Ever since, Robin and Arsène announced they will not talk about a new contract for our Boy Wonder till after this season, I haven’t given RvP’s contract situation a second thought. That is, until last week Tuesday, when by chance – I was looking for some pre-match info for the Holland vs. England match. I found a video-interview between a NOS reporter, Bert Maalderink, and RvP.
NOS are the Dutch equivalent of the BBC and Maalderink seems to do the majority of NOS interviews with football players. His interviews are performed in a typical Dutch way – no, not naked and stoned – but open, challenging and at times even confrontational. ‘The truth’ is usually not covered up and there is often a mutual desire for a meaningful dialogue between the interviewer and the interviewee. I dare say, most English reporters would not get away with Maalderink’s style of interviewing and be told to do a personal bum-cheeks-splitter with their microphone. But, for the purpose of this post, it is great that the interviewer and interviewee are both Dutch, as the direct and open nature of the interview reveals a lot to us.
Although, I am usually a glass half-full person as with regards to players staying or leaving, I tend to be a bit more of a pragmatist: as long as no new contract is signed a player is more likely to leave than to stay, especially when a particular player only has one year left on his current contract (as RvP will be this summer). However, when I was watching the interview with Robin van Persie last week, I became unexpectedly, yet instantly, convinced RvP is staying put and will sign a new contract this summer.
Here is a translation of the second part of the interview (from 2.33 minutes onwards). Although I am not a trained translator, I am pretty confident my translation is doing the interview full justice:
BM: The question on everybody’s lips is: ‘What is he [RvP] going to do next year?’
RvP: Yes, we will see.
BM: Are you struggling with this?
RvP: No, not at all. I am doing fine, enjoying everything, training well, I am fit – knock on wood (he taps the microphone) – and all is going well.
BM: But what about people saying: ‘It’s a bit of a shame – Van Persie, who is head and shoulders above everything, playing in an Arsenal side which is not quite the very best of Arsenal sides ever’?
RvP: Well that’s funny, isn’t it? People consider this Tottenham team as the best ever and our team as the ‘worst’ (he makes a quotation mark with his fingers) ever, and we beat them 5-2: it is a bit crazy sometimes…
BM: Does that nag/hurt you a bit?
RvP: Sorry – what do you mean?
BM: Because I know why this is: everybody regards Arsenal as a higher-up team, and Tottenham, yeah – well, a bit lower-down, and when they are doing OK and Arsenal are doing less, well then people will say: oh how well Tottenham are doing, and Arsenal are performing less (below par).
RvP: Yeah, yeah, that is correct. Expectations are very high at Arsenal: we have a gigantic, beautiful, big stadium, a great number of fans, very beautiful history and people expect that we perform well right now – in the present.
BM: Do you think you [Arsenal] are performing well?
RvP: No, it can always be improved, we go for the highest achievable. In the last few years, as a club, we have not achieved that, so in that respect it has not been good enough.
BM: Are you somebody who will try his utmost with this club to still achieve success?
RvP: Well yes, I have been there eight years of course, and I am proud of that, and at the end of the season we will calmly sit down with the manager and the chairman [I assume he means Gazidis] and we will have a ‘nice cup of coffee’ (in Dutch: ‘dan gaan wij een bakkie doen’, which could not be more Dutch if you tried), all of us together, nice and cosy (in Dutch: ‘gezellig’ referring to a very friendly/informal sort of meeting/conversation).
BM: Because I feel you have become a ‘club player’ over there…
RvP: Yes, I am a real Gunner, which goes without saying, I have been there eight years, I love this club, that is no secret, and that will always stay like that.
BM: Therefore, would leaving now be ‘blasphemy’?
RvP: Well once again, at the end of the season, we are going to have a calm/relaxed talk about it, and then we are going to talk about a number of things, which I do regularly with the manager, and because of that occasion [contract talks] the chairman will be there as well.
BM: You are going to make the final decision then [at that meeting]?
RvP: Dan gaan we een bakkie doen: that is when we are going to have a nice cup of coffee.
Click here for the link to the interview
Most of you will not be able to understand any of this, but it is worthwhile to look at the last 3 minutes of the interview, just to see Robin’s face, and especially his eyes: they are smiling throughout and mostly so during the last five seconds of the interview. He also never touches his nose (a well-known sign of a possible lie being made), looks shifty or is not in control of the situation.
He is speaking to a Dutch journalist and does not need to do any Arsenal PR to him, so he himself chooses to say everything he does and that to me is the best proof that Robin really loves Arsenal and is going to sign a new contract. He is not exactly saying the latter of course during this interview, as he will still want to negotiate a fair and attractive contract, but in my opinion he said more than enough to convince me he will be at Arsenal next season and beyond.
RvP said: ‘Yes, I am a real Gunner, which goes without saying, I have been there eight years, I love this club, that is no secret, and that will always stay like that’, and this statement, combined with his wish to sort things out whilst doing ‘een bakkie’ is enough proof for me that he will stay at Arsenal.
RvP10, like DB10, has Arsenal-DNA in his blood and like the latter he will make a decision about his future based on a healthy balance between earning what he is worth, playing quality football and doing the best for him and his family. He is one of ours and around him we will build the next super-Arsenal team.
You might say, I am Dutching at Straws but I am very confident RvP will sign a new contract this summer. Without any doubt, there will be a million or more words written about RvP’s contract shenanigans, before he will finally put ink to paper. You can choose to read all of them, or be sensible and just remember what he has said in the interview above, and go with my interpretation of it. As I said a few days ago, I will eat LB’s newly purchased hat this season, if I am proven wrong. RvP is a true Gunner-for-Life and we are so lucky to have him.
Written by TotalArsenal