After one of his most productive seasons in an Arsenal shirt and following on from two injury ravaged seasons, Robin van Persie is stalling on signing a new contract. This is the man who only last week was sympathising with the supporters and was pleading that the squad is kept together.
Yet loyalty is paper-thin in football and instead of showing his loyalty to a club that paid him in full for two seasons when he hardly kicked the ball, he is prepared to leave, or even worse has asked of a €5 million transfer clause to inserted into his contracted.
Whilst van Persie has played well and scored goals this season, he has been going through a very lean spell of late. Whilst he scored three goals in the Champions League in recent weeks, they have all been from the penalty spot. His last goal from open play was against Hull City in the FA Cup, ten games ago. His last Premier League was the last minute equaliser away to Everton in January.
Form and confidence have deserted van Persie at the wrong time of the season, this was evident on Saturday when he was left unmarked by the United defence but all he could do was direct his header over the crossbar.
Van Persie is not suited to playing the lone striker; he drifts to deep and makes life too easy for defenders marking him. Even when he has a partner he has a habit of drifting away from the front line, leaving his strike partner to cope with two defenders.
The club are offering him £70,000 a week, whilst his agent wants £90,000. The club should not be held to ransom as were last season by Adebayor. The offer the club has made is a very good one, if van Persie believes otherwise then we should him in summer and build a new team around Arshavin playing just off the main striker.
The buzz on the net was that Robin van Persie had committed his future to Arsenal, great news if you only read the headlines, not so good, if you read between the lines.
Robin van Persie was rewarded in 2005 with a long-term contract, which runs to 2011. Arsenal opened negotiations with the Dutch striker recently, but as there was no man at the helm negotiations have not got anywhere.
Finally, we appointed a Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis and one of his first tasks was to sit down with van Persie and Walcott and thrash out new contract deals. Everything has gone quiet until yesterday.
In an interview with Setanta Sports, van Persie said, “My aim is not to fight for fourth place. This is what we are involved in now and I accept that. However, it is not my aim just to qualify for the Champions League. I want to win the Champions League and I believe we can.
“It is not just that I want to play in the FA Cup, I want to win it, and that is what I have always said.
“I am not a guy who gives up easily. I have a contract until 2011 and I will respect that and, about my future, I can’t say much more.”
Van Persie is merely saying that he is not at this moment prepared to sign a new contract, nor will he be seeking a move in the summer. He is holding a gun to Arsenal Football Club and stating if they do not win something, he is prepared and probably will leave.
Van Persie is a fiery character on the field, he has talent in abundance and would be in demand at most top clubs across Europe should he become available, but he must remember that to win trophies it is not just the club that is responsible but all the players too. He has had his best season at Arsenal, but he is not a goal-scoring machine, in recent weeks he has missed too many chances to be able to say he is doing his bit for the team.
Players who come out with statements that the club needs to meet my ambitions, should, before they open their mouths look at heir own performances, week in week out and ask themselves could I have done better? If I had taken my chance against Sunderland or the header against West Ham then we would be sitting 2 points behind Chelsea.
Wenger will not allow a player like van Persie to see out his contract, the club will make one big push this summer to tie him down to a new contract, failing that he will be sold in summer 2010. All players want to win trophies, but to sign a contract extension only if we win a trophy is not the type of player we want at Arsenal.
I hope that van Persie will sign a new contract before the start of the new season, if not he will be sold and life will go on at Arsenal as it has when other players have thought life was better away from Arsenal.
Robin van Persie has over the last half a dozen games begun to turn in world class performances. He has taken it upon himself to lift the team in the absence of Cesc Fabregas.
Van Persie did not fit into any of the “typical” striker’s boxes. He was not a fox in the box (Michael Owen), a sharpshooter (Eduardo), a target man (Torres), a second striker (Ian Wright), a big number nine (Adebayor) or an Henry. Bergkamp was one type of player that was mentioned alongside van Persie’s name, but could there ever be another Bergkamp.
We all remember that marvellous goal be van Persie against Blackburn, when he picked the ball up in front of the North Bank, jinked around a defender, and then an acute angle he placed it into the far corner. This was the control that van Persie possessed. We all know he has a great left foot and his free kicks, once the range has been found are deadly.
Despite all this, nobody knew what to expect from van Persie. He spent most of the last two seasons out injured, everyone feared and still odes that he is one tackle away from missing the season. However, he has now grown in confidence, his upper body strength allow him to shield the ball from defenders, he is not blessed with lightening speed, but his thought process and precision of passes more than make up for this small deficit.
This season he is scoring goals, all sorts of goals, a brace against Chelsea and a beauty against Liverpool, but he has now started to create goals. All three against Hull City, the goals against Bolton and Portsmouth and a goal against Plymouth.
Van Persie is truly turning into a world-class Dutch master and long may it continue.