By Avenell Dave
There is no doubt that Robin an Persie is a world class striker.
Who can forget his cut in from the right and fierce shot against Blackburn at Highbury years ago; his volley at Charlton that should have been goal of the season, or his double at the home of the Ch*vs.
Having moved to the number 10 shirt this season, RvP has announced firmly that he wants to be the new Dennis Bergkamp – a Dutch master who uses his trickery and that inherent Dutch footballing wit to carve open defences.
RvP has never been blessed with blistering pace like Theirry Henry, but that has never been a problem, and it means that he has the capacity to go on for perhaps another ten years, just as his predecessor in the number 10 shirt.
There were early concerns that RvP may have a discipline problem – but he seems to have come through that and is now as fair and sportsmanlike a player as you could wish for.
But the injuries that he suffers make him nothing more than a luxury player and one who we cannot rely on for an extended period.
I read one Addict say on Twitter recently that RvP has never played for than 14 consecutive games for us due to his niggling injuries.
While he didn’t score in the World Cup finals, it is so pitifully predictable that he would get injured soon after his return to Arsenal and the fact that he is out possibly until November now underlines how little we can rely on him.
But the bigger question here is whether RvP is a luxury we can afford.
Arsenal are undoubtedly on a tight budget, with more money going on the larger youth team squads than on top top class players that can win us big matches.
We have sold Manu Adebaywhore and Eduardo in the past two seasons and signed Maraoune Chamakh, who looks like a decent team player, if not a prolific goalscorer.
But with RvP and Nick Bendtner injured, it puts a lot of pressure on the Moroccan when he has yet to become fully versed in the ways of the Premier League.
Is Carlos Vela up to it? Arsene Wenger doesn’t give him enough of a run to show what he can do.
What about Benik Afobe or Chuks Aneke or JET? Neither of them can be expected to perform at the top level yet and whether we get through the Carling Crap match against T*tt*nh*m and give them an extended run to get used to proper football remains to be seen.
But if Wenger is to persist with having what is in many respects a small squad, particularly if you consider how many raw youngsters are in our team, surely those who are considered senior have to be reliable both in terms of performance and fitness.
I’m not saying that we should vet players to ensure they have not had any significant injuries, but RvP’s record is seriously concerning and never improves from year to year. Can we really build a team around players who feature in no more than half our games each year?
A fit RvP is something we all love to see in full flight, but is it time to cash in and sign someone more likely to last the distance as we try and break our trophy drought?