“We want to keep Robin van Persie at all costs — because we depend on him offensively.
I have always supported him even in the hardest times, and I hope he will end his career at Arsenal.” – Arsene Wenger
Less than a week after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger vowed to do all he could to keep his star striker Robin van Persie at the Emirates Stadium, the Dutchman has confirmed that he won’t be signing a new contract with the club.
“I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.”
Van Persie still has a year left on his Arsenal contract but the confirmation that he won’t be signing an extension all but guarantees his departure before the new season begins. He’s still too valuable a commodity to be allowed to run down his contract and leave for for nothing next summer.
The news may disappoint Wenger but it’s unlikely to be a complete surprise to the Frenchman. The signings of Lukas Podolski (27) and Olivier Giroud (25) may have been an effort to convince van Persie to stay or else they were signed to replace him. Either way Wenger is prepared.
So after eight years, 279 games, 132 goals and no league title, the 28 year-old has decided it’s time for a new challenge. The lack of major success during his time under Wenger is sure to have played a major role in his decision. The 2005 FA Cup and 2004 Community Shield providing his only winners medals.
He may also have doubts over whether Wenger will have a side capable of challenging for the Premier League and Champions League next season.
Where will Robin land next?
There certainly won’t be a shortage of elite clubs looking to add him to their squad, with Juventus already rumored to have made an unsuccessful bid of £8m. Despite only having one-year to go, van Persie is one of the most lethal strikers in Europe and could go for double that price.
Manchester City are expected to join the race for his signature which could see the price pushed up allowing Arsenal to pocket a tidy sum. It won’t be enough to replace his goals but it’ll be more than they’ll get next May if they decide to tough it out and hang on to him.
Premier League champions Manchester City are currently the 4/11 favorites to be Robin van Persie’s next club, with Serie A champions Juventus the second favorites at 9/2. Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona make up the next four teams in the betting which is testament to the calibre of the player.
Once again Arsenal fans seem set to say goodbye to a star player before they’re ready to let him go. Can Wenger build a better team without him? Will a move provide van Persie with the success his talent deserves? We can’t know for sure what the future holds but we’ll be a little closer to the answers by next May.