Wednesday, April 1, 2009

All of the talent in the world, none of the ambition

A spark of news came across yesterday. It seems Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie, 25 and having a fantastic season, would gladly sign a new contract with club (his current deal expires in 2010) - if only the club would show ambition and prove that they want to win trophies as much as he does. Story here. Robin goes on to say that it's been four years since he's lifted a trophy. His career, he believes, should be on the march toward winning things and he does indeed assume that the club have the same ambitions that he holds so dear to his heart as an ambitious young professional athlete. 

What this really qualifies as is a classic international break story. Of course he wants the team to be ambitious. Of course he wants to win and to lead the team to win trophies.  But really, can anyone honestly say that Arsenal lack ambition over their transfer dealings? Can anyone say that we're climbing our way out of the poor house trying to compete with the elite ... and if only, oh if only, we had the further ambition to prove our natural talent, why then we might be worthy of keeping the assembly of only-just-too-close talent that we already have?

There's no mistake that Arsene Wenger has had a plan in this transition period, and there's no mistaking that it may have taken a little bit longer than we'd all have hoped but let's look at the facts.

  • Theo Walcott
  • Emmanuel Adebayor
  • Eduardo
  • Bacary Sagna
  • Samir Nasri
  • Andrei Arshavin
Hefty talent, and a hefty price tag there as well. We all recognize that there are some pieces missing that we'd love to be added. A dependable and hard central defender, a reliable central midfielder (by the way, don't look now but Song and Denilson have been much better), but all the same, to say Arsenal need to prove their ambition is just silly. This team is hurtling forward right now, and it's straight down to ambition. To have brought in both Nasri and Arshavin this year is a massive win. These players are fantastically talented and Arshavin, in even his very short time with the club, is making a massive difference. Everyone can see that.

A final thought on this - and I truly adore the leadership that Van Persie has shown this year so I don't want this to turn into a exercise in slamming one of our own and one of our best - where the hell was the ambition when the team lost to Stoke? To Hull? Where was the ambition in the run of goalless draws? Where was the ambition in the Carling Cup loss to Tottenham last year, or the waffle of the century in the 4-4 draw against them earlier this year? Where was the ambition when Manchester United rolled over the team in the FA Cup last year? 

Goes both ways, Robin. It's awfully hallow when a player sits at the press table and spouts off about wanting to see the club's ambition - assuming that means bringing in players - when you are part of a team that has proven themselves on several occasions to be nothing short of weak and not up to the task. Some maturity for that 25 year old who quite fancies his new role as a mature man with his wild years behind him. (read the rest of the article for that gem) Speaking of leaving your wild years behind you as you reach 30, or push into your 30s, (ahem) that sounds to me like Jintao's been whispering in his ear a little too much.

No comments: