The news that Robin van Persie will not be signing a new contract with Arsenal should not come as too much of a surprise to anyone. The Dutchman, labelled ‘Captain Vantastic’ by his beloved Gooners, looks likely to leave the Emirates in the coming weeks, with a list of suitors as long as his goal scoring record. But where will he go?
Manchester City are the long time admirers of last season’s PFA and football writer’s player of the year. Their neighbours, Manchester United, have only recently been linked with van Persie’s signature, but surely represent an attractive option, and there is the Italian champions, Juventus, who were the first to table a bid last week. With a player of van Persie’s undoubted class available at a bargain-bucket price, surely the giants like Barcelona and Real Madrid are worthy of consideration, should they enter negotiations with Arsenal, whilst both Milan sides and Bayern Munich stand outside chances. To be frank, he has his pick.
Robin van Persie is the only player to have been mentioned in the same breath by Gooners as the great Thierry Henry since the Frenchman left for Barca almost a decade ago. van Persie is adored by Arsenal fans, many who sympathise with his decision to not sign a new deal, and so he should consider this; Go abroad, and you will be remembered as an Arsenal legend. Go up north, and you will be hated forever.
Big name moves between the Premier League elite are few and far between, save the emergence of Man City’s ‘sign who we want’ dealings of the last few years. Arsenal have lost four first teams stars to the newly crowned Premier League champions, and in each case, the fans have also lost their affection for each of them. The names Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor are whispered quietly around North London, whose reputation as cash grabbers outweighs the fact that they have each now won trophies that Arsenal simply haven’t.
It is not just an Arsenal pandemic. Only last week Liverpool FC’s official twitter feed openly congratulated former kop favorites Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa on Spain’s Euro 2012 victory, whilst blatantly ignoring the achievements of the once loved, now despised Chelsea forward, Fernando Torres.
Should van Persie make the trip to Spain and join either of Barcelona or Real Madrid, then his beloved fans will be much more understanding. A case of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. Why not send their favorite son off to the glitz and glamour of Europe’s biggest clubs, to play for the two greatest club sides in football history?
Seeing him back at the Emirates scoring goals for one of Arsenal’s Manchester rivals will be a dagger in the heart to the fans who have watched him grow from injury-torn starlet to world-beating star. Robin van Persie – it’s over to you.