A circus, saga, soap opera, whatever you want to call it, the Robin van Persie mess has finally been sorted out with Manchester United reportedly paying either £22 or £24 million to Arsenal to bring the Dutch striker up to Old Trafford. Personally, I think it’s about time the farce is over and although van Persie’s a top-class striker, I don’t really think the Gunners will miss him that much.
A lot of people are making a big deal out of his age but, at 29, van Persie’s nowhere near over the hill. In fact, many sports experts feel a player is in his prime at 29. Manager Arsene Wenger didn’t really have any choice in the matter but to sell him since he had just one year to go on his current contract. Hanging on to a player who publicly stated that he wanted to leave would have been a bad move. He could have been forced to play out his contract at the Emirates, but it would have been like flushing £24 million down the toilet.
The reason I don’t think van Persie will be missed that much is because of all the scoring power Arsenal still possesses. I don’t really think anybody in England’s seen enough of newcomer Olivier Giroud to predict how well the French striker will do in the Premier League. However, with Lukas Podolski it’s a different story. This guy’s been a key ingredient in Germany’s national team for several years now and has proven that he has the goods to deliver against the best in the world.
Also, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are fine offensive threats and Wenger still has Park Chu-Young, Marouane Chamakh, Gervinho, Jack Wilshere, Andrey Arshavin, and Nicklas Bendtner on the books. I only wish he would have held on to Ryo Miyaichi for the season instead of loaning him out to Wigan.
Van Persie will have to pass a medical before the move becomes official and if I was Man United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson, his health may be my biggest concern. The striker has shown over the years that he’s actually pretty frail and can’t always stand up to the rigours of the game. He managed to play in all 38 league games last season and hats off to him. However, since joining Arsenal in 2004, this is the number of league games he’s missed each season: 12, 14, 16, 23, 10, 22, and 13. I believe that’s 110 in total not to mention the Cup games he missed.
Who really knows the real reason van Persie wanted to leave. It could have been true that he was tired of not winning anything with Arsenal and that his true goal is silverware. But it could also just have been a money issue. Hopefully he’s been honest with the fans. It’s a bit ridiculous that the sale has come just a few days before the season’s set to kick off though. Arsenal may have been able to use some of the cash to purchase more players before they were all signed. In addition, it means van Persie doesn’t really have any time to prepare for the season with his new teammates.
Wenger probably hung onto him too long since the player stated at the beginning of July that he wasn’t going to extend his contract at Arsenal. The board should have decided long ago if they were going to sell last year’s Golden Boot winner or not. They should have then set a price on him and gone to work from there and perhaps should have only sold him to a team behind them in the table instead of to a top competitor. When looking at United’s point of view, one wonders if the club really needs van Persie either.
The team’s already loaded up front with Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Dimitar Berbatov, Chicharito, and Federico Macheda among others. Macheda may very well turn out to be the best of the bunch and Welbeck may now be regretting signing a new five-year contract the other day. Perhaps Ferguson just signed him to satisfy his own ego. Who knows, but it’ll be interesting to see exactly where and how much van Persie will play. Will he be happy playing a part time role and sitting on the bench for periods of time if it comes to that?
According to the 25-man roster rules, with van Persie being added to United’s squad, it means somebody else is going to have to be removed from it to make room for him. Could it be Berbatov or one of the young up-and-comers? Van Persie’s the first Gunner to move directly to Man United since Viv Anderson headed up north back in the 1980s and it’s believed that United will pay an initial fee of about £15 with the rest of the money to be negotiated concerning van Persie’s games played, silverware, and goals etc.
There’s one aspect of this deal that many football fans don’t agree with and if it was addressed we could see a reduction in the number of players simply changing teams for money. Since Arsenal agreed to sell van Persie and he’s already under contract. That same contact and salary should go with him to United. There’s no need really to agree to personal terms with him. Of course, this could be a bit of a gamble with a player on the last year of a contract since they’d become a free agent at the end of the season. But for players who move with two or more years on their current deals, they should be paid the same wages they signed for.
There are probably some supporters around the world who are basically fans of van Persie first and the Gunners second. Of course, these people will now pledge their allegiance to United and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m sure no matter who he plays for they’ll have more than enough chances to watch him in actin. As for those who are strictly Gunners fans and believe that no player is bigger than the club, they should be happy that this page in Arsenal’s history has finally been turned and a new chapter can begin.