Robin van Persie has had a fantastic 18 months for Arsenal after finally seeming to have overcome an injury ravaged career. There was never any doubt that he had the talent required to be a top class player, but the frequencies of his injuries prevented him from displaying his skills on a permanent basis.
When he was given the Arsenal csptain's armband last summer I feared he would go the way of the previous three holders of that honour. With only two years left on his contract he chose not to sign another one, but he also chose to accept the honour of becoming captain. His contract now has only one year left to run, and still there is no real news on whether he will extend his contract or ply his trade elsewhere.
There were talks between RVP and the club at the end of the season, but both sides have agreed to keep the outcome of those talks a secret. There are a few ways to look at the secrecy, but nobody knows for sure what has been agreed or not.
For my part I think RVP has decided to see if Arsenal can strengthen the squad enough during the summer to make them competitive at the top again. He has a desire to win trophies and he would love to win them with Arsenal, but if the club don't match his ambition he may choose to chase his dreams elsewhere.
If such a scenario were to come about Arsenal would surely have to go out and buy a striker to try to fill RVP's boots. Lukasz Podoldki has already arrived at the club, but Arsenal's striking options were too limited last season and Podolski is needed in addition to RVP. If the worst does happen and RVP packs his bags I've tried to come up with a few alternatives for Arsenal to consider.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is currently playing second fiddle to RVP in the Dutch national team at Euro 2012. He was the top scorer in the German league last season with Schalke, and there is no doubting the fact he has a real eye for goal. He's of a similar age to RVP, but he is a very different style of player in my opinion.
Huntelaar is more of a poacher than RVP, and he wouldn't have the same range of skills on the ball. If the worst was to happen and RVP left Arsenal I think Huntelaar could score quite a few goals in the Premier League as part of an Arsenal team who have no problem making chances for their strikers. Schalke have qualified for next season's Champions League, but surely Huntelaar would still be very tempted to move if Arsenal came calling.
Demba Ba joined Newcastle United last summer after West Ham were relegated from the Premier League despite his excellent goalscoring record for them. He set the Premier League alight with his goalscoring exploits prior to the African Cup of Nations last season, but he struggled to find form when he returned. There is no doubting his ability, or his eye for goal and habit of knowing how to score in the Premier League.
Serious questions have to be asked about his fitness though, as other clubs have declined the opportunity to sign him after seeing the results of his medical tests. Arsenal already have what seems to be the most injury prone squad in the Premier League, and the last thing they need is another injury prone player. Without the injury concerns I think Ba would be a success at Arsenal, but I can't see them taking a risk on a player with major concerns over his future.
Papiss Cisse joined Newcastle United in the January transfer window, and he proceeded to score 13 goals in 14 Premier League games for them. Some of his goals were quite magnificent, and the one he got away to Chelsea is a real contender for goal of the season. He seemed to fit perfectly into the Premier League from the very start, and unlike his club mate and international colleague Ba he had no problems finding his form after the ACN.
Before joining Newcastle Cisse had hardly set the world on fire, but his adjustment to the Premier League was instant and spectacular too. It would be a gamble for Arsenal to sign Cisse if RVP leaves, but if he can reproduce the form of last season it could be a very worthwhile gamble. I can't see Arsenal moving for Cisse if RVP leaves, but then again who knows the innermost thoughts of Arsene Wenger.
Djibril Cisse has had a few clubs in his career, and his goalscoring record has always been quite reasonable. He joined Queens Park Rangers in the January transfer window, and he showed he still has the ability to score goals in the Premier League. He managed six goals in eight appearances for QPR, but he also managed two red cards and suspensions with them.
There is no denying his ability to put the ball in the net, and he just might enjoy the challenge of playing at a higher level towards the end of his career if he was to join Arsenal. Wenger rarely shows any interest in players over 30 years old, but he could possibly make an exception for Cisse if he felt he could do a job for Arsenal. The biggest stumbling block could be the series of injuries he has had in the past with two very serious leg breaks, and I doubt if Arsenal would be prepared to risk their money on another injury prone player.
Edinson Cavani is at the perfect age for a striker to join Arsenal in my opinion, as he is just coming into his prime. He has had an exceptional season for Napoli in Italy, and the current turmoil in Italian football could possibly make it a little easier for other clubs to pry him from their grasp. He most certainly has an eye for goal, and there is no doubting his footballing ability.
The stumbling block for Arsenal could be the possible transfer fee, and the other clubs who appear to be showing an interest in Cavani too. I don't think he would have a problem with the physical element of the game in the Premier League, and he could be a real success in England. Unfortunately I think the transfer fees and wages offered by the clubs backed by oil money simply cannot be matched by Arsenal, and his future lies elsewhere.
I really hope RVP stays at Arsenal and goes on to beat the all time goalscoring record set by Thierry Henry for the club, but if he leaves life will go on for Arsenal and their fans too. They have got used to players leaving and being replaced, and I have no doubt they will get over it if RVP goes the same way too.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.