The 28-year-old Dutch striker, who had one year left on his deal, decided to not sign a new contract with the North London club, and may now possibly be sold during the transfer window. The former Feyenoord standout would score 37 goals in all competitions and help propel Arsenal to third place—and an automatic Champions League slot—for the 2012-13 season.
Van Persie, who would lead tie the Arsenal club record of goals scored with 30, received the prestigious Professional Footballers Association Player Of The Year Award. The man known by Gooners as “RVP” has scored 69 goals in 162 appearances for Arsenal.
With RVP on the way out from the N5, where will he land?
Manchester City has been mentioned as the most likely spot for van Persie, as he would be re-united with former Gunner teammates in Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri. Reports out of England are that van Persie is set to join the newly crowned Premier League champions for £250,000-a-week deal—402,400 U.S. dollars for a five-year deal worth £25 million—$40.24 million dollars.
Another possible—and realistic—landing spot for van Persie may be in Spain with F.C. Barcelona, where he could join another former Arsenal teammate in Cesc Fabregas. A third possibility could see van Persie landing in west London with the European champions, Chelsea., a sight that would make Gooners universally sick.
Gooners should take solace in the fact that while van Persie is a very talented striker, he also has a history of injury. With the exception of this past 2011-12 season, van Persie has played the equivalent of two full seasons. Van Persie would play 38 games in 2011-12, 28 in 2008-09.
RVP would only play in 15 games for Arsenal in 2007-08 and 16 games in the Gunners 2009-10 season.
Other than the 26 matches he would played in the 2004-05 season, RVP has played in an average of 24.25 or fewer matches in five out of his eight seasons in North London. If big-spending clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea, and F.C. Barcelona wish to invest money in such a talented yet–oft-injured player—in van Persie, go right ahead.
The Gunners have shown great shrewdness in signing quality players in Giroud and Podolski in anticipation of van Persie’s decision to not sign a new deal. Arsenal also sent a message to van Persie that no one player is bigger than the club. For all of his accomplishments, van Persie may have overplayed his hand at Arsenal.
To quote the great French general, Napoleon Bonaparte, “never correct your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
Robert D. Cobb is the NBA Network Manager for Rant Media Network, Featured Writer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Featured Columnist for the Cleveland Browns and Arsenal Gunners.
In addition to covering the NBA, I also cover MLB, NFL, NHL and Champions League soccer news, rumors and opinions, please follow me on Twitter at @RobertCobb_76