Football - Robin van Persie Blow sums up Arsenal's Problem

It was perhaps the worst kept footballing secret of the summer, but Robin van Persie has decided to make it official by publicly announcing his intention not to renew his contract at Arsenal.

Brief hopes were raised among Gunners fans that signings such as Lukas Podolski and Oliver Giroud would persuade the Dutchman that the club means business.

Instead, it seems those players were designed to replace van Persie rather than compliment him and it appears certain the club will now seek to cash on him now, rather than risk losing him on a free next year.

"I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract," the Dutchman wrote on his website.

"Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don't want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward."

One of those aspects is undoubtedly money, both in van Persie’s pocket and in the club’s transfer budget.

The 28-year-old has grown increasingly disillusioned at the club’s perceived lack of ambition, their struggles in important soccer games and their failure to match their rivals in the transfer market.

This is where I do feel some sympathy for the club and their fans. Firstly, in this crazy age of spiralling wages, billionaire owners and hefty losses, the Arsenal board try to run the club properly.

They aim to make a profit, while paying off the debt accrued in building their stadium bit by bit. Boss Arsene Wenger has money to spend, but chooses to recruit young stars with potential and future sell-on value. Their policy should be held out as an example for every club in the Premier League.

Sadly it simply doesn’t work like that. The Premier League elite do not play by normal financial rules; instead huge losses are swallowed up by wealthy owners or generous lenders, with the bulk of the cash going on spiralling wages that are unsustainable in the long-term.

Van Persie’s announcement is the latest in the long line of Arsenal stars who have questioned their ambition – Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri being two – when in fact it is Arsenal management that are keeping their heads while everyone else is losing theirs.

You get the impression a tipping point maybe reached, where the Gunners board may have to take a risk in order to keep in touch with a top three that is threatening to run off into the distance.

But if they are to defy odds betting and earn Premier League success next season, then it would require a dramatic shift in their transfer policy.

Last Updated 27 December 2017
Football: Robin van Persie Blow Sums up Arsenals problem

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