So nearly an Arsenal Legend…

So the news that every arsenal fan was dreading has finally broken, Robin Van Persie has made a statement in which he declares he will not be signing a new contract. He says that in his meeting with Wenger and Gazidis ‘it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward’

On the face of it Van Persie’s agents have tried to get the fans on side by making it appear as though he is a fan, however we have seen from the backlash towards him this was ill-judged.

This is Van Persie replying to Wenger’s comments in his Eurosport blog, where he urged Van Persie to stay and show the loyalty that the club showed him throughout his injuries as well as his personal troubles. (Accused of rape in 2005) Robin claims to love the club but unfortunately this statement says otherwise, he has completely undermined the club, the manager and his team-mates. He is essentially claiming that the players aren’t good enough to win anything despite signing two international strikers before July.

This statement smacks of a player who is scared that the club are going to hold him to the final year of his contract. He is desperate to get his big pay day at Manchester City, much like his friend Samir Nasri and has now driven a wedge between himself and the club.

Many people criticised Cesc Fabregas last year for his silence, but this gave Arsenal the opportunity to at least get as much money out of Barcelona as possible. It was a different situation with Cesc though as he was only ever going to leave for one club. This meant there wasn’t really a market for him. With van Persie however, I think it’s pretty clear where he wants to go but there is more than one interested party with Juventus, PSG, Man United as well as City of course.

This is where I believe Arsenal have to play hard-ball. It is pretty clear that Van Persie will never play for us again so we have to do what is best for the club, personally I would refuse to sell him to another club in England as a player of his calibre (when fit) will obviously improve our rivals.

If foreign clubs don’t offer enough then I wouldn’t sell him at all. I know this is very unlikely that the club will take a hit on him but at some point a player’s contract has to mean something.

If Arsenal prove that they are not to be messed with and hold strong on Van Persie, then it gives the rest of the players a clear message that if you disrespect the club we will play hard ball.

If Arsenal wilt and sell yet another player to Manchester City, it becomes abundantly clear that any player wanting to leave just has to release a damning statement to the press and they will get their wish.

Van Persie was my favourite player for several years up until this season, but as soon as the contract talk was started last year I became more cautious. I did believe he was different, all of his family were making the right noises about how he loved the club and how his family were so settled in London. Unfortunately Robin is just another footballer that greed has got the better of. If Robin truly loves the club then there is no way he would have gone about it like this.

There is no denying that Van Persie is a world class player when fit and any team will benefit from having him in their side. He scored some incredible goals last season, the late volley against Everton was a personal favourite as well as the hat-trick away at Chelsea.

However towards the end of the season, whether due to tiredness or maybe the pressure, Van Persie was nowhere near as clinical as he had been throughout most of the season.

With the signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud already secured I am less worried about the loss of Van Persie, I think deep down I already knew that he was leaving, otherwise why put a media ban on him throughout the Euros?

Ultimately no one player is bigger than the club and perhaps Robin began to think he was, and quite frankly who is he to judge whether Wenger’s (the man who made Van Persie what he is today) strategy is the best way to move forward. Unfortunately Robin has started to believe the hype surrounding him and that may have been his downfall. If Robin joins Man City he will just be another overpaid player in a squad full of them. At Arsenal Robin was a Hero…Not anymore

Phil Stevens


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