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Arsenal: After Cesc Fabregas Broke My Heart, Robin Van Persie Has Stamped On The Remains

by Sam Drew
5 July 2012 45 Comments

With his brutal statement criticising Wenger and stating his desire to leave, Robin van Persie has burnt bridges. Here's why he might regret it, and has let many people down...

Robin van Persie Arsenal

As I sit here writing, tears dropping down onto my keyboard (joking of course, I’m now emotionally numbed by the van Persie bombshell), it strikes me that when writing about the Robin van Persie situation, it’s impossible to do so without taking into account my love for the club, and what was my immense affection for the player. So instead of a thoughtful, analytical and logical article from my encephalon (thank you thesaurus), I’m going to let my heart do the talking.

Robin van Persie has been adored by Arsenal fans, worshipped as not just a hero, but the hero in this team. He was made captain by Arsène Wenger, the man who transformed him from a truant winger into one of the most feared strikers in the world; the winner of the Premier League Golden Boot, not to mention the various Player of the Year accolades he picked up recently.

I sang myself hoarse at the Emirates Stadium in the last few years singing van Persie’s praises. He replaced Cesc Fabregas as the target of my player-specific affections – Fabregas was my first proper hero, as I was slightly too young for Bergkamp, Henry et al, and his move to Barcelona was heart-breaking. And now van Persie turns his back on us too, as if the club hasn’t taken enough damage in the last few summers.

8 years he has spent in North London. Dennis Bergkamp was his hero, and he saw how much Arsenal fans loved and still love the non-flying Dutchman. It seemed as if van Persie would follow in his footsteps; he wore the number 10 shirt with pride, and soon was donning the captain’s armband.

There would be nothing more satisfying, surely, for van Persie than to stay at Arsenal, help the Gunners grow and win a title, overhauling moneybags such as Chelsea and Manchester City.

Dennis Bergkamp famously said this: “I really like Arsenal. But you, do you really like Arsenal? Or just with trophies?” – it seems as if for van Persie, trophies come before anything else.

The Dutch striker has almost irreparably burnt his bridges at Arsenal. His entire 8 year career with the Gunners, full of spectacular goals and warm memories, has been tarnished. As Matt Law said for the Sunday Mirror, he’s tarnished his legacy. But is it really worth it?

Nowhere else will he be as loved by the fans as here. 8 years of hard work and he’s willing to throw that away because to him, trophies and nothing else define careers. But take Aleksandr Hleb – at Arsenal, he was a vital part of the team, appreciated by fans. He left for Barcelona in search of silverware, and although he found what he was looking for, it can’t have been too satisfying – he was a bit-part player, nowhere near as prominent as at Arsenal, and you imagine if he hadn’t been there, Barcelona would still have won the trophies they did.

While trophies seem like the end to justify all means to some, surely the satisfaction comes in the way you do it? There would be nothing more satisfying, surely, for van Persie than to stay at Arsenal, help the Gunners grow and win a title, overhauling moneybags such as Chelsea and Manchester City.

Surely a career defined by a legacy, pride and loyalty, and ever-lasting respect and affection, is more gratifying than one defined by a tale of giving up when it got too hard?

Instead, it seems like van Persie is going to take the easy way out, and jump on the bandwagon of a team who would probably win something without him. You could argue that the satisfaction is in breaking into the team, but it would surely feel hollow winning the Premier League with Manchester City.

Van Persie must know from the immediate reactions of almost everyone that he has basically severed his bond with the majority of Arsenal fans. He could have gone down in history as an Arsenal legend, with a statue outside the Emirates Stadium. But he’s thrown it all away.

Surely a career defined by a legacy, pride and loyalty, and ever-lasting respect and affection, is more gratifying than one defined by a tale of giving up when it got too hard and jumping ship, no matter how many trophies won afterwards?

He claimed he would “always be a Gunner” – exactly what Thierry Henry said upon leaving, which leaves yet more bitterness in the mouths of Arsenal fans – yet he has just delivered the ultimate stab in the back to the club. As captain and talisman of this team, he’s expected to set the example for players, to be Mr Dependable; not leave when the going gets a bit too tough. Initial fears that he was not ready for the responsibility of the captaincy had been at first dismissed after he united the team, but now it seems as if those who questioned the appointment were right all along.

Not only have the fans been unflinchingly loyal to van Persie, but Arsène Wenger made him what he is. Van Persie owes a huge debt to Wenger, yet is deserting him when he needs him most.

Arsenal fans have had some torrid summers, and it seemed like this might be different – van Persie wasn’t like Nasri or Adebayor, he would stay right? Then we’d be able to strengthen around him, and improve on last season. In one fell swoop, he’s just completely crushed the optimism surrounding the club; the default gloom replacing the unfamiliar positivity.

A word too for Arsène Wenger. Not only have the fans been unflinchingly loyal to van Persie, but Arsène Wenger made him what he is. He stood by him during his injury problems, and his run-in with the police. Van Persie owes a huge debt to Wenger, yet is deserting him when he needs him most.

It’s all a little too familiar for Arsenal fans, always on the verge of something but being let down by impatient, greedy players who think the grass is always greener. Once again a team will have to be rebuilt from the rubble left by players throwing their toys out of the pram.

Champions League qualification is essential for the long-term future of the club, and if we miss out because a new-look team doesn’t hit the ground running, there could be even bigger problems on the horizon.

It’s an almost impossible situation now – Arsenal had to put together an almost all-new team in order to cope with the loss of Cesc Fabregas, and van Persie is as important as Fabregas was. That’s the problem with having a team built around one player. There’s no ready-made replacement, already integrated, adapted and settled into the team, to step into the hole left, as with when Henry left for example.

Arsenal will face another transition if they sell van Persie – transitions during a season can be disastrous as we found out last season, from the 8-2 at Old Trafford to the disastrous 4-3 loss to Blackburn. We were left behind after that poor start, as players adapted and the team learned to cope without Fabregas and Nasri, and the same could happen again without van Persie. The club survived, qualifying for the Champions League, but only just. Champions League qualification is essential for the long-term future of the club, and if we miss out because a new-look team doesn’t hit the ground running, there could be even bigger problems on the horizon.

On the other hand, many fans will be opposed to van Persie staying – as mentioned earlier, he’s torched his relationship with the supporters, who will take a huge deal of winning over. A massive U-turn would be required for van Persie to lead the line in the final year of his contract.

Whatever way you look at it, van Persie has put Arsenal in a horrible situation – the classic ‘rock and a hard place’ scenario. Arsène Wenger and the fans certainly deserve better. But who cares when you can win trophies? After all, winning is everything, right?

Other recent Arsenal stories:

Arsenal: Why Emmanuel Frimpong Will Lose Out To Francis Coquelin

Why Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Will Become A Centre Midfielder

Tottenham vs Arsenal Quiz: Do You Know Your North London Derby?

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Danny 3:02 pm, 5-Jul-2012

You were too young for Henry? How old are you, ten?

naked goon 3:11 pm, 5-Jul-2012

well he sure ain't captain material. I am sure that will be noted by his new employers.if he'd been able to contribute in seasons past,half as much as this last season, he may have had an EPL and a CL winners medal in his pocket.easy to forget those small details though

habtamu 3:12 pm, 5-Jul-2012

Let him go to be honest he served us only one year that is . The rest we were serving him with all his countless injuries. May our doctors will be free

Sam Drew 3:19 pm, 5-Jul-2012

I'm 16 Danny. I really liked Henry but I grew up with Fabregas, so I have more of a genuine connection.

Matt 3:30 pm, 5-Jul-2012

Van Persie is doing what is best for his career, he is too good for arsenal he needs to play somewhere to be part of a team, not be the team like he is at arsenal.

ALEX 3:30 pm, 5-Jul-2012

There comes a time when the interest of the club is more important than personlal interests.Do you think Man City will be patient enough for 7 years for RVP to play in the 8th year? If yes let Him go there.

ALEX 3:34 pm, 5-Jul-2012

There comes a time when the interest of the club is more important than personal interests.Do you think Man City will be patient enough for 7 years for RVP to play in the 8th year? If yes let Him go there.

25 3:37 pm, 5-Jul-2012

Please spare us the histrionics. Maybe if Arsenal fans were capable of going a month or two without falling at the feet of a new 'god', you'd be able to spend your summers doing something other than crying into the spunk-sodden shirts of fallen 'legends' like Fabregas and Van Persie. Despite what your marketing department may tell you, you're not entitled to have an all-time hero leading your team out every week - save the adulation for someone who has actually earned it. How can you laud his '8-years of hard work' and in the same breath decry the man for being 'impatient'? Believe it or not, Arsenal aren't special in any way, shape or form. You don't have some magical bond with your players, they don't care for you more than any other player at any other team, and you don't have a monopoly on being shat on by players, so turn it in. If this is how you react to a player leaving, god help you when you start going out with girls...

Bob 4:51 pm, 5-Jul-2012

You know what, fuck him, go on now go, walk out the door, don't turn around now cause you're..... After last summer he knows the damage that an unsettled star has on the team. So I say 'you wanna go, go' good luck, thanks for the goals and all your efforts but off you go. There is new blood on the cards, new blood already signed, Arsenal, my club for some 40 years, will go on without you, there has been better before you and there will be better after you, you were a great servant to the club but thats all you were a servant and your services are no longer required.

ajmills 5:51 pm, 5-Jul-2012

RVP is a traitor. Arsenal stood by him when he was injured. He has one good season after struggling for seven years and he suddenly thinks that he is Messi. A one season wonder! Sell him and let him rot on the Man City bench with Nasri

julius tandui 6:05 pm, 5-Jul-2012

football is a collective game maybe instead of crying for RVP to stay we should regroup and let other players share his goals.he wont be a legend for us am sure if greed wasnt his motivation he would have borrowed a leave fro HLEB or FLAMINI.

Shitbean 6:06 pm, 5-Jul-2012


DanM 6:55 pm, 5-Jul-2012

It is all about trying to make the right move, at the right time. You say-it would be worth it to overhaul the money bags. They won't-they are so far off of the two Manchester teams, that it is unlikely to happen in RVP's career span. He wants no doubt to finish his career, and have won things.Most great players at teams not in real contention would want the same. Before any response of but what about Matt Le Tissier....... I will say if Chelsea tried to sign him, he would have signed for them. Southampton suited him being a ferry hop to Guernsey(which is probably 30/35 mins at most) Back to RVP, i would hardly call it fair play on his side, but if Arsenal fans look deep they know why he has left. It has absolutely nothing to do with money. He wanted confirmation of big name signings. He was told there will be none. Podolski and Giroud were brought in to replace,not support RVP.Thing is with Van Persie is this,Arsenal are not his boyhood team,he didn't grow up wanting to play for Arsenal,so he has no real tying loyalty to them. He has said he will run his contract out if need be, therefore fulfilling the contract he signed in good faith.

Notlob 7:03 pm, 5-Jul-2012

25 you're right. He stayed 8 bloody years and hardly won anything what more do you want. Fair enough he had injuries but he wants to win trophies and yes, winning is everything. And you shouldn't pin your hopes all on one player then and then cry about it because he wants to leave and win trophies.

Notlob 7:10 pm, 5-Jul-2012

Ajmills I wouldn't call him a one season wonder. He's always scored goals when he's been fit. Just unlucky with injuries.

ppp 7:23 pm, 5-Jul-2012

There are lots of c&nts like the contribuotr "25" a few posts up. They love to wallow in other fans misfortune and tell us all we don't deserve to be this or that - we're not special and our clubs a joke. You aren't impressing anyone c&nt. You're just displaying your c*ntishness to the world. How does it feel?

Rodger 7:29 pm, 5-Jul-2012

if a players feels he is bigger than the arsenal pond, he should leave. RVP is not after loyalty, not even trophies, he is after money. Money-city is there waiting for him. we just need to get used to this kind of transfer time. life goes on

ppp 7:30 pm, 5-Jul-2012

25 and Notlob have been listed. Good luck to both of you! There is nothing I can do to change this incidently. It takes 10 years. A second listing will cause problems I'm afraid.

myleftboot 7:46 pm, 5-Jul-2012

Ha ha ha. Whiny chicken Guiana always make me larf

myleftboot 7:47 pm, 5-Jul-2012

Guiana is in my phone but bhuna isn't?

OzGoonerGuy 12:53 am, 6-Jul-2012

I think Podolski and giroud, along with our other front 3 options will adequately compensate for RVPs exit. My concern is in midfield. Everyone talks of the impact of losing Cesc and Nasri together but we also lost Wilshere at the same time. If we had Jack available last year there would have been a big difference. Heading into this season, we have plenty of options up-front, but with Jack and Rosicky currently injured, we will have a heavy and risky reliance on Arteta. If anything happens to song, then I'm comfortable turning to Frimpong, Coquelin and even Rambo as backup. But after Arteta, then who? Don't mention Diaby, I don't even see how he can fit in. Arshavin??? God forbid.

Matt 12:54 am, 6-Jul-2012

If arsenal had other good players, van persie would not be singled out. The reasons arsenal fans are so pissy is because they have no players who are as good as him and they know he is the only reason they finidhed in the top half of the table

Law 6:25 am, 6-Jul-2012

He claimed he would “always be a Gunner”. After your statement yesterday, to us Gooners, you're nothing but a *****

Lee 9:08 am, 6-Jul-2012

Instead of blaming your best players for leaving, how about you blame your board for not spending the funds to create a team that makes these players want to stay. You'll be a fan of Arsenal your whole life, these guys have 10 years at the top of their game(if they're lucky) who can blame them for wanting to win something.

Lope 9:27 am, 6-Jul-2012

If I were an Arsenal fan I would be gutted at RVP leaving, but you can't really blame him. They arent really looking to build a team, just replace bits of it as players fall away.

Sam Drew 10:40 am, 6-Jul-2012

We don't really have a chance to build a team because so many of our key players are looking to leave. It just seems like impatience on most of their behalves. Some have left way too early and we haven't been able to replace them with quality straight away. Then once those replacements are ready, they decide they're too big for the club or whatever, and they leave too. It's a cycle.

Lope 12:27 pm, 6-Jul-2012

Unfortunately modern footballers are impatient and will only really react to a great display of financial ambition. Look at how many players who went to city are quoted as saying "If you look at how much money they're investing in the squad" as justification of their move.

Herp Derpington 12:31 pm, 6-Jul-2012

he put in one good shift now he's too big for the club - oh well, he'll be someone else's half season physio problem soon enough

It's Grim Oop North 12:34 pm, 6-Jul-2012

As a Southampton fan I'm really pleased you Gooners are finding out what it's like to be a feeder club to a team who can't develop their own talent. if it wasn't for your moneybags big city club, the Saints would have been back in the Prem years ago, so you're to blame for a lot of the Evils in football, including the lack of young English talent. As far as I'm concerned, I hope City buy Wiltshire and the Ox next, and you get a taste of the lower divisions. Then we'll see how much love you throw around, like a bunch of teenage girls, you'll be onto the next glory club I expect. You make me puke.

nithin 12:42 pm, 6-Jul-2012

sam, i can understand ur point of has become a familiar scenario every summer.according to his statement everything will be final only after 2 weeks when gazidis comes back frm holidays..then why the hell did he have to release a statement feels like someone kept a hand on ur chest and ripped your heart out. It will be really sad if he proves himself to be in the same breed of nasri,adebayor,flamini..etc.

goonerboy 12:43 pm, 6-Jul-2012

Matt get the f*ck out of this website you c*nt bag you and your mum are nothing but smelly hobos

Bob 1:00 pm, 6-Jul-2012

@ It's Grim Oop North - Slight difference tho, Southampton are the feeder club for the likes of Pompey! Can you imagine, not being as good as Pompey, I mean, seriously thats so funny I just messed my pants.

It's Grim Oop North 1:19 pm, 6-Jul-2012

Bob, I think you messed your pants for reasons other than humour! Ha ha ha ha ooooooooer - see what you mean.

Sgt Pilko 7:37 am, 7-Jul-2012

I can't understand why so many fans are aiming their disappointment and anger at RVP... Ivan Gazidis and the Arsenal board are the real villains of the this piece... RVP has 3-4 years left at the top to try and win a few medals and Arsenal are content to play for the 4th spot right now... As a fan i loved watching him tear apart defences last year, but realistically it was a one off... before that he was Mr Glass, and chances are he's gonna spend half of next season on the treatment table... I say thanks for the goals, good luck & let's all just move on... I'm not optimistic about Arsenals chances next season, but it's our midfield that really concerns me not a lack of RVP up front...

Laugh 11:38 am, 7-Jul-2012

Keep crying gooners. Your agony nourishes us :D

julius tandui 1:25 pm, 7-Jul-2012

@laugh there is no agony we will move on without RVP let Arsene just buy Lewandowsky and RVP will be history.ask yourself if he gets injured like Wilshere how can he hwlp any team for that matter?

mike 1:55 pm, 7-Jul-2012

i dont see arsenal as a feeder club, wenger said it all last season, it's better two end up in 4th spot than win the fa cup or the league cup or what ever that's called these days, than spend money. and the arsenal board must agree with that , because no cup's in eight years seem's to prove that point, some players at the end of there playing days like to look back on what they have won, as rvp won anything at arsenal, so he looks for a club who on paper have a chance of silverwhere, and if it is city ,then yes a huge paypacket as well.

It's Grim Oop North 1:59 pm, 7-Jul-2012

regarding this agony business, may I respectfully draw your attention to this article in sabotage times - "Arsenal: After Cesc Fabregas Broke My Heart, Robin Van Persie Has Stamped On The Remains" Oh, wait a minute, that would be this article, sorry for stating the blindingly obvious, and opening up those sore wounds etc.. NOT :)

Kabir "Man Utd" Chohan 5:35 am, 8-Jul-2012

Word of advice, MOVE ON. If he wants more money and thinks that his legacy lies in getting trophies than let him go. Why would you want a captain who doesn't breathe and love Arsenal? When Ronaldo left Man Utd it was less of a shock because of the circumstances, but difference is we moved on and the very next season we were proud to be second place after losing the world's best player. Arsenal's situation is more unique because of the trophy drought, but it'll be interesting to see if they actually collapse or come back with some fight without Van Persie.

GBerg 11:16 am, 8-Jul-2012

They leave you because you are dull! And have no prospect of being anything else under Wengers command. Dull, dull....DULL!

Rowan 7:36 pm, 9-Jul-2012

Oh give him a break. Club Arsenal may not be cash rich but it is still a business. We as fans sure have emotional attachment to our clubs but unless the owner has grown in the same neighbourhood as the club or has cherished and followed it as fondly as we fans do, it's a business to be made profit off of. RVP had one hugely successful breakthrough season because he remained injury free. His quality was never in doubt. He's 29 this year, if he gets injured one more time his career's more or less over. If he feels he must make money before that happens then he is merely conducting business, just like most club owners. Sure he could have been Arsenal's anchor this season, but if he doesn't want that responsibility, and feels he can win trophies elsewhere, then it is his decision to make. The only problem I have is the way he and his agent have handles his situation. Now Arsene wouldn't want a dissenting player on his hands and other clubs would feel they can snap up the Dutchman for a bargain Transfer fee. That wasn't the right thing to do. Well, then again, aspiring your club's timeless legend has become old-fashioned, i suppose.

Andy B 8:13 pm, 20-Jul-2012

16? stone the crows, well written son.

julius tandui 8:58 am, 21-Jul-2012

RVP is no Angel or saviour my problem is with Arsenal replaement they are not keen on identifying the young,talented and experience player.let RVP go and buy is collective we will be contenders without RVP who is in his last years of playing at the highest level

Alejandro 4:42 am, 25-Jul-2012

Robin van Persie is too good to play for the Arsenal, he deserves a REAL career with a team that has some desire to win a trophy. A slapstick team of bargains is gonna give him nothing in such a competitive league, even with a manager like Wenger.

julius tandui 6:56 pm, 25-Jul-2012

Alejandro even Barcellona with all the talented world class players with fantastic type of soccer couldnt even be in the final s of the champions league let alone loosing the spanish la-liga so by saying RVP is too good yet he couldnt even win any 1st round game in the Euros is player is larger than the club if anything RVP should be gratefull for being given a chance by Arsenal to shine some playres complain of being on the is collective.let him go for big money Mancity and be ready to be on the bench.ask Tevez!

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