Even if Arsenal cannot convince Robin van Persie to sign a new deal they must keep him to his contract, as next season could be what persuades him.
Despite a torrid beginning to the season just gone, the past few months should give the Dutchman some indicator as to what this Gunners team is capable of.
Wins over Newcastle United and Manchester City in the dying moments of the games proved that Arsene Wenger’s team have determination and desire.
Though the team’s obvious frailties have shown how far they can fall when hesitation, uncertainty and defensive disorganisation take hold.
Results against Blackburn Rovers, Swansea City and Norwich City exemplified how timid the side can become when faced by pumped up opponents who should not really be dominating them.
Extra motivation for the opposition is far too often provided by mistakes being made by Arsenal defenders – Wenger’s side have conceded the most goals directly from individual errors in Europe’s top leagues this season (via www.whoscored.com).
Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis must use the latter part of the season to try and convince Van Persie he can achieve something at Emirates Stadium and they can use certain factors to paint next season as one hat is full of promise.
Arsenal have been about unfulfilled potential for some time no, but next year could quite conceivably be the moment when many of their younger stars come to the fore.
Star midfielder Jack Wilshere missed the entire season through injury, and so the side’s most naturally creative player was taken from them.
The ankle injury has also meant he will miss Euro 2012, so you can expect him to come back hungrier next year.
Theo Walcott, despite being a source of frustration, has begun to add something to his game in the final third and should improve further. Van Persie has even admitted in the past that he loves playing with England winger due to their understanding.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has delighted with his precocious raw talent since being slowly integrated in to the first team. The 18-year-old has shown glimpses of real skill and pace, as well as a classy temperament in the game against AC Milan at Emirates Stadium.
Roy Hodgson opted to include the former Southampton trainee to Poland and Ukraine in his 23-man squad after some impressive, though few, Premier League performances. It will be an experience that should help him to learn more about himself and his strengths as a player, hopefully pushing him to improve.
We could well see a much-improved Oxlade-Chamberlain making a far more regular contribution next season – something that should excite all fans of the English game.
The big area that Van Persie will need convincing is that of transfers, and the ‘ambition’ the club are willing to show in the market.
The early signing of Germany international Lukas Podolski is an improvement from last year’s timing and it would be no surprise if it was done as so in order to show the captain proof of their intentions to invest in the squad.
Podolski’s arrival cannot be the end of the new faces coming into the squad, otherwise Van Persie could not be blamed for leaving tomorrow as it is plain for all to see that there is a dearth of quality in the wider sense at the Emirates.
If Arsenal manage to make one or two significant signings this off-season, they could well have things in place to make a more concerted challenge for silverware come next season.
The flip side of all this is that Manchester City are reportedly sniffing around and their ‘ambition’ is almost limitless, so much so that any offer from the Gunners is likely to be doubled from the Etihad Stadium outfit.
Wenger and Arsenal are fighting a losing battle in that sense and it will take picture painting of Monet proportions to make the 29-year-old believe he has better chances of winning something in north London than with one of Europe’s powerhouse clubs.
The Frenchman could rightly be called an Old Master if he manages to pull it off.
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