By Phil Gregory
Having just read that our talismanic striker and captain isn’t renewing his contract, a summer that has been positive to date now looks like like a mixed bag.
There’s a few different scenarios where we might end up with this now. The most unlikely is an about-turn from Robin and him renewing this summer, so I don’t think that really needs much discussion.
Another is Robin doesn’t renew, but is retained for the upcoming season. Clearly, if we don’t get offers that match our valuation we will hold on to Robin as best we can, but it’s plausible that clubs may refuse to budge, and the situation ends in a stalemate. The chance of this occuring depends on Robin’s continued commitment to the club. If he is happy to remain for another year and give his all then this wouldn’t be a bad situation, as it would allow us to bed Giroud in for a season ready to take responsibility the following year. Realistically though, despite Robin’s undoubted respect for the club, this result seems fairly unlikely. If Robin is moving on for a perceived better chance of winning trophies in the later stages of his career, it would surprise me if he would be happy to stick around and spend another year of supposedly futilely competing at Arsenal, given his age.
For me, the most likely situation is that we’ll get an offer of Nasri-esque proportions that will make it a virtual no-brainer to sell this summer, instead of allowing him to leave on a free next. if that happens, funds will have to be invested in an additional centre forward, as relying on Giroud who is new to the side and Chamakh who has not impressed for some time now would almost certainly result in another transitional season where our main goal is seeking automatic Champions League qualification.
No doubt Arsene and the board have transfer targets in mind for this eventuality, so it will just have to be a case of waiting and seeking who we can secure to give us better options than simply relying on Giroud and Chamakh.
One man who is probably feeling mightily foolish right now will be Niklas Bendtner. I’d be fairly happy with a first choice striker of Giroud, Bendtner as second choice (added benefit of knowing the squad, system and league from the off unlike a new signing) and a third choice of Chamakh. As it is, Bendtner has talked too much rubbish in the press and his attitude to the club during his time on loan at Sunderland was enough to make me want him out regardless of if he could probably fill in nicely as a second choice.
A big name or big money signing to replace Robin is of no interest to me, by the way. Transfer fee has no relation to quality, neither does reputation. Let’s judge whoever Wenger brings in to replace Robin on their merits, rather than some preconceived notion based on some plonker in the paper’s view and what we’ve seen on youtube.