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Robin Van Persie Has Done Arsenal No Favours by Going Public

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 06:  Robin van Persie of Arsenal looks on dejected at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Arsenal and AC Milan at Emirates Stadium on March 6, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
James DudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2012

Robin van Persie's public declaration of his intention not to sign a new contract has done Arsenal no favours and forces them closer to having to sell the player this summer.

Van Persie's hint that the club does not match his ambition, that wonderful umbrella phrase for all players seeking pastures new, doesn't quite ring true. Arsenal have already signed Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.

That's two international strikers, each costing in excess of £10 million. Does that not qualify as ambition?

It leaves the question of what exactly Van Persie was expecting from Arsenal this summer.

Does he want five or six new signings? It would be unrealistic to suggest Arsenal simply pay Van Persie whatever sum he wants and base their transfer acquisitions on his wishes.

Van Persie's public declaration has put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis. By mentioning them by name, Van Persie has given frustrated fans targets for their wrath.

By boldly stating to the public that he won't agree a new deal because he is at odds with management, Van Persie can be seen as the unfortunate victim of circumstance.

Then there is the small matter of what this statement does to Arsenal's ability to generate a decent fee if they decide to sell this summer.

Who exactly is going to pay top money for a player who has made it clear he will leave next summer? Any interested clubs can bid meagre amounts now, and if Arsenal reject, they can simply wait until January to tempt Van Persie into a free transfer move at the end of the season.

Van Persie should have informed the club of his intentions privately, giving them more leverage to try to convince interested teams that they need to pay significant fees to land him now.

At best yesterday's statement reads like a well-intentioned yet reckless admission of honesty. At worst, it is a carefully worded, calculated PR move, designed to back Arsenal into a corner.

Either way Van Persie has succeeded in creating the perception that he isn't leaving because he wants to, but rather because he has to.

That may be difficult to accept if he is plying his trade in Manchester once the season begins.

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