Dutch Striker Robin Van Persie today announced via his official website that he would not be signing a new deal with Arsenal, citing a difference in opinion over the future direction of the club to that of club manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
Van Persie who represented the Netherlands in the recent Euro 2012 European Championships, scored 41 goals in 53 games for both club and country last season. In his initial statement, no indication has been made towards whether Van Persie will see out the final year of his contract. If he was to do so Arsenal run the risk of letting their most prized asset leave the club for free.
In his eight years at the club since signing from Feyenoord for £2.75 million in 2004, Van Persie only has an F.A. Cup and Charity Shield success to show for his time at the Gunners. Whilst Arsenal fans will be angered by the news that their star striker seeks pastures new, the evidence is there for all to see that at 28, the Dutchman seeks silverware.
During his time at Arsenal, Van Persie has seen the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieria, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Ashley Cole leave the club and achieve significant success elsewhere. For the fans, many will question the loyalty of a player who prior to last season was ravage with injury problems during his time at the club and many will question that only for the last 18 months has the player shown his true potential. As a result many fans feel that the clubs support of the player should be reciprocated through his loyalty to the cause and the signing of a new deal. However today’s news indicates that Van Persie sees his future elsewhere. Unfortunately the days of loyalty in football are very much gone and a rare occurrence.
The next few days are going to be testing times for Arsene Wenger who to date recently added Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud to his attacking options. These signings seemed an indication of intent by the club to improve upon last season but the club captain feels otherwise stating that for him the club is not in a position he feels will bring success back to the North London club. In his statement Van Persie commented:
“I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.
“Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but 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.”
So what now for the club? Van Persie’s statement does not paint the club in a particularly good light and it will be interesting to see how Wenger chooses to respond. With the club risking losing its key player a year down the line, will it be forced to cash on on the Dutchman? As for Van Persie the obvious links as to his next destination will be made. Spanish giant Real Madrid and Barcelona have been linked with a move in the past. Closer to home it would seem Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini may be inclined to renew his interest in the striker. It would be expected that Arsenal would want to recoup a hefty transfer fee, yet with the player entering the final twelve months of his contract the club are not really in a position to play negotiator.