Emmanuel Frimpong really seems to love Arsenal, but this love appears not enough yet to win him a permanent place in the team.
The midfielder fell out with Samir Nasri after he left the club, and he likes to goad Tottenham on Twitter whenever they slip up. As a player, he behaves like a fan and his loyalty to the club is unquestionable, which is what makes him popular with supporters.
Jack Wilshere came through the academy in the same way; he is a favourite with the fans and the feeling appears to be mutual.
The difference between the two, however, is that while Wilshere looks certain to be a club captain of the future and has been tied to a contract which will reward him handsomely, it seems that Frimpong isn’t good enough to make it.
Given the chance, Frimpong would probably take a pay cut to stay, but this summer Arsenal will try to get as much money as they can when they sell him and will claw back a large chunk of the investment they have made in him since he came through the academy. From potential star of the future, he is now a commodity.
When it comes to negotiating a fee, Frimpong’s loyalty and love for the club will count for nothing, and he will be thrown into the pile along with thousands of other players of various nationalities who are chewed up and spat out at the end of every season. There’s no such thing as club loyalty to a bad player.
If he hadn’t been so good, Robin van Persie would have gone the same way, which is why, despite what the majority of supporters believed at the Emirates yesterday, he has nothing to be sorry about for moving to Manchester United.
Van Persie would have been well within his rights to celebrate his first-half penalty as he would have done at any other ground.
Instead, he chose to avoid any confrontation with supporters who booed his every touch and sang about false off-field allegations against him. Van Persie showed them a respect that those abusing him didn’t deserve.
As with many issues, Premier League players are slaughtered for doing things that those in the real world would feel no need to apologise for. If you didn’t like somebody and didn’t want to be a hypocrite by shaking their hand, that would be your prerogative. In football, it becomes a scandal.
If you had been in Van Persie’s shoes of being in your current job for eight years and covering up for other people’s failings, would you really stay there out of loyalty if an offer came along that would double your salary and improve your career prospects?
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