It’s true, I’ve been avoiding blogging during the off-season primarily because I don’t like the huge amount of speculation, and the affect it has on the fans and the team.
That speculation has been put in a right tizzy by Robin’s statement about his future at the club and what he sees as the club’s refusal to do things his way. While the boo-boys are obviously keen to support Robin here and slag off the management and the board as much as possible, I’d rather continue to support the club, rather than a single player. Much as I have loved Robin in the past, primarily for his loyalty and love for Arsenal, I will never side with a player over the club.
Robin’s refusal to sign a new contract with the club, and the offers coming in from other clubs are a distraction the club and the team do not need at this time. For someone who supposedly loves the club, issuing that statement was a naive, perhaps stupid, thing to do. Instead of being respectful of the club, and remaining quiet, or at least issuing an ambiguous short statement, he’s done the equivalent of sticking the knife in. Certainly for many people he’s essentially terminated his career at Arsenal prematurely. Why would the manager play him again when he clearly doesn’t want to play for the club again? Do we need him? Or does the boss go straight into replacement mode, and sit Robin on the sidelines for a year (assuming he doesn’t sell Robin).
As I read rumours of who is bidding for him I am of course disgusted and unhappy with bids from other EPL clubs. Whatever I now think of Robin, I don’t want him going to one of our rivals. City and Utd have both bid apparently, but given his ‘love’ for London (assuming that’s more real than his love for Arsenal), he may want to stay in London….. the obvious and most hateful thing he could do would be to go to our North London neighbours of course. While that may not bear thinking about, why would they not be interested?
With Robin remaining in London on the trumped up excuse of needing match fitness, instead of going on tour with the team, one has to assume he’s now being written out of the plans for the season ahead.
I don’t think backing down and signing a new contract is a realistic option for him now. Whatever we may or may not want. The other options Arsenal have are to sell him before the start of the new season (preferably to a foreign club), or to try to get a usable season from him before he goes on a free transfer next summer.
I’ve speculated previously about why Robin issued the statement he did, and I still think it was inspired by his agent and other influences around the Usmanov camp. But we can’t know how he really feels about the club. Apparently his mother and his wife both wanted him to sign a new contract – so how do they feel about his statement? I’m sure they will support him in whatever he decides – at least in public.
The latest public statement is from Aaron Ramsey saying he wants Robin to stay – but also admitting he (and the rest of the team) don’t know anything. But how do the other players seriously feel about playing next to someone who clearly doesn’t want to be there any more?
Much of the blogsphere speculation is around him eyeing City’s billions, but I’ll be disgusted if he does take that option. My preferred option would be for him to take some time to reconsider, then make a statement to the effect that he had reconsidered, and changed his mind – that Arsene had convinced him he should stay, and sign a new long term contract committing himself to the club.
But…. I don’t expect that. I expect that he will be sold before the new season starts, and hope it will be abroad. Honestly I’m still feeling pretty sad about the whole thing.