So Robin Van Persie is not going to sign a new contract. Are you surprised? I know I’m not. He is 28-years-old and has been at Arsenal for eight seasons. In that time he has won just one major trophy – the FA Cup in 2005. Surely a player of his ability deserves to have won more?
With big names like Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri long gone, the club has remained as far away as ever from the big prizes in recent years. Van Persie has decided he has seen enough. He wants to finish his career with a flourish and he feels he will not be able to do that at Arsenal.
But lets not kid ourselves. No player is bigger than the club. Others, far better than the Dutchman, have left before and the club has survived. Moreover, Van Persie has spent more than half his eight years at the club on the treatment table anyway.
It has only been in the last 18 months that he has finally remained injury-free, a spell that has seen him reach new levels of genius. 48 Premier League goals in 56 matches since January 2011 tells its own story. But if he does leave now I, for one, will not shed a tear.
As soon as a player no longer wants to play for you, you have to get rid of him. We will get good money for him too, although we are unlikely to re-invest that in the team. We never do. But at least we will be able to post a healthy profit again next year.
Before the Euros I thought the future success of the club rested with Van Persie staying, but I think I may have got it wrong. I believe we will now move forward even stronger. Being known as ‘RvP and the other 10’ was not good for the club as a whole and others will now have to step up and take responsibility.
The arrival of Lukas Podolski and Oliver Giroud means we now have two very good forward players, while maybe this could be a good time to finally play Theo Walcott in a more central position. A front two of Giroud and Walcott, with Podolski just behind, could actually make us an even more potent attacking force.
I would therefore like to see any money from the RvP sale used on the defensive area of the team. A central defender and a holding midfielder – Matt Hummels and Yann M’Vila for example – are the sort of players we need to challenge for the title this season.
So the King may be about to leave, but long live the King. We should not forget the magical moments van Persie gave us, especially in the last season and a half, but we need to look to the future now. And what a glorious future it could be.
We still have a very good squad of players – with the bonus of a fit-again Jack Wilshere to come back in as well – so I am convinced we will be celebrating a Premier League or Champions League triumph next May. And how will Robin feel then?