by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Rumours, especially those about football transfers, can be very tedious. And so even before Robin van Persie’s 2011/2012 contract ends, sports journalists had already filled up newspaper columns with different angles to the story.
Nothing however bore any semblance to the truth until yesterday. The Dutchman released a statement on his personal website, stating clearly that he will not be renewing his contract which expires next year.
“I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract,” a part of the statement read. “You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.”
Van Persie went on to emphasise that he had been left unimpressed with the club’s direction, after a meeting with Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, shortly before the Euros.
“Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward,” he said.
And so, Arsenal fans, once again, find themselves in a depressingly familiar position – another captain set to leave the club. Not Gooners like me. When once contract talks begin to hug headlines, I’m afraid I switch off. So I have been numb to the drama. I have chosen to be excited by the signing of Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski and possibly the imminent arrival of Rennes midfielder, Yann M’Vila.
Nonetheless, reading through his statement, one could easily become slightly irritated. Your first injury-free and productive season in eight years and you have suddenly become he who must be worshipped and adored?
Yes, go ahead and bore with how Wenger has not won anything in seven years and how Van Persie’s abilities should be rewarded with the Premier League and Champions League trophies.
But what could have happened if the Frenchman had lost patience with the striker, who spent more time on the physios’ table than on the pitch? Would he have developed from an erratic left winger to a fearsome centre forward? Would he have attracted the free spending Manchester City and the rest? Would he even have given up on a career, in which he flattered to deceive before now?
In my opinion, Van Persie can go if he pleases. I’m thankful for the incredible volleys and great memories, but I’m sorry he will not be regarded as a legend that he deserves at the Emirates. What would be worse for him, is that Wenger actually forces him to see out the last year of his contract.
The fans will not forgive him. They will turn on him, just like they did Adebayor. And by the time he will leave in 2013, not only will be on the wrong side of 30, he will also be in the bad books of everyone connected to the club.