Does van Persie deserve criticism for wanting to leave Arsenal?

Robin van Persie, Arsenal striker

Will RVP's departure ruin Arsenal's trophy chances?

With just under three weeks to go until the start of the season, Arsenal yet again find themselves embroiled in a transfer saga that sees them on the verge of losing their best player. Though there has been a lot of criticism of the board’s handling of the situation by aggrieved Arsenal supporters, they have also displayed a deep resentment and even anger at van Persie’s decision to leave.

The decision to come out and publicly state his desire to leave has drawn criticism for putting Arsenal in a difficult position, though van Persie claims it came out of a desire to keep the supporters informed out of respect. Whether this was his true intention or not is impossible to determine, but it is more a question of his handling of the situation, rather than his desire to leave.

Arsenal fans have much to feel annoyed about with van Persie expressing a desire to leave their club, both in terms of losing one of the best players in the world and a feeling of ingratitude from a player who Arsenal have stood by through his various injury problems.

Some Arsenal fans have been quick to deride van Persie as a mercenary in the Samir Nasri mould, though it is difficult to imagine him moving from a club that he clearly has great love and respect for purely for more money. What is more likely, and what van Persie has alluded to, is that he wants to have a realistic chance of winning silverware and feels that Arsenal are not in a position to challenge for major honours. Arsenal supporters have cited the big-money signings of Oliver Giroud and Lukas Podolski this summer as a statement of the club’s intent to beat United, City and Chelsea to titles; however, these two signings alone are unlikely to be enough to overcome the dominant Manchester sides and a resurgent Chelsea side.

What appears to gall Arsenal fans more though, and that which most football fans can sympathise with, is that they feel van Persie is being disrespectful to the club that made him who he is, and that he should repay the club’s faith with a show of loyalty. While there is certainly merit in that argument, the stark reality is that van Persie has perhaps just two years left in his prime and feels that he is unlikely to win trophies at Arsenal. For a player of van Persie’s ability to finish his career with just three major trophies would be a travesty of justice and in the absence of the same affinity for the club that Steven Gerrard has for Liverpool it is unreasonable to say that van Persie should stay at Arsenal as if it were a moral obligation. That is not to say that Arsenal fans should not be aggrieved, but simply that they should appreciate the situation van Persie finds himself in. What’s more, Arsenal have been greatly rewarded for the faith they showed in van Persie and would almost certainly have finished outside the top four the last two seasons were it not for his goals.

The widely reported fact that van Persie’s goals were responsible for winning 27 of Arsenal’s points last season shows just how important he has been to securing Champions League football for the Gunners, without which they would have been unlikely to attract the likes of Podolski and Giroud and could have been facing an irreversible decline into mediocrity that Liverpool have experienced in recent years.

It is important therefore to bear in mind the extent to which van Persie has repaid Arsenal, and the fact that they will probably receive in excess of £25m for a player with only one year left on his contract and who is approaching the twilight of his career. It may hurt Arsenal fans now, but in the end Arsenal will be better off with the transfer fee and the opportunity to invest for the future in a meaningful way.

The 15 ‘Most Outlandish Transfer Rumours’ EVER To Hit The Premier League

Every transfer window, we sit glued to Sky Sports News or pick up a paper at every available opportunity to see who our club have recently been linked with. And every year, the rumours get more and more ridiculous. To see some of the more outlandish ones from recent times, click here:

10 Monumental Sporting Organisational Cock-Ups

Olympic RingsSo the Olympic Games have finally hit London, and how did we start things off? With an incredible spectacle leaving the world in awe? No, we managed to offend the less-than-friendly North Koreans by showing the flag of their bitter neighbours, the South Koreans during the build up to their women’s football match. In response, here are some other Olympic sized logistical cock-ups in sport:

The 15 ‘Most Annoying’ Celebrity Football Supporters

Ever irritated by the prawn sandwich brigade who go to games and never show any passion for their club? Or perhaps the glory supporting school friends who pick Manchester United as their team of choice purely on the amount of trophies they’ve won? Well, these 15 will annoy you even more! Click here to see the 15 most annoying celebrity football fans.

TEN players who pointlessly retired from international duty

Playing for their country should be the pinnacle of any player’s career. Most people would give their right arm to stand and sing the national anthem wearing the colours of their nation, but in recent years, it seems as if national service has become a chore for some. The constant pressure on players, especially England’s, to perform has become a source of much frustration to the professionals and the criticisms they face is often not worth the hassle.

Although some like David Beckham and indeed David James, who said he would never retire from international duty, would always make themselves available for England, more and more players are simply dropping out of the international scene for no particular reason. Here are ten figures who ended their international careers for no apparent reason:

TEN of the Football League's top young talent

We all know the Football League is a hotbed full of young talent that ensures the Premier League’s top scouts spent a lot of their time trawling round wet and windy Tuesday night games played on boggy pitches to spot the next Wayne Rooney. The crème de la crème of this talent is well publicised, indeed players like Jack Butland, Wilfried Zaha or Nathaniel Clyne are already top of the lists of the young players to keep an eye on next season. However, there are some names that might have slipped under your radar or you simply haven’t heard of at all. Here are ten unheralded youngsters to watch out for that could light up the Football League next season: