The only bigger catastrophe would have been if he had been sold to Spurs, but then they could never have afforded to pay the salary.
It beggars belief however that Wenger did a deal with Manchester United, surely one of his biggest rivals, considering that Van Persie was still in contract for one more year. Therefore Wenger still had control over him, and could have negotiated a deal with any club on the planet and on any terms and conditions that he laid down.
So why did he sell to United?
The price paid to Arsenal would boost any club’s coffers, and the profit made on RVP is staggering: bought for £2.75 million, and sold for a reported £22 million.
However, two aspects strike me here: firstly, Arsenal does not really need the money to buy players. They are financially sound and Wenger goes for players on the continent that will always cost much less than here inEngland.
Secondly, I don’t believe that this money will actually be utilised to buy anyone. Wenger has made his summer signings already so why would he be splashing out on big signings now?
True, Arsenal needed to sell now or a year down the line they would have had to release RVP on a free transfer. But having regard to what I have already said above, I still cannot see why Wenger did what he did. As stated, the club is sound. If it’s not a money issue, which I believe it isn’t, then the actual reason for the sale is a mystery.
But the consequences of the sale are enormous. Selling one’s captain and best player to an opposing team smacks to me of defeatism. As one newspaper pointed out, being captain of Arsenal usually leads to a quick ticket out of there: witness Viera, Henry, Fabergas and now Van Persie.
It’s not just the sale of key players that gets you thinking, but it’s the way that the management at Arsenal are thinking that is most worrisome: sell your best players season-on-season, make sure your finances are strong, and don’t worry about the trophies.
But for how long will the poor, loyal Arsenal fans put up with this?
I would venture to say not for too much longer.
image: © lukask