According to a poll on Straight Talking Gooners taken earlier this afternoon/evening, a significant majority of Arsenal fans think that selling Robin van Persie this summer would be the most appropriate course of action. You should all be well aware by now (if you aren’t aware then where have you been for the 5 hours??) that Robin released a statement earlier today via his personal website in which he revealed that he will not be signing a new contract with Arsenal. This leaves the club in a very difficult position, because they have to decide between letting him leave on the cheap now or for free in a year’s time. The big question is whether he intends to see out the remaining year of his contract, or (as it appears) is preparing to manoeuvre a move away the club within the next few weeks.
Given his current contract situation and the fact that he and Wenger cannot seem to reach an agreement about how Arsenal can move forward, selling our captain this summer is most probably the only financially-viable option. If we leave it until January (to wait and see if he miraculously changes his mind) then Robin will be free to negotiate contracts with other clubs. The problem here is that other clubs would be unlikely to pay for a player that they could get for free a few months later. I am under no illusion that Arsenal are in the driving seat for this transfer. Following his statement, RvP’s value has most probably dropped significantly as other clubs now feel that they are in a great bargaining position.
I realise that 750+ Arsenal fans may not be completely representative of Arsenal fans worldwide, but I do think that we can learn a lot from this poll. Of particular interest is that 9% of Arsenal fans remain hopeful that van Persie can still be convinced to sign a new contract; whether these people have any sort of justification for feeling this way or are just completely deluded is anybody’s guess. It is also worth noting that 18% would be willing to let him leave for free in a year. I have to say outright that I feel that these people are wrong. What is the point missing out on a transfer fee in order to keep a player who no longer wants to be at the club? I say that we let him leave, take the cash, and try our best to replace him. However, I cannot put enough focus on the word “replace”. There is no point in cashing-in if the club has no intention to spend the money properly.
Arsenal.com have released a statement regarding van Persie’s situation. The club appear to be hopeful that van Persie will see out his final year at the club. I will have more on that slightly later.