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Robin Van Persie, match fixing and icecreams

By Tony Attwood

Arsène Wenger has said publicly that there’s no chance of Robin van Persie going to Juventus.

The reasons given by Mr Wenger are interesting.  It is said that Juve have sent  Pavel Nedved to talk to Robin – although it may be that the prime reason for his contacting various clubs is to discuss the transfer of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski.

But leaving that aside Mr Wenger told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, “He will stay at Arsenal.  There is no reason why a top player, a big champion would want a move to Serie A – in terms of the prestige of the league, the level of play or financial considerations.

“If he moves there, I will buy you a caramello.”

So, let’s consider the point that a top player would not go to Italy.

Certainly Italian football has fallen way down the pecking order in recent years.  It does not have the allure it used to have, and now seems to have no way back as a league – at least for four or five years.

There has long been the notion that it is a defensive league, and it has a press even more awful than the English press.  (Remember that Bergkamp was tormented in Italy, with bad misses after each game being headlined in the press as “Bergkamp of the week”.)

But probably the referee scandals that have re-surfaced big time have not helped at all.  The fact that Patrick Vieira played in Italy and thought he had won two league trophies only to find them removed because matches he played in were fixed, can’t have impressed anyone.  That is not why a footballer goes from country to country.

What’s more the action of Juve in recently repudiating the fact that they had been found guilty and had had their trophies removed almost certainly failed to impress.  It may have pleased their supporters but didn’t really do much to suggest that they were not going to continue with their view that no one can touch them.

The thought of moving to Barcelona also brings with it some difficulties not least because of the experience of Henry, who went there are was played in a new position – and only got a limited number of games.  Later he saw his erstwhile team mates in Spain suffer the ignominy of not being paid on time while the club banned the use of colour photocopies to try and save cash.

Further the financial problems in Spain mean that it is more than likely that transfer loans will be less forthcoming from the banks, and the low tax rates will soon be removed.  Real Madrid have not shown signs of backtracking yet, but they might just do so.

On the positive side, Van Persie will have been part of the way in which Mr Wenger rallied the Arsenal troops after the poor first match against Milan this past season, and he will have seen exactly what is possible with the team that Mr Wenger has built.  And indeed is now extending.

Mr Wenger recently said, “What was interesting this season was the mental quality, it was one of the best I’ve seen. Secondly the team has grown in quality during the season and the results in the second half have been much stronger. Overall, the exceptional season of Robin van Persie kept us above water. Scoring more than 30 goals is something exceptional.

“On a daily basis it was a very enjoyable season. Even in the dark times as there is no worse situation than when you feel the players are not focused and not united or on board. I always felt during the season the team was united and ready to fight. So on a daily basis that is what you enjoy the most.”

That will surely have had an impact on the players as they reflect on their own futures.

By finishing third Arsenal achieved their 15th consecutive season in the European Champions competition – something that all other teams (except Real Madrid and Man U) can only dream of.  Indeed Flamini, who walked away from Arsenal some years back found this out to his cost when he left for Milan, only to find that they had not got into the Champs League, while of course Arsenal had.  Cesc didn’t suffer the same fate – but he did go to a club that came second in a two horse race, which can’t have been much fun.

“I’m very proud of this season,” Wenger said. “We were tested not just on the pitch but off, for our unity and solidity in the club. We didn’t show weakness and we stayed united. It’s a good lesson for everyone.

“If you look at the season as a whole we only lost two in the last 16 games, we had a fantastic run and finished with a respectable 70 points and qualified for the 15th year in a row for the Champions League and we are proud of that.”

At the end of the season Robin stayed on the pitch and walked across to the fans.  Of that Mr Wenger said,  “You can make of that what you want. If he didn’t celebrate, you would say he’s already gone. If he does, you can say he’s saying goodbye. I would see it as a positive.”

So we all hope Robin will stay – but if he is minded to go, the choice is suddenly limited.  Join a club with proven financial problems?  Join a club whose bank is in dire straits?  Join a club that has been found guilty of match fixing the past, in a league that is being torn apart by a new scandal?

But what about staying in England?  Van Persie senior said no to that one.

The options are looking limited.

——————-

27 comments to Robin Van Persie, match fixing and icecreams

  • i’d rather be a big fish in my own pond than risk the uncertainty of being one of several fish in a similar-sized pond. let’s hope robin sees the need to pay back the manager who kept faith in him during all those injury-plagued seasons. the choice is medals or statues and medals. statues are bigger.

  • AmeriGooner

    Good article Tony! The departure of various Arsenal stars over the years has led to mix results at best (for them). Although, you did gloss over Cesc’s experience so far. To be fair, he won 3 or 4 trophies this year. One during the first week or two, if i’m not mistaken.

  • Juve fan in peace

    Ok, I’m not gonna come on here and profess that Serie A is as strong a league as the EPL, of course there is quite a rift at present. However if there was a league based on the class shown by club owners and managers alike, I think you’d find that your team/management/manager are languishing somewhere near the bottom. It’s one thing to say that your league is stronger, but to put down another league is completely unjustified.

    Also, if you’re going to go talking about Calciopoli (which happened six years ago), you probably should have done some research on the topic, then you’d know how Juventus were made scapegoats in order to allow other teams to take advantage of their relegation to Serie B.

    You also refer to ‘referee scandals resurfacing’, which ones would those be exactly? I’m sure you meant to say the betting scandal, but of course your ignorance got in the way again. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that similar occurrences were taking place in many of the other major European leagues but investigations weren’t nearly as thorough or persistent as they are in Italy.

    The EPL and it’s supporters need to quite looking down their noses at the other leagues, I’m sure you’ll find that when the Premiership was some ways behind Serie A in the 80’s and 90’s that it’s fans weren’t going out of their way to spit on other leagues. Enjoy this golden period for what it is and quite the snobbery already.

  • Patrick

    I’d rather come First in a tiny village in Iberia than come Second in Rome -Julius Caeser
    Food for thought Robin?

  • 30 Scudetti

    You are factually incorrect when you state that Juventus were found guilty of match fixing. Juventus were actually cleared of the charge of sporting fraud (match fixing) in the original 2006 sporting trial. The club was demoted for unsporting conduct, which was and is an unprecedented move.

    Since then it has become clear that a network of companies all linked to rivals Inter had a heavy influence on the original trial. The theory on Inter’s influence has been strenghened by the fact all evidence involving them disappeared in the summer of 2006, and only re-emerged 4 years later. The evidence involving Inter has already been deemed more serious than any that involved Juventus by the FIGC, but they won’t do anything because of a statute of limitations.

    Unsporting conduct in itself is not enough to justify stripping 2 titles from a team, especially when you consider everyone in the league was behaving in a similar way, although there will be different scales of behaviour.

    None of this, regardless of what you think looks good on the Italian league or association, but the misconception that Juventus were fixing matches is defamatory, as it remains unproven to this day. So I think you should correct your blog to report the facts of Calciopoli, and not popular misconceptions that were invented by those who had the sole aim of destroying Juventus.

    Go to the below link for more:
    http://forum.giulemanidallajuve.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=1266

  • Matt Clarke

    @Patrick:
    Epicurus rather than Caeser methinks – but still an appropriate quote. 🙂

    And Epicurus is a good one for RVP – he promoted a happy, tranquil life, characterized by peace and freedom from fear and the absence of pain (maybe gloss over this one) and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends.

    Sounds like Arsenal to me.

  • sunny

    Why not leve this guy to go on with his caer in order clud than to remain in arsenl throfeless,more all huzing is money so let go of hem and not reluing his caer like cheasl relu sevsesako may we tanking na plz plz ma pple

  • ZimGooner

    RVP is a Gooner for Life. He ain’t going nowhere.

  • Vegas Gooner

    When I think of players who have wasted their careers in Italy, I always think of Wesley Schneider. Such a fantastic player with amazing talent. What could’ve been if he had gone to a real league like the EPL?!!

  • Andrei

    I hope Wenger believes in what is he is saying but somehow I doubt it. There will be one thing on RVP mind when he considers his next step. He is turning 29 this year and this is his last big contract as a professional footballer. More importantly, after having the best season in his career it is a lifetime opportunity for RVP to become one of the top paid players. Given RVP’s injury prone history he may not have such opportunity a year from now. Lets say you are a top professional in your field and you know that companies would would readily pay you almost twice than your current employer may possibly offer. To be honest what would be train of though in a situation like this? Call it selfishness or greed but it is only natural that RVP would like to build as much financial cushion be retirement as he can. Therefore if Arsenal cannot offer RVP a contract on par with the likes of Rooney or Yaya Toure (both reportedly at £200k a week) he will be hard pressed to remain “loyal” to Arsenal. I’m not even mentioning Ronaldo or significantly more friendly (for professional footballers) taxation in Spain and Italy. In addition and equally important at this stage of his footballing career RVP would probably like a more “established” team opposite to a perpetual re-building project which Arsenal is at the moment.

    I’m not claiming that this is how RVP sees the situation. But I’m sure this is exactly how it is presented to him by his agent(s).

  • Here is a little of the article that has been resident on this site for a year or two, on the Corruption page within this web site

    Background: the Match fixing scandal…

    We have been considering the notion that the EPL is fixed for some time, gradually edging towards the view that something akin to the actions of Luciano Moggi (the Juventus manager) and others in Italy is now in place in the UK.

    Moggi et al had conversations with several officials of Italian football to influence which referee got which game. The system (“Calciopoli” as it was called – Bribesville as it is translated in some quarters) did not mean that matches were fixed to produce a set score, knowledge of which could be used in gambling, but rather that favours were given by a variety of clubs to certain refs over time, and these refs edged games in favour of the clubs using the system. Juve, Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, Reggina were all ultimately found guilty.

    The system was hard to track down not least because it had little to do with gambling. The key approach to stopping match fixing in most of Europe involves waiting for the bookies to cry out that there have been “unusual betting patterns”, and then the investigation follows. Here there is no such activity, and because there is no other system to track down an English Bribesville, nothing happens.

    Untold has been pretty much on its own in pursuing this line of enquiry until the BBC got in touch recently and started the round of interviews with ourselves, and our persistence with the story leaves us open to the notion that we are just looking for excuses when Arsenal lose. You have to make your own mind up – but first please do take a look at the evidence in the articles above.

    You might like to note that the BBC has picked up on our story and is now running it here – including interviews with Walter and Dogface.

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/match-fixing

  • 30 Scudetti

    Your article is very wrong on Calciopoli. The behaviour you accuse Juventus of is sporting fraud, which, as I’ve already said, the club and Luciano Moggi have been cleared of. The referee draw has been judged to have been legitimate by more than one trial.

    Statistics also showed that Juve’s results were actually worse when the alleged “favoured” referees were refereeing their games.

    Read the link I provided above, and see what really happened, and please stop dragging the Juventus name down without evidence.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I wonder if wenger did actually say all that? Unusual for him to be disrespectful to another club unless someone has given him a good reason.
    I wonder if rvps experience with holland will make him think twice , he is a great player, but does the way we set up the team make him even greater. One way or another, I expect him to be with us next season, signature or not. As you say, if comments from his family are anything to go on, his options are getting a bit limited. I would worry if say real came in with a huge offer, cannot see barca really need him, and I would be extremely disappointed if we sold him to city. We shall see.

  • Juve fan in peace

    What makes the whole situation even more strange is that Marotta (Juve’s Sporting director) stated that the club hadn’t approached Arsenal or the player with an offer.

  • zdzis

    To the Juve fans: Whether or not the club you support was proved guilty of any of the frauds, the general feeling is that Serie A is in itself unstable and prone to such scandals. This means that a player who joins, let’s say, Inter or Lazio, hoping for trophies, hounours, CL game time, etc., might find his team suddenly relegated and his efforts wasted. In other words: whoever is at fault, Italian football is hurt. And the Vieira example illustrates this point beautifully – even when you’ve done your job, you can still suffer the ignominy of having to give back your championship medal, etc. Of course, this can happen anywhere, but over the past few years, it appears to have been more likely to happen in Italy. Which is exactly the point here – whether or not Juve is involved in any dirty stuff.

  • 30 Scudetti

    zdzis, I don’t actually disagree with your point. I just wanted to point out that the arguments used against Juventus itself are incorrect.

    Italian football has its corruption problems. 2006 showed this, regardless of which side of the story you believe, and the latest scandal, although a very different type of scandal, shows the game wasn’t cleaned up by removing Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo.

    My final point is on the actual topic, and if Van Persie were to join Juve he’d join a strong team, with a great coach and strong leadership at the very top. Juve play attacking football and I feel Van Persie would fit into the system and style well.

    I’m not sure the deal will happen though. This time last year the papers were full of Aguero or Rossi to Juventus. In the end neither happened because of the costs involved. Van Persie is probably under consideration, but I reckon Marotta will target a younger striker.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Really think that report about wenger disrespecting Juve could be media mischief, the more I think about it, the less it sounds like him. If he did actually say it as printed, I stand to be corrected. Would not be the first time he has been misrepresented.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Tony…….I hate to burst your bubble but as Mandy said, there is no credible proof that Wenger ever gave an interview to an Italian newspaper while he was in Kiev or wherever. The Calciopoli story has been the standard by which Seria A has been assessed since 2006-7 but in actual fact there is growing evidence that this is a worldwide problem and that the FIFA/EUFA cabal, aided and abetted by National Associations and Leagues, is turning a blind eye and covering up that which cannot be easily ignored.
    When it comes to RVP, there seems to be a common consensus that everyone ¨knows¨what he is going to or thinking of doing. This is utter rubbish and premature speculation of the basest sort. RVP is 29 and knows that his career MA have another 4-5 years to run at best, that is a certainty. He knows that there are far greater compensation packages out there and that, if that were the raison d’etre of his Footballing future, he should jump ship. He also appreciates what Wenger and the Club have done for him over an in jury-filled career but that, as they say, was then. He is a very pragmatic,down-to-earth and relatively level-headed family man and will do what he considers best,in collaboration with his spouse and family,to ensure that wherever he settles, it will be right for everyone concerned.
    The morons and cretins who suck up every rumour and spurious headline about RVP, cruelly invented by the shite bloggers and ¨journalists¨ out there trolling for idiots like them, deserve to be reeled in like the mental midgets they are and intellectually filleted for those same media muckrakers unending pleasure and profit.
    RVP will choose stability over uncertain glory, security over transient fame, honour over fickle opportunism and loyalty to AFC and Wenger’s core values over hypocritical demeaning of what he stands for. Why do I say this with such certainty? Because that’s who he is and has shown us since he first came to the Arsenal. Will he find all those qualities elsewhere? Maybe, and if he does, then we have to, like with Cesc, honour his needs and hopes but we are light years away from that scenario….at least in my humble opinion.

  • Damien Luu

    OK, of course I don’t know what’s in Robin’s head, but if I were him, I would certainly stay at Arsenal. Why?

    First, to pay back AW’s faith. He has never stopped believing in me for all those bad years. And of course he won’t do that if something bad happen to me next season.

    Second, my family are happy with their lives here.

    Third, just imagine what can happen if I choose to leave. Yes, I can earn triple my current wage, maybe, but what if I have a bad injury after a few matches with the new club? After all I have quite a history of injury, do I not? Will they patiently wait for me like AW did, or they will find another striker and leave me on the bench until I have enough and forced to go? I really can’t just sit there, do nothing and receive the pay cheques, no matter how big they are, and I believe neither can Robin.

    Fourth, here at Arsenal is where I can play my very best football, with the whole system working around me. So why don’t try to win things here with my very best football, rather than going somewhere else with no guarantee of trophies, or even good playing time?

  • elkieno

    Damien Luu: I agree with that, but are we looking through Gooner Tinted Glasses? I bet a City/Chelsea/UTD fan could say the similar things about their club also.
    We can talk and talk about it but at the end of the day we will know in time and only time will tell.
    God I hope he stays cos we are building a much better side now and he must surely see that.
    Oh well, at least I have my 4 month old daughter to take entertain myself and take mind off Football.
    Comon you Gunners!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    First off , I don’t really beleive that AW would have uttered such a thing- its unlike him . It might have been lost in (mis)translation.
    As for RVP , I think he will stay for now to try another tilt at success with Arsenal .As for the money he could easily earn it at a later date in China (as Drogba and Anelka
    are doing).
    I’d like to think that our new buys will pique his intrest to give it a go for a least a season .If he does, I’ll not mind if he left on a free as he would have deserved it .

  • Asif

    I think that AW will hold onto RvP no matter what..even if it means him leaving for a free…If Podolski and Giroud signings are an indication to go by then there has been a tactical shift! Last season and this we have bought proven players and we have a team that can mount a title challenge and RvP is central to that plan. If things really don’t go as per plan than the January window also gives us the chance to sell him for some cash…so this transfer window RvP is not going anywhere.(Period)

  • @Domhuaille MacMathghamhna (et al)
    A very well written blog, sir.

    Regarding RVP: Has he been dragging his heels? Maybe. However, he’s had plenty of time to think his future over, and hasn’t committed to Arsenal YET. Why? He knew a whole year ago he’d be in this situation right now.
    If he’s 100% committed to the club, should he be sorting things out with Wenger and Gazidis NOW. Maybe he is and as you imply in your blog, we wouldn’t know would we. Is he awaiting interest from other clubs… if so, then he obviously isn’t TOTALLY committed to us, is he?. Is he showing disrespect to his manager, board, fans, club by ‘dragging this out’?
    I personally think he was expecting a darn sight more interest than shown to this point in time, not as speculation on my part but simply because he’s a ‘hot property’, so the expectation from Robin would obviously be natural.
    So, is Robin thinking: Where’s the big Italian interest? Where’s the big Spanish interest?. What about Bayern, and PSG. Chelsea, City, United? Clubs don’t appear to be falling over themselves as in Hazard’s case.
    IF he stays with us will it actually be for loyalty reasons or simply because a big club hasn’t come in for him? It may turn out we’ll never know the answer to that one.

    Same as your good self, Domhuaille I don’t speculate on these things. It’s simply a case of ‘wait-and-see’ I’m afraid, much the same as the Fabregas and Nasri charades. You’ll note I’ve posed (mostly) questions rather than statements/viewpoints, thereby handing over any perceived ‘speculation’ over to yourselves, one and all.

    One final point directed to Domhuaille:
    Regarding your final 7-line para, may I ask you, respectfully: (turning back the clock) would you have used the same para if speaking of Thierry or Cesc when they stood at the same crossroads that Robin is at now? Dare I suggest that I think you might have. Hmmmm.
    Good post as always, Tony. Keep up the good work.

  • C4

    I have my doubts about those quotes, they’re very un-Wenger.
    Probably made up or a twisted version of something else he said. Speaking of which, have a look at this twisted version of the those very quotes, if you want an idea of what idiots can do armed with a keyboard:
    The headline: “Wenger Attacks Italians In Attempt To Keep RVP

    But here’s the interesting part:
    “…Arsene Wenger declared to Corriere Dello Sport:

    “I am certain that Robin will remain with us,” he said. “If you want to know why I am so certain Robin will remain with us, it is because there is no reason in this world why a great player like Van Persie should go and play for you, in Italy and in your competition.”

    Arsene Wenger also clearly stated his opinion that the Serie A isn’t a league which would attract top stars like Robin, saying that they are still below Premiership standards.

    “Your football (Serie A) is at an inferior level to the Premier League.”

    And no, I didn’t make that up. You can find that crap here.

  • Anne

    @Mandy Dodd and C4:

    Agree completely about the likely media mischief on those quotes. It doesn’t sound like the sort of thing Arsene would say at all. Also, Arsene doesn’t discuss transfer dealings in the press generally. Particularly in relation to RVP negotiations. No one at Arsenal does.

    Seems to me like Arsenal (very understandably) probably has a blanket ban on all statements to the press about the RVP transfer from anyone at the Club. So why would Arsene be calling into some Italian paper in order to confirm that RVP is staying, and also to slag off Juve and Serie A generally?

    Perhaps the statement about betting a Caramello was a product placement for Cadbury chocolate, and was done to take the heat off of Bendtner for his Paddy Power gambling promotion? 🙂

  • Wooby

    Count me in the camp of skeptics waiting for confirmation that a) the alleged interview actually took place and b) Wenger actually said the words about Serie A. Thanks to Anne’s excellent work on the Cesc transfer, we have seen how media can manipulate so called “sources” and “quotes” to arrive at a screaming headline.

  • Anne

    @Wooby:

    Thank you 🙂