News that Arsenal have received several bids for star striker Robin Van Persie is hardly a surprise.
The Dutch international, who scored 37 goals in all competitions for the Gunners last season, has just a year left on his contract at the Emirates Stadium, and is stalling over the possibility of a new deal.
That has left the door open for rival clubs to make offers, with Manchester City and Juventus speculated to be the high-profile suitors. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has also been linked.
Despite a statement from the player revealing he was ready to leave the club a fortnight ago, Arsenal remained hopeful that they can convince Van Persie to remain in north London.
A five-year, £130,000-a-week offer has been placed on the table, and it’s unlikely that the Gunners are going to offer more than this record deal.
A clear indication should come our way in the next 48 hours, with Arsenal set to fly out to Asia for their pre-season tour on Saturday. If he’s on the plane, he’ll almost certainly be staying.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have signed a new deal, however, and despite their being just 12-months left on his contract, Arsenal could let the player run-down his contract rather than accept an offer they don’t want in the coming months.
Figures in the region of £20 million have been reported when discussing how much Wenger might be willing to accept for the former Feyenoord starlet, and the toughest question to answer is if that’s value for money.
Having sold Samir Nasri, a player in the same situation at the Emirates 12 months ago, for £24 million, it’s clear that the Gunners will only accept top dollar for their players irrespective of the situation.
Only a month away from 29, Van Persie’s age is a factor clubs will be taking into account, as well as an injury track record that had, before last season, impacted much of his time with Arsenal.
Do those factors make £20 million a respectable figure? That’s a difficult decision that ultimately Wenger will have to make, and keeping hold of him for another year wouldn’t be the worst decision the club have ever made.
Issues to address would be whether Van Persie keeps the captaincy, despite his desire to leave the club. The logical step would be to take it away from the Holland star, and give it to either Thomas Vermaelen or Jack Wilshere.
Then there is the reaction from the fans to consider. Van Persie’s statement suggesting he wanted to leave was met with negativity from the faithful Gooners, and much like Nasri he could expect boos to come his way at the start of the season.
A few goals could quickly make the fans forget, however, and if Van Persie proved to be the difference between reaching the Champions League and not next season, then it would be money well saved by not selling their star striker.
With £24 million already splashed on Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, the Gunners have certainly bolstered their attacking line for life with or without ‘RVP’, and the frustrating thing for fans of the club will be that they might never seen this dangerous front three working together as an attacking unit.
It’s a trio of players that screams goals. Whether it’s enough to get the club back into title contention, only time will tell, but at this moment in time the squad looks much stronger than the one that finished third last season.
Losing Van Persie would seriously detract from that, which is exactly why keeping the player – and then potentially losing him for nothing at the end of the Premier League season – is the right thing to do.
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