News coming out of Spain today is that Arsenal captain and game-saver Robin van Persie wants to leave the club for Barcelona.
The story says what fans have known all along: The Spanish giants want Van Persie because of his recent form and will use his former captain and teammate Cesc Fabregas as bait. The main bait would be Cesc's three trophies while with Barca as compared to the empty case over at Arsenal for the Dutchman.
These stories will continue for the rest of the campaign, especially since neither Arsene Wenger nor Van Persie seem eager to sign the current Gunners captain to an extension within the season.
However, if Wenger fails to retain Van Persie, Arsenal should not retain his services either.
For those who wish to compare Barca's courtship of Cesc and Robin, the main difference was the emotional pull on Cesc. Barca had a special place in his heart—who would not want to win with their childhood team?
Robin van Persie's situation is most similar to Barca's courtship of another current Gunner: Thierry Henry. Henry was a much more successful version of what Van Persie is now. What Henry did, however, was ensure that he left Arsenal in a better place than when he arrived.
Wenger has a responsibility as a manager to make the Emirates a place where Van Persie feels he can succeed and thrive. It is Wenger's responsibility as manager to ensure that Arsenal is not a recruiting base for future Barca talent.
Wenger already lost one captain and another rising star. If he loses one of the best strikers in Arsenal history within the same year, there is no reason for Arsenal to keep a coach who may end their Champions League appearance streak while still failing to win any silverware.
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