I can’t see what’s so bad about Arsenal

Trevor Steven
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Robin van Persie’s decision to announce his exit from Arsenal was an interesting one in terms of his timing.

He’s saying that he doesn’t believe that the club’s going forward, but they’ve just spent around £20m on Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, so I don’t see what Arsenal are doing wrong. They’ve just proven they’re prepared to spend some money, and they’ve done it early. Is he saying that these players aren’t good enough?

I’m sure he’d like it if they were spending £35m, £40m on a single player, but Podolski and Giroud have good goalscoring pedigree and, though Arsenal won’t spend that sort of money, it’s still early in the transfer window. From the outside, I don’t get why he thinks Arsenal’s philosophy is not right.

I don’t like that he feels he had to say that. Why didn’t he just speak to Arsene Wenger quietly, and say ‘I want to go’. No one would have argued with that – why say ‘I don’t agree with where the club’s going’?

Arsenal should sell him now, instead of keeping him for one last year. He may have been fine last season, but Van Persie’s been injury prone for years so there’s always that doubt – he could stay and remain unavailable. And every time he plays, they’ll feel he’s unhappy, so they may as well get £15m or so for him.

Either way, it’s all happening in North London. Andre Villas-Boas has been appointed as Tottenham’s new manager, and this could really go either way. He was a very expensive purchase for Chelsea, while Spurs now get him for free. He hasn’t done brilliantly so far in the Premier League, but he’ll have learnt a lot about how to deal with the pressure and of the pitfalls he fell into at Chelsea. He needs to go into the Spurs dressing room and say ‘I made some mistakes at Chelsea and I’m not going to make them here – this is how we go forward together’. Otherwise the players won’t trust him. You can’t alienate too many in your squad, that doesn’t lead to success. His challenge is to get them to buy into his philosophy.

The Tottenham job is certainly no easier than the Chelsea job. It’ll take a lot to get them to repeat last season’s performance – if he can get any more than that he’ll have done magnificently. Their squad needs improving – they need goals and they need new central defenders, and I also don’t think Villas-Boas will want to use Harry Redknapp’s previous 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 formation.

It’s been exhausting for me to see what’s happening at my old club Rangers. They’ve had to go through this process knowing they wouldn’t stay in the Scottish Premier League.

But they are going to have better spending power than those they’re playing against – they’ll be back in no time, even though it’s been torturous for it to happen.

If Rangers are off of the scene, however, Sky could revisit the money they’re paying for television rights. It’s a huge gamble by some SPL clubs.