know the coach understands both German and Japanese.
The only way we'll get out of the self perpetuating rut is change our behaviour and the perception amongst Europe's big clubs that we're a weak selling club who do things on the cheap. The fans can't keep going through this nonsense every summer. Let's rectify the wrongs and build if Robin goes. We can't go into another season on a hope and prayer.
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Anyway, that's my two pennies... what do you think?