Let me start off by saying that I would love to see Robin van Persie stay at Arsenal. He’s a leader, he’s our captain and his ability to score goals is second to none. When fit and on-form, there are not many better strikers around at the moment.
Our skipper managed to stay fit last season, and in the process, he picked up an impressive 30 Premier League goals; an achievement that paved the club’s path to a 3rd-place finish – sitting above mega-spenders Chelsea and arch-rivals Tottenham in the league.
Since our move away from Highbury, I’ve learnt that loyalty isn’t something you should expect to see in the sport. Growing up, I idolised Ashley Cole; the teenager who was living every Gooner’s dream by playing for his boyhood club. But then, from out of nowhere, he turned his back on Arsenal – and after almost crashing his car in disgust – he joined Chelsea for an extra £5,000 a week. Thousands – including myself – were left heartbroken and naturally, the crushing disappointment swiftly turned into everlasting hate.
Whether you want to believe it or not, Ashley Cole is still an Arsenal supporter and I’m told “he’d come back tomorrow” if an opportunity ever came.
Players – good, bad and world class – will come and go. But whatever happens, the club will live on. And like we’ve done so many times in the past, our superb scouting team or excellent academy system will find and build replacements.
If van Persie’s focus isn’t 100% on Arsenal, he should leave. If he thinks he’s too good for us, he should leave. If he thinks getting £100,000 every week isn’t enough, he should leave. I’m not saying all these things are definite, but just mere possibilities at the moment.
Although the list goes on; having the honour of wearing the captain’s armband, playing Champions League football every single year, having Arsene Wenger as manager, the luxury of having access to top-class training and medical facilities at London Colney… all of this, added with the privilege of playing in-front of some of the most loyal fans who – win or lose – will always travel up and down the country (and continent) every week, you’d like to think that these things would be enough to motivate Robin to pick up the pen and extend his deal at Arsenal?
It looks like his head is elsewhere. Of course, after the season he’s had, this was always inevitable. No one deserves a summer break more than RVP. And although he wasn’t in Poland and Ukraine for long, don’t forget the Dutchman’s holidays were delayed due to his participation at this year’s European Championships.
Robin has never been shy to express his opinion. I was there at St. Mary’s when he stupidly got himself sent off, allowing Southampton to steal a 1-1 draw way back in February 2005. Returning to more recent times, he’s voiced he wants to see the club show more ambition in the transfer market. To an extent, I agree with this. Although at times, I feel the “ambition” line is just used as a smokescreen to cover up a players’ greediness. Nasri, Cole and Adebayor are just a few of the many examples.
However, on a brighter side, we’re not even in July yet and we’ve already signed two international strikers. Whether Olivier Giroud and Lucas Podolski are replacements for Robin van Persie, I’m not too sure. But right now, it’s something that wouldn’t surprise me.
It would be incredibly disappointing to see RVP leave us this summer, especially if he ends up at Man City. But now that we’ve already wrapped up deals for Giroud (25) and Podolski (27), both of whom are younger than van Persie (29 in August), I don’t believe a RVP departure would be the end of the world for us.
There is always the worry if whether he will be able to avoid any major injuries for a second consecutive season. Whether he’ll stay fit for another 12 months, or not, is anyone’s guess.
Of course, the ideal scenario would see van Persie sign a four-year extension at Arsenal. But sadly, it’s something you can’t expect to see in 21st century football. With limited media interaction, quotes and stories, speculation on the future of Robin van Persie can only go so far.
However, I will end with this; two forwards will always be better than one, especially if the one is as injury-prone as Robin van Persie.