Focus on Robin Van Persie: Will the Dutchman stay at Arsenal this summer or opt for a move away from the Emirates Stadium?
After winning both the PFA player of the year and FWA player of the year awards in the same season, it’s fair to say that Robin van Persie has been instrumental in everything that Arsenal have done over the past campaign.
He has not only become their top goal scorer and target man but also their leader, after he was made captain due to the departure of Cesc Fabregas.
This new role has seen the Dutchman produce his finest football in an Arsenal shirt and, for the first time in many years, he has been able to maintain his fitness; this was always a big question mark over his head.
Despite Robin’s phenomenal form, it has been another trophy-less season for Arsenal and with only one more year left on his contract, there are doubts on whether Robin van Persie will be playing in the red and white of Arsenal next season.
Not many players will have the choices that await RvP this summer, as there will be a host of clubs looking for his signature.
The first club to show real interest in Robin van Persie was Manchester City and they could be forced into making a move for a centre forward if Real Madrid approach their hit man, Sergio Agüero.
The more likely move for Robin would be abroad, either to Spain or Italy, and it was reported that Juventus had already met with van Persie’s representatives to talk over a possible transfer.
There will be interest from Spain’s big guns and Barcelona may push hard to try and secure the Dutchman’s services, as he would give them a legitimate plan B – which was invisible over the two legs against Chelsea in the Champions League semifinals.
A move away from Arsenal could be an attractive proposition in the summer for van Persie. He has one more big-money contract to play for and if he were offered twice the amount of wages elsewhere, then who would blame him for taking it?
Manchester City are the obvious candidates for this kind of swoop, but not only could they offer monstrous wages, they could also guarantee a realistic title challenge and a strong cup run in every competition they are in– something that Arsenal possibly could not.
The other attraction that could lure him away from the Emirates Stadium is the challenge of playing in a different country. Robin has been at Arsenal for eight years now and you could forgive him for wanting to get a bit of sun on his back and try and adapt in a new league.
There is no doubt that he would be a success in any league; because if you can hack it against Premier League defenders, then you can hack it anywhere – and I’m sure that Barca and Real Madrid will be keeping a very close eye on his contract situation as the season comes to a close.
All the talk in the media regarding van Persie would lead you to think that it is inevitable that the Premier League top scorer will be leaving this summer but, in fact, Arsenal holds a very special place in Robin’s heart – and for this reason, it would be very hard for the Dutchman to leave north London this season.
He is the player he is today because of Arsenal’s guidance and confidence in his ability; he even stated in an interview that he was not confident that he could fill the gap that Emmanuel Adebayor left after his departure. Wenger knew that he could and here we are today, in awe of his impact as a centre forward in the best league in the world.
Another side may have even offloaded him due to consistent injury problems and, at one point, his fitness was such a concern that whenever he recovered from a knock, ironic cheers would echo around the Emirates Stadium.
He has repaid Wenger for his faith by producing a season full of prolific scoring and sublime creativity, but does one successful season earn him the right to move away from Arsenal as a legend?
Whatever shirt Arsenal’s number 10 will be wearing on the opening day of next season, one thing is for sure; he is a fantastic talent, but a talent that has taken a while to be unleashed and it is because of this that he owes a huge amount to Arsène Wenger.
There are many reasons why a move away from Arsenal would seem a good idea this summer and he could certainly earn a lot more and mount a more serious title challenge elsewhere. These would be feasible reasons for moving on but, at the same time, I doubt he would enjoy his football as much as he does at present.
He is the main man at Arsenal, the leader, the top goal scorer and the poster boy. This wouldn’t be the case elsewhere and, if Robin van Persie does decide to commit his future to the Gunners, then it wouldn’t take a genius to guess who the future statue would be outside the Emirates Stadium.