Does he even deserve to stay at Arsenal any more?

Arsenal's Robin van Persie

With Juventus suggesting today that Arsenal’s price for van Persie is too high, reports coming out of Arsenal’s training camp yesterday that they would be happy to keep him until January and Roberto Mancini complaining that Brian Marwood is making no headway with the situation Arsenal fans could feasibly expect to face a season in which their captain plays at least some part. But does he deserve to stay?

Many viewed his performances at the European Championships as indicative that he was unable to deal with a high pressure, an unreasonable statement. The Dutch striker had to deal with the pressure of being Arsenal’s only goal scoring striker all last season, and he managed fine.

However, it is hard to deny that Arsenal’s captain was far from his best on international duty. His ineffectual play was undoubtedly a consequence of both his fatigue from a gruelling season as well as the poor performances of his national team-mates. He shouldn’t be judged on that ill-fated week, though.

The forthcoming season, no matter where he is, will not bring the same form as last year. How could it? Even with his extra break, van Persie has played as much football in the last 18 months as he has in three years before that. He’s unused to having to perform to such high standards on such a consistent basis.

And that’s really the point. Apart from last year, van Persie hasn’t started more than 20 games per season for eight years.

During this time the club has happily paid his wages, secured him the best medical treatment money could buy and nurtured him and supported him emotionally – as did the fans and the manager.

So, did Arsenal deserve to be treated like this by a player they have looked after so well? No, but it happens. Arsenal fans don’t have to like it, and they don’t have to show van Persie support either. There’s a difference between being ungrateful and no longer showing your support and appreciation.

Arsenal fans are grateful to Robin for his efforts and his goals last season, but they just won’t support his spoilt, ungrateful attitude towards them.

If you’d asked any fans two months ago whether they wanted van Persie to stay they would have all been in agreement that they did. Now? You’d be hard pressed to find fans that feel he deserves another chance.

Wenger might still be saying that it is imperative we keep the 28 year old, but how can Arsenal accept him back in to the fold at this stage?

He has insulted the club and its hierarchy by saying that they don’t know how to take the club forward and he has insulted and patronised the fans by pretending that carefully worded statement on his website was for their benefit rather than for his.

I don’t know whose idea that statement was but as soon as he released it, many fans who wouldn’t have begrudged him the possibility of moving on to win trophies, suddenly felt let down and angry.

Some players deserve respect even when they move on; it seems now that van Persie might not deserve respect even if he stays.

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