It’s fair to say Robin van Persie was largely ostracised by the Arsenal faithful when he made the decision to move to long term rivals Manchester United in the summer of 2012.
He was condemned, harangued and booed wherever possible by the supporters who had worshipped him for a good many years, but in the end it will have made little difference to him. Though based on the last 12 months some may argue that the resolution to make the Old Trafford switch is one Van Persie is currently regretting, none can say that it didn’t give him the end product he coveted most; the Premier League title.
Now call me a cynic, but in my mind there isn’t too much stopping players sitting in the same position that Arsenal’s former captain was who won’t be tempted to follow in his footsteps with regards to seeking pastures new wherein they may enjoy more success. One such player, who coincidentally finds his name splashed over the transfer columns of virtually every big publication this week, is Laurent Koscielny.
The Frenchman has had his critics down the years, but the last two seasons have bore witness to a perfect evidence point when it comes to the argument of foreign players adapting to the English game - it may take time, but talent shows through before too long. Whereas once the 28-year-old may have been considered a weak chink in the Gunners’ armour, he’s now an esteemed centre-half coveted by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.
Rumour has it that his agent has been contacted by more than one top club with regards to a move away, and it’s my personal opinion that he would do well to use Van Persie’s choice to put ambition before loyalty as a useful measuring stick. Given his age it’s safe, if not entirely correct, to assume that Koscielny has four more years playing at the top of the game. If that is in fact the case then surely even the player himself will know that the time to develop his game is at an end; now he must be focusing on securing trophies.
And it’s a sad assessment of the weaknesses of Arsenal’s current team - and more pertinently the strengths of those they are competing with for major honours - that offers the notion that Koscielny won’t be able to do that at the Emirates. If Arsene Wenger’s team weren’t able to perform the feat this year, though admittedly there’s a slim chance they still might, then next term isn’t likely to yield a substantial improvement.
Alternatively there’s the interest from the aforementioned clubs that the France international could, and should, consider. Granted at United he’s unlikely to be taking a step up when it comes to the feasibility of lifting English football’s most sought after prize, but at Chelsea he would do just that. Of course with John Terry steadily starting to fall foul of the slow decay of time Jose Mourinho is rightfully said to be looking for a replacement, and a place in the Blues squad would go some way to promising a concrete title charge.
Arsene Wenger, naturally, would be reluctant to sell, but who says the long-serving Frenchman will even be at the helm come next season? The Gunners’ boss' position of uncertainty is just one more reason for Koscielny to be assessing his own situation with a strong eye on the chances he has of winning the title.
After all, Van Persie’s name may no longer be sung with incredible gusto around the halls of the Emirates, but the fact that he’s won the Premier League will likely be enough to push that little discomfort to the side.