With pre season training now back in full swing almost all of the Arsenal players have returned to the club. All eyes are on Robin van Persie after his announcement that he will not be renewing his contract with the club. He has only one year left on his current deal, and the club seem determined to make him see out that year.
I could accept that position from the club with the majority of the squad, but the club captain is a different matter in my opinion. I cannot see any way RVP can continue in his role as club captain after his comments on his web site criticising the club and how it is run. A captain has to be behind the management and the club too, and if RVP isn't behind them he should do the decent thing.
If he doesn't want to continue at Arsenal he has to resign the captaincy, and hand in a transfer request. Surely there can be no other course of action for him to take. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely, or it will end up causing similar chaos to that suffered by the club last season.
The squad have set off on their tour of the far east without RVP, as he has stayed behind to work on his fitness. Despite the fact that his country were knocked out in the group stages of Euro 2012 he has been deemed unfit to travel, although Theo Walcott has traveled even though England made it to the quarter finals. I don't think there is a single Arsenal fan who believes RVP has stayed behind to work on his fitness.
Does that mean he has refused to play for the club despite still being the captain. It all seems far too similar to the situation with Cesc Fabregas last season, and that dragged on for far too long. When the club return from their trip there will be just over two weeks to the start of the new season, and four weeks to the end of the transfer window.
With RVP in England and Arsene Wenger on the far side of the planet it's highly unlikely that he will be sold before the end of July. Despite Wenger saying he wants to keep RVP and believes he will get the best out of him, I just can's see him staying. It can only be part of the club's attempts to get as high a price as possible for the best player in the Premier League last season.
In an ideal world RVP would make a u-turn and declare his intent to remain at the club and sign a new contract too. However, that's not going to happen, and the club have to get the very best price they can for their prize asset. If that means selling him to Manchester City it will be a bitter pill for Arsenal fans to swallow, but it will help to fund improvements in the rest of the team hopefully.
It looks as if the three teams who are really interested in RVP are the two Manchester teams and Juventus, and Arsenal need to play them off against each other. He may have only one year left on his contract, but there is no doubting that his ability makes him a highly sought after player who would improve any of those teams. Whoever buys him needs to pay an absolute premium for his talents, and it needs to happen before the season starts too.
I can only imagine the reaction RVP will get from Arsenal fans if he takes the field for the club while still wanting away. Those fans pay their hard earned money to support the team they love, and the expect total commitment from every player who plays for the club. RVP cannot give total commitment to a club he wants to leave, and it is unimaginable to ever see him in an Arsenal shirt again.
Other players have left in the past and been welcomed back with open arms at times, but RVP's actions have made that scenario impossible in my opinion. Despite claiming he wants to leave the club to win trophies there are very few Arsenal fans who believe it is for anything other than personal gain. Even if it is a mixture of both he should want to lead the club that he is captain of to those trophies.
It goes back to my original point that if he truly disagreed with how the club was being run he should have resigned his captaincy and handed in a transfer request. It would have hurt for him to do so, but he may have got more respect from some Arsenal fans who feel the club's transfer policy over the last few seasons has been far from ideal. New stadiums come at a cost and so do world class players, and Arsenal simply cannot compete when the oil-rich clubs show an interest in a player.
Like so many other Arsenal fans last season I reveled in the fantastic goalscoring ability of RVP, and I was thankful he was able to contribute so many goals. Those days seem like a distant memory now from a player who has spoiled his reputation at a club where he was worshiped by the fans. He's just another mercenary to me now, and the sooner he leaves my club the better.
That's it for today.
It's that time of the yer again when fantasy football returns to take everybody's minds off the transfer speculation. I've been running my own league on the official site for a few years now, and there were well over 1,000 teams in my league last season. It's open to one and all to join by clicking on the link and using the following code (17031-6252) for my league once your team is set up.
See you tomorrow.