It is becoming more and more likely that Robin van Persie will start the new season in a Manchester United shirt after Arsenal accepted a bid from the Red Devils for the Dutchman. My question to you is, simply, who does this deal benefit?
First, let’s look at this from van Persie’s point of view. The Dutchman announced that he would not extend his contract because the administration lacked ambition, but all signs from The Emirates show that Arsene Wenger intends to have a go at the Premier League title this season. Having already made several big signings this summer, surely Arsenal have managed to prove their ambition enough to warrant at least a stay of execution until January from van Persie.
Having decided that this still wasn’t good enough, the 29 year old decided it was time for a change in order to challenge for some silverware. What will this silverware prove, though? Were he to win it with Arsenal, he would go down as a legend at the club, perhaps earning him a statue alongside that of Thierry Henry. If he wins the Premier League with Man Utd he will earn a nice, shiny medal but that is all. A former Arsenal player could never go down as a legend at Old Trafford, no matter what they achieved at the club.
In this instance I point you towards Fernando Torres. He won the Champions League last season with Chelsea, but does anybody really care?
Now let’s see how this looks from Old Trafford. They are signing last year’s Player of the Season at a knock down price, surely that can’t be a bad deal for them…can it? It would appear not but if we dig deeper we discover a currently under-performing player with a doctor’s bill almost as high as his wages.
2011-12 was the first season in living memory that Robin van Persie has managed to stay relatively injury free, and he was undoubtedly the best player in the Premier League, but it is very possible that within weeks of signing for the Red Devils the Dutchman could pick up a season-ending injury (as has happened before). This leaves United with a reported £200,000 a week wage to pay while getting absolutely nothing in return.
Even if van Persie can manage to stay fit, what does this mean for younger players coming through at Old Trafford? Where does Danny Welbeck (who just signed a contract extension) fit into all of this? For that matter, where do Javier Hernandez or newly signed Angelo Henriquez slot in? The signing of van Persie will make it extremely hard for any of these young players to make a mark at Old Trafford and Alex Ferguson may well find himself with a lot of disillusioned players on his hands.
Finally, let’s look at this from Arsenal’s point of view. The Gunners have lost their star striker and talismanic captain and in return they have gained a few extra zeros on the end of their bank balance. You could be forgiven for thinking that Wenger’s side will struggle this year after losing out on yet another of their best players this summer, but I would be forced to disagree with you…and I’m a Liverpool fan!
What Arsenal have actually lost this summer is a player who was not willing to fight for his club but instead chose to take the easy way out. Players like that will not win your club any silverware (as Arsenal have proved on their recent trophy draught).
What the club have gained is the potential to replace the Dutchman with a player who will give his all for the club and battle to earn the right to have his own statue beside Henry’s. If Wenger gets this signing right then along with Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla his signings this summer could well turn Arsenal back into a team in contention for the Premier League.
In my humble opinion, Arsenal have an opportunity to make the sale of van Persie one of the greatest things to happen to their club for many years and I for one hope they take it.
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