Today I am going to attempt to disprove rumours on Twitter which suggest that Robin van Persie was/is on his way to Old Trafford to negotiate terms with Manchester United.
As we reported yesterday, Twitter was full of rumours which suggested that RvP was leaving Arsenal’s training camp in Germany in order to finalise contract terms with United. The Twitter rumours also said that the deal would be worth £220k a week, making him the club’s joint highest earner with Wayne Rooney. As far as I am aware, this news was originally broken in the Spanish press, with both Marca and ESPN Deportes reporting that van Persie could be in Manchester as early as Wednesday evening. However, it is now Friday and if the latest photos on Arsenal.com are anything to go by, our captain is still very much at the club’s pre-season training camp in Germany, warming up for Sunday’s friendly against FC Cologne.
What I couldn’t understand is how Robin could be free to speak to United when, speaking after his side’s pre-season defeat to Barcelona, Sir Alex has made it very clear that Arsenal are refusing to play ball. United and Arsenal are still nowhere near agreeing a fee for the prolific Dutchman. Seeing as I had nothing better to do at 11pm on a Thursday evening, I decided to skim through the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players in order to check the rules on player-club negotiations.
According to Article 18 (Special provisions relating to contracts between professionals and club) paragraph 3, United are free to enter contract negotiations with Robin in January and then sign him on a free next summer. He is in the last year of his contract and can leave Arsenal under a Bosman Free Transfer, something which seems to be all too familiar for Arsenal fans. Other than that, I do not think that the Reds are allowed to contact Robin with contract offers until they have agreed a fee with Arsenal – which they clearly haven’t as yet! Don’t hold me to this; I could be wrong as there were 40-something pages of dense legal material to go through.
Contract offers, however, are unimportant if Arsenal are refusing to sell to a major rival. Robin could be offered £1 million a week starting next month, but he still can’t leave Arsenal if the club don’t want him to. Whether or not the club are willing to let him leave on a free next season is an entirely different issue. Not selling to United would be a show of strength because we have not allowed the player to manoeuvre his way away from the club, but it could also prove to be financially viable. Arguably, it could be worth forgoing the £20m fee from Manchester United if we were to win a major trophy this season thanks to van Persie’s contributions. For example, the £2 million in prize money from the FA Cup seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but the fact that Arsenal would have won a trophy would give us a bit more bargaining power when it comes to future transfers. This is, of course, presuming that he doesn’t sulk and refuse to play (in which case he is being rather pathetic and doesn’t deserve any sort of respect whatsoever).
If anybody has any extra information on this situation then please let me know in the comments section below. I am sure that there must be somebody who knows more about contract negotiations than I do and no doubt others who will want to prove me wrong. I must reiterate that I am not an expert on the subject.
*Yesterday’s article in which Fergie said that Arsenal are refusing to negotiate can be found here. Sir Alex is not ruling out a move for RvP though, and promised that United will persevere.