So we finally had some news about where we are with regards to the club’s contract negotiations for RvP. Van Persie said: “I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.”
Well, that is fine with me, I can live with that. We would all rather hear him say he has agreed to sign a new contract and is committed etc, etc, but at his age and the sort of wages on offer, it is not inconceivable to image him wanting to finish his career somewhere else.
But where was his follow-up sentence that should go like this: “However, of course I will honour my contract with Arsenal and give my all in my last season, and as a captain I will try to lead this fantastic club to a title or a cup”.
Don’t we – the fans, the club, and his fellow players – deserve that after all we have given to him?
Nothing of the sort – instead he said dryly, after some sentimental, hypocritical nonsense about how much he has loved the club over the last eight years: “As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.”
This, in my opinion, can only be explained in one way: he wants out as soon as possible and has actually found a club – but the prospective buyer and Arsenal are either miles apart on what the price should be, or Arsenal has indeed no intention whatsoever to sell him.
Van Persie’s announcement yesterday smells of desperation. It has all the hallmarks of somebody who is anxious to get out and is getting very impatient because nothing is happening, and a deal might fall through or not happen at all. He appears to be trying to force the issue, and is using the fans as a medium of communication to achieve his personal objectives. This will backfire badly on him.
He has used the classical excuse of accusing the club of not having the same ambitions as he has: “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.”
What really gets me is his “that we in many aspects disagree”. Being Dutch myself, I know very well the Dutch obsession with being involved in management decision, a strong need for being heard, for consensus, for being empowered. But disagreeing on many aspects is a ridiculous thing to say. It smacks of somebody who thinks he has become bigger than the club, and who has lost his respect for the man who made him what he is today. It also looks like he is making sure there is no easy way back from this.
The gloves have come off and the negotiations will be getting very tough now – and it comes as no surprise that Arsenal Football Club have responded by playing hard ball: “We have to respect Robin’s decision not to renew his contract. Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfill his commitments to the Club. We are planning with ambition and confidence for next season with Arsenal’s best interests in mind.”
Some will say, he is playing hard ball with Gazidis and Kroenke to force them to buy the super quality players Robin seems to want at our beloved club. Some will even argue that Wenger is in this together with RvP. But I am not having any of that. Even he would know that this is not the way to achieve such a goal.
Van Persie has turned his back towards the club and is simply leaving us in the lurch just when we needed our captain and best player most. And this hurts like hell, and is something this Gooner really did not see coming at all.
Here is a man we have carried for large parts of his eight years at the club, whilst he was nursing one injury after another.
Here is a man around whom we build a team to service him; to make him look like a world beater.
Here is a man for whom the team gave everything, and made him England’s Footballer of the Year.
Here is a man who was made our captain only a season ago.
Here is a man, who says how much he loves the club – that he has become a Gunner For Life.
Here is a man whom Arsène took under his wing and helped develop into a decent, well-rounded human being, and who said today about himself: “I have grown up and became a man during my time at Arsenal FC”.
One more season was all we needed from him.
One more season to help the new strikers to settle in.
One more season to help The Ox, JW, Ramsey and Gervinho establishing themselves properly within the team.
One more season to simply pay back all that the club and the fans have invested in him.
This has now become impossible. The bridges behind him are well and truly burned.
Robin, you were a legend in the making, a near-hero, almost a Man in Full, but nothing of that is left.
Instead you are now a man no more.
R.I.P. to the man you used to be.