Arsenal

Robin Van Persie Shuns Arsenal: What This Means for Arsene Wenger's Future

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger instructs his team during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium on May 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Nathan JudahCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2012

It's not been a good week for Arsenal Football Club—and the season doesn't start for another month!

While it remains uncertain whether Robin van Persie will leave now or see out his contract, he will no longer be a Gunner heading into 2013/14. The loss of a true icon will be hard to replace but the future of Arsene Wenger could now be the biggest problem of all.

In my opinion Wenger is one of the greatest managers not just in the EPL but world football itself. He has had countless opportunities to manage elsewhere but his loyalty to Arsenal remained refreshingly strong.

Many people's favourite second team are the Gunners—their style, tactics and investment in youth are very much out of the FC Barcelona mould.

Their refusal to pay over the market value for players is admired from afar as they continue to run a successful business.

However their strength is also their weakness and a failure to compete financially with the top clubs have already resulted in the departures of Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy—but the loss of van Persie will be a bitter pill for Wenger to swallow.

The Dutch striker was probably the last chance for fans to see a Champions League or EPL title in the next five years. That's not to say it's totally out of the question, but it's going to be extremely difficult.

New signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud will take time to settle while the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh aren't going to give defences too many sleepless nights.

For the first time in 14 years, Wenger faces not having an Arsenal icon to build the team around. Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry have all come and gone under the Wenger era—van Persie is the last.

So does Wenger continue to buy into the evolution theory? The work in progress? The bright future?

My thoughts are that van Persie's imminent departure will be a watershed moment for Wenger.

At 62 years old, he's won everything in the EPL except that elusive Champions League.

There would be many suitors for Wenger and if this season is to be his last, there could be plenty of opportunities that would be hard to refuse.

With Laurent Blanc no longer the national manager, the France job will be an obvious favourite.

Tito Vilanova's first season with Barcelona may be his last should the Catalans fail to compete domestically and in Europe. Wenger could well be in the running there, whilst there is always speculation surrounding Jose Mourinho despite signing a new contract with Real Madrid.

Might even Sir Alex stepping down result in a call from Lancashire? Never say never!

Although half of north London are in mourning, the biggest departure could still be yet to come. 

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