Saturday, 11 August 2012

Robin van Persie. A Necessity or a Luxury?

Robin van Persie was the leading goalscorer for Arsenal last year as well as for the Premier League. He led their front line for the first time as a fully fit and confident striker, something which had eluded him in his previous years as an Arsenal player. One would've thought with him only having a year remaining on his contract and also being on the cusp of becoming a true Arsenal legend, he would've resigned and led the team out this summer without a worry in any Arsenal fans mind regarding whether another key player would be moving on or not.

But on the on 4th July, RvP dropped a bombshell. He wrote on his website that he would not be extending his contract. With Arsenal fans asking themselves "Why?", this statement had paved the way for the 'RvP saga' to become the main transfer story during the transfer window.

RvP says what no Arsenal fan wants to hear.
At first the most obvious name came up, Manchester City. Arsenal had previously sold Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri as well as others to them and it seemed RvP would be the latest to join the cult of ex-players to move north. It looked as if Man City would be the only team who could afford the fee Arsenal wanted as well as the meteoric wages RvP would demand if he moved to City.

Later on, Italian giants Juventus came knocking on Arsenal's door. During the season Juventus had lacked a quality striker who could give them a steady supply of goals and it seemed the Juventus board had chosen RvP as the man to give them the cutting edge. Backed by the family who owns Ferrari, they would do whatever it would take to bring van Persie to Turin.

As the saga continued with Man City and Juventus apparently going head to head for RvP's signature it seemed as if RvP would be on his way. Until a new face came in.

Arsene Wenger's arch nemesis since his arrival in England, Manchester United had come into the picture all of a sudden. The question was, why would Utd want him? They aren't exactly short on strikers. They don't need a clinical finisher. It was a truly baffling situation, which was made more complicated by Sir Alex Ferguson's public admittance that he did in fact make a bid (believed to be around £15m-20m) for the Arsenal front man.

With this admission, it begged the question, WHY would Man Utd need RvP? Sure he would add a lethal injection of finishing to the squad. Sure he would add some experience to the front line. Sure he would give Utd a game changer. But where would he fit in the Man Utd system?

If he were to play in the classic 442 he would surely be the focal point of the attack with Wayne Rooney just playing behind him in a CF sort of position, like he has done in the latest campaign. Where would this leave Javier Hernandez & Danny Welbeck in the pecking order?

What would RvP's arrival mean for these two?
Welbeck himself had a breakout season last time round and would've been hoping to partner Rooney again in the upcoming season. With only a year remaining on his contract, what sort of message would we send to a young, and very able striker who we are trying to convince to stay at the club for a further four or five more years? RvP and Welbeck have the same style of play. They both like to pick up the ball, pass and move into a central position then use their dribbling ability to glide past their opposition and score. Albeit RvP being the better finisher out of the two, it would seem useless to pay a lot of money for a player who we already have a mini-replica of, but is less complete.

Hypothetically speaking, if RvP were to join, where would he fit in? It wouldn't make sense buying a £20m striker then sticking him on bench. It would most likely mean that RvP, Rooney, Welbeck, Hernandez and new signing Shinji Kagawa rotating places on the bench to accommodate a useless signing.

With the money seemingly available, it would seem ridiculous to spend a large sum of it on the one position that doesn't need strengthening. I would like to see the money spent on either a LB, preferably Leighton Baines, or a CDM, I wouldn't mind either Fellaini or Javi Martinez. With seemingly only one fit defensive minded player in Michael Carrick, an injury to him would see us rattled to playing players out of position and thus not getting the best qualities out of those certain players. Personally, Javi Martinez fits the ball perfectly. Although he may not be the finished article quite yet, but he has shown multiple glimpses of what he can do. He can pass, he can tackle and he can sit back and cover in central defence so naturally, he reminds me of Xabi Alonso but a more complete version of him defensively. He could be the missing ingredient in Utd's title hunt. Although he will be expensive, I believe this is one player that Utd can't afford to miss out on. But if money was no object, I would love to see Bastian Schweinsteiger at Utd. Being the most rounded and versatile player in the modern game, he could improve any team.

Javi Martinez - New Xabi Alonso?

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