It must be Van Persie or nothing for Arsenal

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Letting Robin van Persie run down his contract would be the right move by Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.


Recent reports in the media have claimed the Gunners hierarchy have resolved to reject any bid for their captain, even if he refuses to sign a new contract to stay at Emirates Stadium.


Van Persie’s current deal runs out in the summer of 2013 and the club will risk losing him on a free contract should he decline to sign an extension.


This is the right stance from the north London club, as they would stand to lose more by attempting to cash in on the Dutchman during the summer.


Arsenal are having their worst season for a very long time, which is not likely to help the club in their quest to convince the talismanic striker to remain with them beyond next season.


The end to last season brought a similar situation with playmaker Samir Nasri and the club decided to cash in on him when it became clear he would not sign a contract extension.


This was probably the correct decision at the time, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and there will be many who are happy to use it when pointing out that, should Arsenal miss out on the Champions League, the £24million received for Nasri doesn’t make up for the estimated £45million loss from finishing outside the top four.


Admittedly there is no guarantee the presence of the French midfielder would have made a huge difference to the Gunners’ current plight, but there isn’t a soul who could argue that Wenger is not in need of some extra quality.


Questions over Nasri’s sale cannot be suitably transferred to the case of Van Persie though and there are four vital reasons as to why this is – that is the number of years between the two.


At 24, Nasri still has many years ahead of him and his value is automatically higher, so selling him would have jeopardised a sizeable fee and it would be valid to question how influential he had actually been in his years with the club.


Van Persie is currently 28 and will be approaching 30 when his contract expires, so the lack of sell-on value automatically means Arsenal would not be able to demand a substantial fee – certainly not enough to replace him with someone of equal quality.


It is a transitional period for Wenger, who is having to slowly dismantle and repair a squad of promising youngsters who have not been able to live up to the expectations and belief he has put in them over the past few seasons.


All the indications are that he will make significant changes to his squad next year and selling Van Persie will not be a positive message to send out to prospective signings.


Even if they manage to improve next season, the transitional nature of the current time means nobody can predict how successful next season will be although it will likely depend greatly on what happens this term.


Van Persie’s quality and experience will be as invaluable next season and they are in the current campaign and, even if he decides to leave, another year out of him should be a decent platform from which a new look team could be launched.


At the age he is, Robin van Persie could be excused for wanting to play somewhere with serious chances of winning silverware and Arsenal fans would be short-sighted in begrudging him an opportunity to do so.


Robin van Persie’s football is far more valuable to Arsenal than any transfer fee they may get, and the Gunners must consider doing something that seems to be unthinkable in today’s game – having a player last the duration of his contract and thanking him for his services should he decide to leave.

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Robin Van Persie
Premier League
Samir Nasri

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