Peter Hill-Wood has made clear that the club’s hands are tied if Robin van Persie has his head turned by richer rivals offering lucrative contracts. Nevertheless, the long-standing chairman stressed that he is hopeful the Dutchman can be persuaded to stay for football reasons.
Talking to the Daily Mirror, while presumably quaffing a large tumbler of Glenfiddich single-malt and puffing on a fat Cohiba, the old-Etonian extolled the virtues of the Gunners captain, while also hinting that the signing of Lukas Podolski could be added to in the near future.
“He is vital to us and has been an extremely good captain,” growled Hill-Wood in a blissful haze of Cuba’s finest tobacco.
“But if somebody comes along and offers Robin £250,000 a week then I am afraid we cannot compete with that.
“With players, you never know what they are going to do.
“Some players say they want silverware but when they have the chance to earn extraordinary money that has been pumped into the game, then you just have to hope they will stay because they are happy and loyal where they are.
“There are players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at Manchester United who have been loyal to one club but players like that are few and far between.
“Hopefully we can reach agreement with Robin and ideally he will extend his contract.
“We have already brought in one new player in Lukas Podolski and I believe we will bring in more. I am confident we will, in fact.
“I just hope that Robin will be with us next season because I genuinely feel we can make a real challenge for the Premier League title.
“We had an atrocious start to last season but we recovered to finish third which was a marvellous achievement when you look at the problems that we had with injuries.”
Hill-Wood’s words came on the same weekend, that Van Persie’s artist Dad, Bob, spoke to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo about the future of his son. Dismissing the suggestion that the striker could move to Barcelona or Real Madrid, Van Persie Senior also made clear that a deal with another Premier League club was impossible.
“He’d never go to Manchester City as it’s impossible he would play for another Premier League side that wasn’t Arsenal.
“It would make no sense to go to Barcelona when they’ve already got Leo Messi.
“Real Madrid would be a good option, but they are not so much a team as a collection of star names, so he wouldn’t really fit in there either.”
Make of that what you will. Until Van Persie gets back to London nothing concrete will be decided…of course, that could be sooner rather than later following the Dutch defeat to Denmark in their opening Euro 2012 game.