Today Robin Van Persie released a public statement on his personal website informing the world he will not be renewing his contract. While this is no massive shock, the act of publicly stating his refusal to renew his contract (ie his desire to leave the club) at this point in time, the day after his manager has publicly stated that keeping his is vital is a betrayal on three counts. Firstly, the timing and the phrasing of his statement has made his manager look like an idiot and effectively been a dismissal of the players that have been signed to date (despite the fact that said signings have directly addressed what he described as his primary area of concern at the season’s end). Secondly, it is effectively putting in a transfer request in a way that ensures he still receives his ‘loyalty bonus’, by rendering his position at the club untenable. Thirdly, his advertising of the fact he won’t renew his contract before any bids have been made, ensures the club cannot receive a fair price for him, as he has burnt his bridges, thus directly screwing the club whilst ensuring a bigger payday for himself.
All delivered in ‘An update for the fans’, where he professes his love for the club, its fans and pride at being associated with Arsenal. Trotting out the usual line about winning trophies, may hold water this season, but his fitness record every previous year has been appalling and as the main striker since 2007 has undoubtedly cost the club numerous trophies, none more so than in 2007/08, where he ruled himself out for the second half of the season with a celebration-induced injury. Any other top club would have jettisoned him long before he achieved his extraordinary success of the last 18 months. If he really wanted to avoid burning bridges with the fans, some acknowledgement of this fact, and perhaps just stating that like TH14 he wants a crack at the European Cup before his legs go, and a recognition that Arsenal cannot currently afford to pay him what he could receive on the open market. Football fans on the whole aren’t stupid, and footballers continually insult our intelligence in these situations and wonder why we react badly.
Frankly, unless he back-tracks or we still get good money for selling him overseas, he’s dead to me as an Arsenal Fan. Fabregas was always going to Barca, but even when he agitated for a move, he kept a respectful silence, and made it about returning home rather than effectively attacking his manager and MD. If he goes to Man City for oil millions, or the greater betrayals of Utd or Chelsea, I will be storing up a bus load of invective for him, as will most Arsenal Fans. For all the dislikeable personal qualities of Samir Nasri, he never professed to love the club and was never that loved, and Toure really needed a change of environment. Robin has as recently as a few weeks ago bigged up the club at every opportunity, a club that has nurtured his ability and injury problems to maximise his personal development, and made him club captain, and whilst in that role he has effectively agitated for a move and undermined his club, manager and team-mates in order to maximise personal gain, despite numerous comments from his wife, mother and father in the press suggesting he should stay and pointing out how lucky he has been to be at such an appreciative club.
He should remember, its only half about what you do. The other half is how you leave. And while the extra few million might buy another yacht or holiday home, in the long run no one remembers the mercenaries who sign on for a couple of years at an already winning team.
The statement in full: