Speaking at a press-conference in Malaysia at the start of Arsenal’s pre-season tour, Arsène Wenger has reiterated his desire to keep hold of Robin van Persie, but concedes that he will do whatever is best for the club.
I have no idea why Wenger thinks that there is even a small possibility that van Persie will not leave this summer. Our captain wants out and he will almost definitely get his wish. Wenger seems to be completely deluded and ever the optimist.
The suggestion is that our captain’s future will be sorted out according to an “official deadline” that the club have set, which is some time before the start of the new Premier League season on August 18th. However, if last summer is anything to go by (we were in the same situation with Samir Nasri) then you expect van Persie to leave Arsenal at the latest possible opportunity, leaving us with not enough time to spend the money wisely on an appropriate replacement. Some would argue that Olivier Giroud is the replacement for van Persie, although I still think that if RvP were to leave then we will need to sign one more world-class striker.
“We are very, very ambitious. You know that. Not only very ambitious, but also very proud of the way we run our club.
“Van Persie is a world-class striker and I am a big supporter of him. I have supported him through his whole career. He has one year left and is in demand but our desire is to keep him.
“However, we will do what is in best interest of the club. If you have a decoder in your head you can decode that.
“The official transfer deadline is August 31 but then we can create an internal deadline.”
When he was asked whether this internal deadline was before the start of the new season, Wenger replied:
“Of course. I believe the transfer market should stop before the season starts anyway.”
The next topic of conversation at the press conference was the future of Abou Diaby, injuries, and whether Wenger feels the need to strengthen in midfield. Pre-season is going to be a very important transition period for the team because Diaby (and Wilshere) are returning from injury and need to prove that they are capable of playing more than 5 games for the season. I am in no doubt that Diaby is a fantastic player, but sometimes there comes a point where you have to call it quits. 26 appearances in 2 seasons is hardly encouraging.
Where are we at with the future of Abou Diaby?
“This tour is another decider for him [Diaby]. He will play on Tuesday night and now it is down to uncontrolled movement in games: how does your body react to that? I am confident with what I have seen in training that he will do it.
“You can’t imagine how happy I am firstly to have him in the squad, because he is an exceptional player.
Are Arsenal looking to sign Yann M’Vila?
“No . We wait on Diaby and Wilshere. When you look we have Song, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere, Arteta and Diaby.
“In defensive midfielders and box-to-box players we are not short if they are all coming back. If we have setbacks in pre-season it could be different.”
So there you have it. We will wait on Wilshere and Diaby before deciding whether to sign a new defensive midfielder midfielder. I know that most Arsenal fans are desperate to see somebody in the Yann M’Vila mould (a proper defensive midfielder!) join the club, but this is looking increasingly unlikely.