Arsene Wenger is reportedly not interested in bringing Robin van Persie back to Arsenal, a mindset that should be welcomed by the Emirates faithful.
Despite consistent speculation linking the Manchester United forward with a sensational North London return, it seems his former boss isn't willing to tread over old ground, reported by John Cross of the Mirror:
Arsene Wenger is not interested in taking Robin van Persie back to Arsenal. The Manchester United striker could be on the move this summer and has been heavily linked with a return to the Emirates. But it is understood that the Gunners boss has ruled it out even though agents are trying to push a deal.
While there is little doubt van Persie's goalscoring qualities would improve Arsenal on the pitch, the Dutchman brings too much baggage to make a second tenure worthwhile.
Robin van Persie: Age, Attitude and Atrophy
Van Persie will be 31 years old by the start of next season. Never blessed with explosive pace or incredible agility, his game is defined by effective hold-up play, smart runs toward the box and finishing ability that makes him prolific from an array of situations.
He doesn't have long left at the top level and is entering what is likely to be his final World Cup for the Netherlands. If van Persie truly wishes to leave Old Trafford, United's likely lack of Champions League football is sure to act as a catalyst. This is a player who may feel he hasn't won enough across his career and needs to fill his trophy room now or never.
We saw this realisation play out in reverse when van Persie headed to Manchester after questioning Arsenal's ambition. If reports are true and van Persie wishes to leave after United fail to retain the Premier League trophy—the title RvP played such a key role in winning during his first season—it would underline the feeling of bitterness Arsenal fans felt when he left in 2012.
Now Wenger's team look the more immediately successful prospects, it would be unforgiveable for the manager to welcome van Persie back. Peter Wood, an avid Arsenal fan who writes for the Metro, sums it up perfectly:
Do I want an older, more injury prone, less pure Robin Van Persie at Arsenal? Not a chance. By the time this summer comes around we’ll have £180m to spend on a striker (not all of it), and nothing could reek of 'lacking ambition' more than bringing him back into the fold. The fans will never love him again and it’d be a massive slap in the face.
Should such a move go ahead, heated fan reactions are likely to outweigh any renewed hopes of van Persie lifting the domestic crown in Arsenal's red and white. He didn't wish to remain with the team during a period of difficulty, so he isn't entitled to play the role of hero now things are looking more prosperous.
Van Persie's recent attitude and performances suggest the striker is suffering under selfishness. His criticism of teammates after United's defeat to Olympiakos—per Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star—was uncalled for and certainly didn't help an already difficult situation.
His subsequent displays have lacked enthusiasm now that United's failed destiny is almost set in stone for the season. David Moyes' decision to substitute the misfiring forward proved effective during the 3-0 victory over West Brom, as Danny Welbeck's hard-working, passionate zeal boosted United toward a heavy win.
Welbeck's impact was so noticeable that many corners of the press have suggested he could replace van Persie in the starting line-up against Liverpool. Ian Herbert of The Independent called RvP "self-absorbed" and suggested Moyes' team "looked a more balanced, dangerous side when the Dutchman had gone and Danny Welbeck was on in his stead."
Bit by bit—whether it's his age, attitude or injury problems—van Persie's career seems to be fraying. Wenger can't afford to take a risk on the former Feyenoord youngster, who is more than happy to appear all smiles when his team are performing well.
If he headed back to Arsenal and prospects at the Emirates were to suddenly dip, Wenger would have the same old problem on his hands once more. Except this time, he couldn't offload the player for £24 million.