But is this news really as disastrous as the Gunners' fans think?
Admittedly, RVP was in scintillating form last season, producing the best football of his career to date. He amassed a personal-best 30 Premier League goals. But his was not the only Arsenal success story to emerge from the previous campaign.
After a calamitous start, including a result that many fans will prefer me not to mention, the Gunners were in a perilous position. Van Persie’s reliability in front of goal ensured the club steered clear of the relegation places, but it wasn’t until the New Year that Arsenal began to mount a serious push for a Champions League spot.
And it was during this push that many of the clubs' other names really started to shine.
The team became a more cohesive unit, performances improved and they managed to put together an impressive seven-game winning streak that saw the Gunners pull back a 12-point deficit to move clear of local rivals Tottenham in third place.
Goals were now more evenly spread throughout the team: Thierry Henry, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta all scored vital winning goals against Sunderland, Everton and Manchester City, respectively. The reliance on van Persie was vastly diminished.
With new faces like Arteta beginning to settle in and seasoned veterans such as Tomas Rosicky returning to their best form, Arsenal had success in the second half of the season because of team effort; it was a great learning experience for all of the players involved.
Providing Rosicky and others can maintain such a level of performance, the blow of losing van Persie will be softened considerably.
But it's not just the existing players who contribute to Arsenal's improvement as a team. Arsene Wenger’s recent activity in the transfer market has further augmented the current playing squad.
Aside from last summer’s late flurry of panic buys, such exorbitance had been previously unheard of throughout the Frenchman’s reign. Wenger’s uncharacteristic shopping spree has seen the arrivals of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla.
The trio have over 150 international caps between them, marking something of a departure from Wenger’s usual tactic of signing young up-and-coming talents. Such experience, firepower, and creative nous will more than atone for the loss of a certain deserting Dutchman.
There is also the small matter of the captaincy to be addressed. However, I personally feel that Vermaelen has always been a more suitable candidate than RVP, and his recent appointment as skipper is yet another wise choice from the manager. Mikel Arteta also possesses the credentials and experience to do a sterling job in his new role as vice-captain.
Another factor to consider, of course, is money, and the fact that his transfer yields an incredible financial gain for the club. Having signed for less than £3,000,000 in 2004, Arsenal have made yet another massive profit on a player, continuing their admirable, and fairly unique, tradition of balancing success with financial stability.
From this point of view, the transfer certainly makes sense. Van Persie is remarkably susceptible to injury, and at 29, he may not have too many years left in him. Such evidence suggests that the club were correct in their decision to cash in on him now, rather than allow him to leave for nothing upon the expiry of his contract next summer.
Despite these advantages, his departure does indeed leave a gap in the first XI. But the squad has enough quality to ensure that such a void is appropriately replaced. Furthermore, does nobody remember the consequences of Henry’s seemingly catastrophic exit in 2007?
The players began to operate as more of a team, enabling new stars such as Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor to step up to the plate and flourish in the spotlight.
If selling van Persie results in a similar situation, then the team that improved so much last year could reach even greater heights this time around. Barring any further sales, such as that of Alex Song, Arsenal are fully prepared for the upcoming season and have more than enough quality to remain a competitive force.
As far as I'm concerned, selling van Persie makes sense and it was the correct decision from the Arsenal hierarchy, given the circumstances.
But what do you think? Comment below with your thoughts and opinions on this matter.
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