Arsenal Depot

A depository for musings on Arsenal FC

Belated Thoughts On The Van Persie Situation

After a ten-day holiday in Yankee Land, I return today to blogging and matters Arsenal. What was planned as a flight to cooler climes turned out be an ill-timed visit during a particularly intense heat wave. Weather-wise, it felt like being at home, what with temperatures hitting 100°F most days. Still, it was a welcome break and one that recharged the batteries somewhat.

Of course, the fourth of July fireworks were dulled by the release of ‘The Statement’ by Robin van Persie, followed a day later by an opportunistic piece of PR by that other Arsenal billionaire, Alisher Usmanov. The temptation to knee-jerk and shoot off a post was strong – but better sense prevailed and hopefully today’s thoughts are a little more balanced than what I may have put down in the immediate aftermath of RvP’s condemnation of Arsenal’s vision.

Back in April, this author had suggested that Robin van Persie’s contract extension would be difficult to negotiate for both player and club. This was mainly due to the considerable difference in financial terms between what Arsenal could offer and what clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea would be willing to pay. Van Persie’s statement seems to suggest that his mind was made up prior to the two parties entering into a financial discussion.

A lot has been written on the subject already – most believe Van Persie made a bad judgement call in trying to keep fans onside while justifying a possible move. There are those who feel his motivations are purely financial, while others believe Van Persie is right to have lost faith in Arsenal’s ability to challenge for titles. Like Alisher Usmanov, many have laid the blame firmly on the shoulders of the board. And of course, there is always a small section of fans that believe it’s Arsene Wenger’s stubbornness to spend big that has led to another star player departing.

I have previously voiced reservations about allowing players to dictate the club’s transfer policies, be it your star player or club captain. And I stick by that. If Van Persie believes his ideas might work better than Arsene Wenger’s, he is free to give up playing and start coaching. That time may come for the Dutchman, but it is certainly not in the present and he should be humble enough to accept that. The statement issued by him points to a lack of humility – Robin van Persie is effectively saying what some fans were singing at the Emirates in January – Arsene Wenger, you don’t know what you’re doing. It certainly does not show the respect he claims to have for the manager.

But specifically, just how does the club’s vision differ from Van Persie’s? Did he want certain players signed, did he want lucrative extensions for some of his team-mates, did he ask that a specific number of players be brought in? Perhaps Van Persie did have Arsenal’s best interests at heart, but is he more qualified than Arsene Wenger to make decisions on player recruitment, wage negotiations and future strategy? If Theo Walcott has a cracking 2012-13 (assuming he’s still at Arsenal come 1st september), should Theo be allowed the same privilege this time next year? And surely Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud would be considered ambitious signings by anyone’s standards?

It seems to me this is merely a case of a highly opinionated player feeling snubbed by the club’s refusal to take his demands into consideration, whatever those may be. It has manifested itself in a petulance at odds with the maturity shown by the Dutchman in the past 18 months. It has been his improvement as a person over the past season that makes his latest outburst hard to take.

Will Arsenal win trophies without Van Persie? I admit our chances are reduced without him but my connection to Arsenal is not with the trophies in the cabinet but with the philosophy the club has adopted over the years, especially since Arsene Wenger’s arrival and the move to the Emirates. It’s not about rights issues, low-interest bank loans or even FFP, it’s about keeping your house in order. Regardless of what the Sheikhs and Oligarchs would have you believe, football clubs will have to deal with the fallout of wage inflation and that reckoning will come sooner rather than later. Doing the right things pays in the end, and Arsenal are doing the right thing in not going bust while chasing titles.

A quick note to Robin – regardless of the manner of your departure, I will always appreciate your contribution to the Arsenal in 2011-12. Not just for the priceless goals but also for the leadership you showed during a difficult time for the club. Your form, fitness and class were crucial to clinching that vital Champions League spot in a season of terrible lows and terrific highs. And whatever your personal feelings during the campaign, your professionalism both on and off the field cannot be questioned.

You may even be right about Arsenal lacking your vision and ambition – although the moral victory would have been yours if you’d raised the question when lying on the treatment table for about five of your eight years at the club. A transfer request during one of those spells on the sidelines would certainly have convinced us of your lofty goals.

Still, I thank you for the entertainment you provided when you took to the field in the Arsenal red & white. And wish you well.

Thoughts on the Usmanov statement tomorrow. In the meantime Gunners, stay positive.


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21 thoughts on “Belated Thoughts On The Van Persie Situation

  1. senior on said:

    RVP pls stay @ arsenal we still need u !

  2. Shubham on said:

    Maverick Gooner,

    I totally agree with you view. In fact, I wrote a similar piece couple of days back for squarefootball.

    Hope true gunners remain positive and back the team. I feel this could be a good season. Keep the faith.


  3. mateega noah on said:

    Hullo, welcome bavk from your brief holiday. Notwithstanding the balanced story between arsenal the club, Wenger, Persie ,the Board and the faans; i expect you to be evan more balanced as you prepare tomorrow’s statement on Usmanov’s statement because his minority view is too crucial if arsenal have to be more realistic to the present as far as motivating players and winning trouphies is concerned. Else, we are living in utopia.Thanks.

  4. Varun Nair on said:

    Great Article. I totally support that Arsenal have this model of self sustainance and not depending on some Oil tycoon or some Sheikh from the Middle East for bankrolling our club. But what I would like is that Stan Kroenke gets involved on a more regular basis with the club’s running. His approach of ‘Silent Stan’ is alienating himself from the club’s Fan. Furthermore, Arsene Wenger should and will address the other players the responsibility they have towards the club and its supporters. But i’m disappointed about the much talked about UEFA FFP. Clubs are finding numerous loopholes to make big money transfers.

    • Charlie on said:

      I challenge you to find a single Chelsea or Man City fan who thinks they would be better off without Abramovich or Sheikh Mahoud. Truth is those who say they’re proud of the Arsenal model say so because they want to think their team is right. These backers are not evil, they want to give the club money and they want the club to win trophies because they love football and have more money than they can ever spend. Our current owner wants to make money out of the club and that is not going to generate success against owners who are willing to make a personal loss of billions.

  5. nicky on said:

    Van Persie’s contribution to our cause in 2011/12 was immeasureable.
    It was, however, in one season out of eight at Arsenal.
    He has said he will not sign an extension to his present contract next summer when it expires.Arsenal now have the option of letting him leave, with no transfer fee, next summer or sell him now or in the January Window for a fee which could be used to obtain a replacement.
    In my opinion, Arsenal would be foolish not to sell him now. He clearly feels his future is not at the Emirates. He has come out publicly and early and said so and the die has been cast. No attempt should be made to persuade him to stay.
    It is of paramount importance that the dressingroom atmosphere, with at least two new members, is full of harmony and loyalty. This,IMO,will not be possible with the presence of Van Persie who wants out.
    Arsenal should get rid, quickly.

    • I cant help but feel that this is rvp giving the club a taste of its own medicine. In normal circumstances players are invited to contract talks with 2 years plus remaining on their contract (see vermaelen djourou and now koscielny) however rvp was not invited to talks due to his appalling injury record. in fact he was only invited to talks once he was well into his last 2 seasons as arsenal wanted to be sure he had recovered. In addittion to that the club had brouvht in chamakh and when he arrived he scored more goals in 3 months than rvp had done in most of his seasons. I believe that pissed rvp off and he then went on a mission by resigning chamakh to the bench and scoring 59 hoals in 81 appearnces almost 40% of his total arsenal goal tally

  6. Arsenaly on said:

    nice piece…. well done

  7. Quickgun on said:

    We need to be patient on this one, not sure what was the push which made him release the statement. If he had made up his mind to leave there was no need for him to release a statement like this. We are all very well aware what his other illustrious team mates did last year.. So let us wait to see what unfolds instead of crucifying him.

  8. I pretty much agree with everything in that article, good job 🙂 However i do feel his contributions in the past have been good as well and not just the fantastic season he had last year. 2008/08 44 apps He scored 20 goals and assisted 13 = Good season 2010-2011 apps 22goal 7 assists =Good season again. Hes had two noticably good seasons as well as the fantastic season he had last year and some other good moments from the earlier years as well. I know hes been injured alot of his career but when fit he has contributed alot for Arsenal and still managing to get 132 goals and 63 assists out of 280 apps in all competitions. I know he must have gone through alot of periods of injuries, where it must have taken the fans focus off of him and just focused on the 18 months of consistently great play in a non-injured manner. I just dont want you lot to forget his past contributions as well as his last season of Arsenal and he has done brilliantly overall for you when hes been fit. Anyway personally i hope he joins another club abroad and not another one in the premier league especially in his form.

  9. Emmanuel on said:

    Nice article. In my view, I thought vp mind is no more at emirate. We should get cash on him and let him go to where his dreams lie. If he made one out of eight seasons at arsenal and decided to leave, let him leave. He had forgotten the years we stayed beside him, if we did not endure him who will know him by now. Don’t be feign let fans know your through colour. Are we passionate? Not too long, nasir got to mancity he made such comment. Notwithstand i thank you for the big part you offer in 2011/2012 epl.

  10. sukma on said:


  11. I pretty much agree with everything in that article well done 🙂 However i feel like his past contributions have gone unnoticed like: 2008/09 44 apps 20 goals and 13 assists 2010-2011 33 apps 22 goals 7 assists. Two noticably good seasons and a fantastic season last year, amongst other good moments in the earlier years as well. I know hes been plagued with injuries at Arsenal and it must have taken the fans focus off him those past years and just focused on the 18 onths of consistently great play (being injury free pretty much) Whens hes been fit hes done very well for Arsenal overallhe has scored 132 goals and 63 assists. Which is pretty impressive imo. Hes had more than just that one great season and i hope he will be remembered for more than that. Anyway at his fantastic form i think he should join another club abroad, cause it would be wrong for him to join another pl club at his form.

  12. I just realised my main previous message has come up now so i hope you lot understand my points in a repeated manner lol.

    • I think it’s safe to say you’ve got your point(s) across 🙂

      • Cheers lol. I just wanted people to know that hes had a couple of good seasons as well as the fantastic season he had last year. So many Arsenal fans says that he has had one good season which isnt true and i hope he will be remembered for more than that, if he officially leaves.

      • It’s true, he always showed class when he got a few games together, no question of that. Although his frequent absences hurt Arsenal’s title chances in many a season. A couple more injury-free campaigns and we may not be having this discussion now. Ifs and buts though.

      • Yeah it must have been hard on how many times he got injured. Im just glad someone has finally understood my point and just kept dismissing them with their own narrow minded views. Thank you 🙂

  13. TAIWO BELLO on said:

    All gunners fans, take it easy with your comment on RVP situation, the guy did not say is going, he just said he dosen`t want to sign another contract, with this statement, Arsene wenger and the board can still convince him so sign another contract extension and if his not willing to stay or sign, they should sell him to outside England and used the money for well established striker in the mold of Falcao, Lorente, Ibrahamovic etc, no single player is greater than the club, host of players have left, like Viera, Henry, Flamini Hleb, Pires Reyes, Toure, Fabregas, Nasri Clichy and a host of others, Arsenal still survive, so let`s wait and see the outcome, but Arsenal Board and Arsene Wenger should change their philosophy on Players, Wages, sign on fees, bring in more establish players and stop nurturing youth players, by the time they developed to well establish players, they will go to another Team after nuturing them into stars.

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