Decent signings prompt Van Persie to “consider staying”
With just over a week before the start of the Premier League season, the situation with want-away Arsenal captain Robin van Persie looks no nearer to reaching a conclusion. Manchester City have ruled themselves out of the bidding and the Dutchman seemingly prefers a move to Manchester United over Juventus, yet Arsenal and Man Utd appear to be streets apart on their valuation of the striker. But with talk emerging that Van Persie might stay at the Emirates after all, the Life’s a Pitch panel discusses what will happen next.
“I think Manchester United are the last man standing and I think he wants to go there,” explains the Daily Telegraph’s Jason Burt. “There was talk of him going to Juventus, obviously Manchester City were interested. I think United is the best possibility. But they’re not going to pay over the odds for him and Arsenal are very clear in their valuation. The problem is him going into the last year of his contract. Do Arsenal really want to start the season without him signing a new deal? That would make me quite uncomfortable if I was on the Arsenal board.”
The Sunday Mirror’s David Walker, however, believes Van Persie is mulling over whether to stay at Arsenal in the long-term, a change of heart prompted by the calibre of Arsène Wenger’s confirmed and potential signings this summer. ”One of the reasons that Robin van Persie is with Arsenal this week and considering staying at Arsenal is the point that they’ve actually bought some decent players, with one or two more [deals] on the go. I think Santi Cazorla coming in is a major signing. They’ve [still] got to look at the defence, they’re looking at Gregory van der Wiel, the Ajax and Holland right-back. Apparently, Van Persie is impressed with that as a potential signing. So all things look good on this.”
But were Van Persie to sign a new contract, especially if his statement to leave was purely to force Arsenal into signing better players, the People’s Tom Hopkinson feels the Dutchman would struggle to win over the fans again. ”I just wonder how far down the line the Van Persie thing has gone. You look back to Wayne Rooney and the problems he had at Man Utd 18 months ago when we all though he might leave. Has Robin van Persie just been playing that? If he has been playing that game, then to convince the Arsenal fans that he still wants to be at the club now is going to be a huge, huge task for him.”
The other option for Van Persie is to play out the remaining year of his contract at Arsenal and leave as a free agent next summer. A risky move, says Tom. ”If Van Persie does go into the last 12 months of his contract and gets a big injury, which he is prone to, who’s going to take him next year?”
Plus there is the issue of his age, adds David. ”He was 29 this week. So in a year’s time, when that contract is up, he’s 30. On the back of last season’s work he’s worth a lot of money and arguably the best striker in the Premier League. But 12 months hence he may not be.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
Follow Life’s A Pitch on Twitter @BTLifesaPitch