The last two weeks have seen contrasting fortunes for Spurs and Arsenal; Spurs have seen their form take a dip at the most important point in their season if they wanted to make things easy for themselves in securing third. Arsenal have galvanized and shown that this team may not have the overall quality of the sides around them, but they have a belief, effort and character that can take them anywhere. Worryingly the truth is without Robin van Persie this season, Arsenal would have been a shrinking violet. Down the road at neighbours Spurs, they have again been driven on this season by the midfield guile and ingenuity of Luka Modric who, like van Persie, is a world-class player. There is a real threat of both players leaving their respective clubs this summer and things are going to have to change if they want these two to stay around.
Robin van Persie (RvP) has been an unstoppable force this season and is arguably one of the world’s best strikers, if not the best complete striker in his class. RvP has shown everybody over the last year what many already knew, and more frustratingly, what Arsenal fans have had to miss out on at large with his inability to stay fit for a whole season. Finally it seems van Persie has shaken off his injury problems and will go on to be crowned the Premier League’s top-scorer, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and as well as the FWA Player of the Year.
With such high performance levels and finally proving both his ability to consistently perform and also stay fit, clubs have been alerted to his potential availability this summer as van Persie speeds towards the final year of his current contract. Arsenal fans hearts will be warmed by RvP’s recent comments to Dutch press as he confessed ‘I am a true Gunner. I love this club and that is no secret’ and hinted he may in fact sign a new deal at the club come summer. This maybe the case, but with the vultures circling, Arsenal are going to have to ‘SHOW HIM THE MONEY’.
Arsenal, like neighbours Spurs, run a tight ship financially and therefore do not splash out on extravagant wages of the six-figure variety. They prefer to award the performance of young players a little too quickly, which has led to them having a high wage bill. Arsenal’s salary expenditure is 40% higher than Spurs’, players such as Bendtner, Diaby, Vela and Denilson who all earn decent amounts, will need to be moved on in the summer if Arsenal are to make the step in to six-figure salaries to attract and retain world-class players.
Spurs under the stewardship of Daniel Levy are shrewd operators financially. As much as old ‘Arry doesn’t like his ‘wheeler dealer’ tag, he still has it, but has merely moved up from working on Arthur Daley’s lot to a Mercedes garage with the caliber of player he now signs. A classic example of this is Redknapp needing a big striker, so and Levy manoeuvred to bring in Adebayor and somehow negating having to pick up his full £225k per week wages. Spurs have always operated a strict £75k per week basic cap for their top earners, but if they are to make the jump they will have to start paying £100k per week minimum to their top stars.
Whether this will be enough for the likes of Modric to stay or Adebayor to really confess his love for the club and take a big drop in wages to sign permanently remains to be seen – far greater riches will be on the table for either player to ply their trade elsewhere. The same can be said for van Persie; Arsenal are reportedly set to offer him £150k per week, but let’s be honest, he could get a lot more than that in today’s current market if he switched to one of the Manchester clubs or Madrid. It will come down to a battle for all these players between greed, ambition and love for the club they are at…plus an agent on commission whispering in their ear.
There is real danger of the gap between the Manchester and London clubs widening if this step is not taken, but it is not an easy or sensible step for either Spurs or Arsenal to take. The world’s financial climate is currently unstable and such a financial leap is a gamble. As soon as one player is rewarded with a big money contract, others will follow suit and expenditure could easily rise by 30%-40% or so in the space of a season. With the financial fair play rules in force Arsenal are in a better position to make the leap than Spurs with a stadium that generates a lot more revenue. If either club is to attract the Eden Hazard’s of the world this summer then it is time to speculate to accumulate and hope on-pitch success followers – if you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the raffle…come on north London, show us the money!