Arsenal have had a pretty bad time in the last 6 months losing Fabregas and Nasri before having to deal with more stress at the thought of losing their captain Robin Van Persie. I think we can all be quite certain that he would like to stay if he felt the club could match his ambition; we can be equally certain that he would be prepared to move on to another club if he doesn’t think this is the case, otherwise he would have signed by now. So, putting any bias you might have as an Arsenal fan, or as a non Arsenal fan, to one side let’s weigh up the pros and cons for the man himself.
Reasons to go?
Graeme Souness: “It’s going to be difficult for Arsenal to hold on to Robin Van Persie. I fear they could lose the Dutch striker, just as they lost skipper Cesc Fabregas to Barca for £33m and fellow midfielder Samir Nasri for £25m to Man City in the Summer…Top players look for two things – what they are going to be paid and if they can win things. Van Persie will probably discover he can earn more money elsewhere, at a club with more chance of lifting trophies.”
I think it is obvious that the most important factor for Van Persie would be trophies. Robin has had an unfortunate career in this department and his total of a UEFA cup, an FA Cup and the Community Shield is nowhere near sufficient for a player of Van Persie’s calibre. I think Robin knows he could win trophies at Arsenal but a) it’s not guaranteed, and b) they might not be the trophies he wants (i.e. the league title, the Champions League).
Money is an issue for everybody, but particularly when you’re approaching what will be your last big contract. Yes players earn outrageous amounts of money but considering that they retire in their early/mid thirties that money has got to last them a long time. Van Persie will be looking to get as much money as he can out of his last contract and whilst Arsenal could offer him a large amount (Henry’s last contract saw him take home around £120,000/week) there will always be people who can offer him more.
Reasons to stay?
Marco Van Basten: “Robin must not leave Arsenal. You can’t compare my situation at Ajax. The big difference is that Robin is already at a big club. Robin has been in London for six years. He can’t help it if Arsenal have won nothing in that time…And I still think Arsenal are the most beautiful club in England. At Man City and Chelsea they will never have that class and style…Arsenal have the most amazing stadium, they have a style of play, they have a beautiful shirt – in every way I consider arsenal as the ultimate football club. It is the club where Robin belongs.”
I think there are three main reasons why Robin would consider staying. Firstly, he loves the club. You always do if you spend so much time in one place. However this doesn’t mean he will necessarily stay – Cesc, Vieira, Henry all loved the club.
I think he knows that he can win trophies at Arsenal and I think he will be tempted to do so as long as he thinks he can win the right trophies. Lastly the team is centred around him at Arsenal and I doubt his form would ever be as good as it is now if he left. We only need to look at Torres or Henry or Anelka to see the possible damage moving club can do. He is in the form of his life and surely loves his football at the moment. I genuinely think this could be a major reason for him staying at Arsenal beyond this summer.
I, like many Arsenal fans, can’t think of many things I would like to see less than Van Persie waltz off to Manchester but we have to be realistic about his options. You can’t say he’s one of the best strikers in the world and then deny that he deserves the opportunity to play somewhere he can win major trophies. All Arsenal fans want him to stay but he has always worked hard for the club and I think that, should he decide to leave, he can hold his head high on the way out.
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