Robin Van Persie is a name that was on the lips of every Arsenal fan last season.
His goal-scoring account opener against Udinese, the consolation goal in the 8-2 mauling at Old Trafford, the brace at Bolton that made him become a centurion, the brace off the bench against Stoke, the hat-trick at Stamford Bridge, the array of goals in November and Arsenal’s last goal in 2011 against Queens Park Rangers.
The Flying Dutchman ended 2011 on an all-time high, blasting 34 goals in the Premier League alone.
In 2012, he picked up where he left off. Despite a tumultuous January for the club, he slammed in four goals with that notable penalty brace against Aston Villa.
There was still time for a hat-trick against Blackburn, a superb curler against Tottenham, a brace against Liverpool, the chipped penalty against Wolves and a brace against Norwich.
All 37 goals and 15 assists endeared Van Persie into the hearts of Arsenal fans, and the “he scores when he wants” tune reverberated round the Emirates and other football venues.
His efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as he amassed a personal collection of trophies…awards ranging from the PFA Player of the Year to the FWA Player of the Year, as well as Arsenal’s Player of the Season.
This summer, he changed from the Red and White of Arsenal to the Orange of the Netherlands where he endured a woeful campaign with his teammates, crashing out of the first hurdle with no points to show for it.
Shortly after the dust from Euro 2012 had settled, Van Persie hit Arsenal hard by dropping the “bombshell”,
This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.”
As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.
I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.
I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC. Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last 8 years.
As soon as Mr. Gazidis is back from his 2-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.
This statement from Arsenal’s captain caused an uprising amongst the Gunner faithful, and the issue of “loyalty” came up faster than the time it took Usain Bolt to get that 100m world record.
I delved into my Twitter timeline and witnessed Robin Van Persie come under some barrage and vitriol from the same fans that sang his praises last season.
Some wished for him to carry his “Euro 2012″ form into his potential new club, while others wanted him to break a limb or two.
Van Persie only stated that he’s not going to renew his contract and Arsenal has respected that decision, but the forward still has one year to run on his current contract.
However, Arsenal is confident that he will fulfill his commitments to the club.
Should Van Persie decide to seek greener pastures elsewhere, here are three reasons why Arsenal has to move on.