4th July 2012 – The day that Robin van Persie’s reputation with Arsenal and their fans was tarnished. At the beginning of the day there was the usual rumours, speculation and discussion until 4:03pm when Robin van Persie released a statement simply titled “Update for the Fans”. This simple message would end up shocking, angering and breaking the hearts of so many Arsenal fans.
There it was, the confirmation that Arsenal captain had no intention of staying at the Emirates. At first, Gooners were speechless. That silence slowly turned into anger, and most done the only thing you could do – vent their frustration. The fans felt let down and betrayed by their hero. For whom the fans sung hearts out all season has not only stated his desire to leave Arsenal, but he has also stabbed the man that nurtured him.
Arsene Wenger brought a young Robin van Persie to North London and helped him develop to be one of Europe’s most wanted strikers. How did Van Persie repay him? He wants out, calling his boss’s policy and plans for future as worthless. He stabbed the man that stuck by him through all his injuries, frustrations and attitude problems. Arsene must be feeling awful after being betrayed again by one of the players that reached star status under his guidance.
It took 8 years for an injury prone Robin van Persie to play a whole season. In that season, he scored 30 league goals and most probably got Arsenal into the Champions League. However, he has let the club and fans down badly.
Fans knew the possibility of the Dutch striker leaving, but not many thought it would happen. With the season he had and with 12 months left on his contract, there were bound to be the oil-fuelled, billionaire-driven vultures sniffing around. And after previous experiences with Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal fans knew it was possible. But yet they believed – they believed that RvP was not like that as he claimed “I know I can win trophies with other clubs. But I only want to do it with Arsenal”. He loved the club, city and the fans. They thought that the crest was imprinted into his heart. But yet again, the gunners are made to look like fools and reminded that there’s less loyalty left in the game.
His main reason for not extending contract is that he didn’t agree with the direction the club was going and the ambition they were showing. One good season and that attitude is unbearable. He’s no Thierry Henry, Pat Rice or Tony Adams. Three or four years ago, his name wouldn’t have flickered an eyebrow in north London if he was sold. What has changed, just one good season.
Then again, what ambition did he expect? Wenger signed two top class players in German star Podolski and last season’s Ligue 1 top scorer Giroud to strengthen the squad, yet van Persie comes out and questions club’s ambition. Was he expecting Falcao, Gotze and Neymar? If he doesn’t think this is ambition, he can go to one of the clubs that has bucket loads of cash in their hands. Talking about love for the club, ask any fan that truly loves their club if they would swap teams based on success. Van Persie does not love Arsenal, infact it seems that the fans never knew this man at all.
In my opinion, If the ambition shown by Arsenal is not enough for him then its not about winning trophies. This is the £200,000 a week contract calling his name elsewhere. He knows that his statement will and has attracted interest from top European clubs. Basically, this statement is a “come and get me” plea.
Arsenal should now sell van Persie to the highest bidder, even Manchester City and then reinvest cash in a top class replacement. If gunners keep Van Persie, it will disrupt the squad. He has not only destroyed his relationship with the Arsenal faithful, but he’s also dented it with his teammates. How would it feel to play for a captain that doesn’t believe you’re good enough to win trophies? He will only become a hinderance to progress of the club. It’d be like having an unwanted loanee at the club. He will not be committed to the cause, nor have any desire to give 100 percent.
It’s time for Arsene Wenger and the board to prove to fans that they are not just a feeder club. They’re still a top European team with ambitions because many Arsenal fans are beginning to believe that.
As for Robin, he is no longer worthy of the Red and White shirt that so many of the fans only dream of playing in. Arsenal have replaced bigger players than the dutch striker and will do so again. The fans can thank him for that one last year and say adios, Good riddance Robin and do not forget.
“Play for the name on the front of the shirt and they’ll remember the name on the back.” – Tony Adams