I think God’s making me pay for all the laughs I got from “The Decision.” See, I support Arsenal and the Nets. Feel free to laugh while I point at my Giants Super Bowl shirt. Anyway, Robin Van Persie and Deron Williams shine as bright diamonds in their respective rough and share a common bond across the pond. Each star athlete has been linked to possible departures: Deron to Dallas and RvP to PSG, Juventus or… Manchester City. Rumors of talks, promises and back room discussions have littered their prospective destinies but they don’t mean anything until pen meets paper. So who’s game for more speculation?
Deron’s time in Jersey saw an ill-constructed, injury-addled squad afflicted by Dwightmare.* The Nets still offer Williams the biggest payday, room for more free agents and visibility for endorsements available this summer. Yet Dallas’ front office is working hard to grab Deron in free agency with ploys of playing at home, better odds at winning a championship and no income tax. Dallas has a run in them if they get a defensive big.** Meanwhile the Nets’ mix of youth in a surprising Gerald Green, Marshon Brooks and Lopez can turn heads down the line. Therein lies Williams’ dilemma. Would you get your payday and rebuild with a reinvigorated franchise or spur a title chase with a limited window before your 30s?
PFA Player of the Year Robin Van Persie put Arsenal on his back towards another Champions League berth. Concurrently, today’s EPL sees contenders splurging for top talent towards trophies. Arsenal’s frugal spending flies has been to their detriment for a number of seasons. Nevertheless, Arsene Venger has kept busy lately towards avoiding 2011’s summer transfer meltdown by adding German International Lukas Podolski and French International Olivier Giroud: Ligue 1’s top scorer. Most Gooners will tell you DM Yann M’Vila is the golden ticket to keeping Robin around as his Viera-like talents, along with addressing depth, catapult Arsenal into FA and Championship trophy running. How can Arsenal sign him and address their reserves, especially for their back four, with short pockets? And where does Arsenal go if M’Vila’s character issues scare them off?
Funds are the last problem on Abu Dhabi City’s rap sheet. They also have enough talent to strive for more titles as long as ownership doesn’t get bored with owning a football team. RVP made his name at Arsenal but City’s sudden rise has to pique his interest. But, as seen with his performance at Euro, he’s accustomed to and a major benefactor of Arsenal’s system–namely via support from Alex Song, Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta. Potentially getting accustomed to different tactics and the egos included warrant a serious second look.
Let’s not forget their exits would leave relative sh*t storms in their wake. Brooklyn risks being DOA for their Barclays Center grand opening without any hometown headlining talent. Not to mention Williams’ departure would have scary similarities to the Dr. J. sale which doomed the Nets’ NBA existence before it started. Arsenal would fare better but stand to lose their 15-year C.L. contention streak without Robin’s world-class striking ability. Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle would be more than happy to snatch their perpetual third- and fourth-place finishes.
And me? I’ll be fine either way. I’ve long realized pro sports are a business and players always try to do what they feel is best for them. Any talk of “loyalty” sportswriters and fans love to attach to these cases goes out the window with millions of dollars and pounds on the line. I still think Deron and Van Persie have much to gain from staying put. Although, in an age favoring win-now outfits, I’m well prepared for them to jump ship.
* – Billy King sent out a Top-3 protected pick and two bums to Portland for Gerald Wallace’s expiring contract. Orlando HAD an eye on Wallace but new management cut that out as soon as they moved in.
** – To Wllie P. et. al, good luck fighting for another O’Brien trophy with those “enforcers.” Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi should hold it down for you guys just fine /sarcasm.