Sports Writer Simon Paice takes a look at the news that Robin Van Persie will not renew his Arsenal contract.
A world-class footballer leaving Arsenal. Now that’s something we’ve heard before.
The writing has been on the wall for a long time, but finally, via a statement published on his website, Robin Van Persie has confirmed he will not be signing a new contact for Arsenal, setting himself up for a quick and lucrative exit from the club.
2011/2012 saw Van Persie score 37 goals, his league contribution of goals and assists alone winning Arsenal 27 points, an incredible statistic that proves just how vital the Dutchman was in propelling the Gunners to third in the table and a coveted Champions League spot.
In his statement, RVP put the reason for his refusal to sign a new contract down to a disagreement with the board, saying: “… unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.”
This is a very clever PR spin from his management, puttingthe attention on the clubs board to divert it away from the rumor it’s the inevitable £150,000 a week pay packet from Man City that’s the real reason for him leaving.
There is a degree of truth in his comments though, there does appear to be a lack of ambition with the club, highlighted by the fact they’ve allowed their best player and captain to leave two years running, without putting up much of a fight, just sadly resigning to its inevitability.
Some Arsenal fans are hoping that we’ve seen the best of him and that he won’t be able to replicate his 2011/2012 form in the blue of City. They may be clutching at straws a little, but it’ll be pretty hard for the Dutchman to replicate that record-breaking season again, especially when he’ll go from the star man in a moderately average side to just another world class player at City, fighting for game time with Aguero/Tevez/Balotelli and co.
Just like Henry, Fabregas and to a degree Nasri, RVP leaves Arsenal fans with some fantastic memories and a sensational highlight reel. Personally, I say good luck to him. The way football is at the moment, with money controlling nearly everything, it’s not worth the effort to be bitter and spiteful when a player leaves you for a bigger pay cheque, as it just keeps happening and will for a long time.
People have to remember that loyalty and respect has largely gone from the game now. As proved by the fact that after carrying RVP through seven years of injuries, always sticking by him, he felt the need to return just one great season before walking away. It will hurt seeing him in a City shirt, or another shirt if he makes a surprise move elsewhere, but it was inevitable and life goes on.
The next step for the club is to drive a hard bargain for selling him, push for as close to £40m as possible and then work on continuing our impressive start to the summer in the transfer window by completing the M’Vila deal and sorting out some new deals.
It’s not all over, Arsenal won trophies before Van Persie (albeit a while ago now) and they will win trophies after him. Yes, they’d have been a better team with him in it, but there is a future with Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski and co. The main worry though, after Fabregas, Nasri and RVP, who’s going to be the next one to go?