Why I think Van Persie isn't gunning for glory at Arsenal
Robin Van Persie: Where's your head at?
To Arsene Wenger and the boardroom, it probably came as a massive shock that Van Persie spoke out regarding this ongoing transfer saga; he won't be renewing his contract. What does this mean for Arsenal? It means they can either get a healthy fee now or risk losing him under the bosman ruling come July 2013. In Arsene's position, it's a dilemma. Although, Van Persie is acting professional about the situation, much in contrast to Carlos Tevez last summer. Robin's tenure at Arsenal has been when overshadowed with injuries in his earlier career with the Gunners. Wenger remained faithful towards his tricky front-man throughout those injuries but last season he really stepped his game up into top gear. Illustrating as to why monsieur Wenger kept the faith in the Dutchman with his 30 league goals tally and 13 assists. Many of Arsenal fan will be bitter about this, but he won a lot of games last season for the club, A LOT. There were even times where people were labelling Arsenal a 'one-man team', which in any circumstance is a bogus suggestion. However, with Robin reigning supreme and unveiling himself out of the shadows that were withering over him, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri during their time at Arsenal. He's thought to himself that it's a good time to get out. Having only won an FA Cup and a Community Shield during his 8 year stay, he may be willing to give his last year of his contract a crack at Arsenal - one last time with meaning. You can imagine, if Arsenal were to lift a trophy with captain Van Persie if he was to stay until the end of his contract, would he be lambasted for it? I doubt it.
Being a neutral on the situation, I feel 'RvP' has been a great servant to Arsenal. Don't get me wrong, he has had his injury problems but he's stuck with them whilst others have left. There is one side of me that says he is different to Samir Nasri and the other side of me that contemplates that most footballers are mercenaries nowadays. No childhood allegiance to a club, no long-term committment. Money speaks a thousand words in a short career of which footballers have. Bear in mind an 8-year stint at a club in modern-day football is actually very respectable. But legacies live on and clubs cope with the loss of players. Arsenal have already been busy in the transfer market this season, signing Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud from Cologne and Montpellier respectively. Did those signings influence Robin's decision? Did the club already fear Robin's head wasn't at Arsenal? Those questions remain unanswered and may just stay that way. Although, Arsenal are surely grieving right now - they are forgetting that Arsene Wenger has signed players in the past and moulded them into world-class stars over the years, look at Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Cesc Fabregas. Giroud and Podolski could go down the same route, or they could be left in the wilderness in a Marouane Chamakh-esque fashion, who knows!
The get-out clause, if you will at Arsenal is simple - I want trophies. Coinciding with Vieira's departure in 2005, Arsenal haven't won anything since. A key player at the time; it doesn't aspire confidence from the Arsenal faithful particularly, does it? Any top player who is earning a lot of money already wants silverware and if they move to a club challenging for major honours, a healthier wage packet will come hand-in-hand too. It's a no-win situation particularly for Van Persie if he was to leave now in terms of harmony with the Arsenal supporters. It's likely he'll be criticized even after such a wonderful season last year. But I can't help but feel a Drogba-styled exit would be better for him. Out of contract, a free agent - he's free to join who he likes and Arsenal have no influence over that. They certaintly wouldn't want to feel like a 'feeder club' to Manchester City after already losing Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri to them in recent years. So I think a move to Manchester City at present is a no-go, and any other Premier League club for that matter. The likelihood is, Juventus is his destination if he was to leave now providing they cough up enough for him. The touted £30m is probably putting off a lot of sides, but I'm sure free-spending Paris St. Germain would happily take him for that much. A Ligue 1 title at the very least would be in-sight for RvP if he was to leave for the French capital.
There is a gut-feeling for me though that Van Persie has spoken to players who have left Arsenal in search for trophies and this may have influenced his decisions. That aside his ambitions were apparently not matched by the club, this says to me, he wants to see fellow world-class players joining him but Arsene Wenger and the board, as per usual are remaining tight-budgeted and not expending too much. As a top-four club with Manchester City throwing around a lot of money, they have managed to win a title. Would it not be a good idea for Arsene to follow suit and try and replicate his early noughties successes?! One thing is for certain, I'm not a psychologist but Van Persie's body language at Euro 2012 says to me his head may have not been in it for his country. I think after Holland's early exit from the Euros, in his sabbatical away from playing football, during that period from the group-stage till now he has thought long and hard about his future and if Arsenal didn't share his ambitions, his head would be elsewhere. He could surprise us all yet and honour his contract till the very end in a professional manner, but who knows until later revealed - the sheer unpredictability makes football such a beautiful game to watch and surmise about.