Tuesday 11 October 2011

If van Persie leaves Arsenal, will it be worse than Cesc going?

Robin van Persie's not being used properly at Arsenal, according to Dennis Bergkamp. As a former wearer of the number 10 shirt, he should know. Perhaps Bergkamp could be a future manager of Arsenal. Comments like this won't endear him to Arsene Wenger, so we won't be seeing Dennis the Menace Manager for a while then!

Dennis has a point. Van Persie's not an out and out striker. Like his shirt number suggests, he more suited to playing as a deep-lying striker. The question is who should lead the line? Marouane Chamakh is the only contender that comes to mind, if a prerequisite is aerial power.

As Stewart Robson says in 'Talking Tactics' on Arsenal Player, Chamakh is showing glimpses of his old form at the start of last season. However, in my opinion, Chamakh's not exactly on fire right now. He's just playing better than he did in pre-season and during the second half of last season. So don't expect Wenger to drop van Persie deeper, especially at a time when we're desperate for goals. Van Persie is a proven goalscorer, so naturally we're going to rely on him to get us out of the brown stuff. Even if it means not utilising him in his best position.

Meanwhile, there's a rumour circulating that van Persie is selling his house in London. Perhaps that could mean a move away from Arsenal, or it could be just coincidence, or it's possibly only muck-raking on the part of the media.

Whatever happens regarding van Persie, I'm not that bothered. Yes, he's been a very good player for Arsenal over the years. Well, he's been very good when he's been fit, anyway. His injury record still concerns me, so if we do sell him for decent money perhaps we can find a more-than-adequate replacement.

When you think of the talented players we've lost over the years, what difference will one departure more make? In my book, Cesc Fabregas was always going to be the toughest recent Arsenal talisman to replace. Even Samir Nasri (dare I say it) was always going to a tough act to follow. In the past, we've lost the likes of Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira and it felt like the end of the world.

We have to accept that with the business model at work at the club, there will be a turnover of star players. We buy low and sell high. Potential stars come in and proven stars go out. The only problem is can we still bring in adequate replacements for outgoing stars?

Well, it's unfair to judge the attributes of the recent signings as, for reasons that are beyond me, we bought five of them at the last minute on transfer deadline day. So the good news is we haven't seen the best of them yet.

The bad news is we're unlikely to ever see the very best of players who have been around a while like Andrey Arshavin, Theo Walcott and van Persie, while are consistently played out of position by the boss.

Before AKBs decide they want to lynch me, I just want to say I'm not yet in favour of getting rid of Wenger. I just want him to reconsider his position and take notice of former players like Bergkamp. Of course, he can't listen to everyone, but Bergkamp clearly knows van Persie inside out.

However, even if Wenger thinks Bergkamp is right, he can't really strengthen the team by dropping van Persie deep and playing Chamakh ahead of him. Wenger's now paying the price for his parsimonious approach to squad rebuilding. It's resulted in a lack of personnel options. An inflexible approach to spending money has led to inflexible team selections.

Come January, Wenger really needs to address the problems at Arsenal. Finally. Otherwise it could be his final season at Arsenal.

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