Arsenal turn tables on van Persie
Published: 07.08.12 / Written by: David Gold
Robin van Persie seemed to have struck the decisive blow in his seeming battle with Arsenal earlier this summer when announcing that he would not sign a new contract.
The statement he issued publicly blind sided the club and shocked its supporters. The Dutchman had basically ended his time as an Arsenal player there and then.
With Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus all interested in his services, van Persie at least had three options. Which ones did Arsenal have? Yet van Persie, now in the process of engineering a move away, has a dilemma of his own making. Manchester City he is not particularly keen on; for one thing he genuinely cares about what the Arsenal fans think of him and a move to the billionaire run club would ensure he received a tumultuous reception on his return to the Emirates (Stadium, that is, not United Arab, home of City's owners).
Throw into that the number of egos in the dressing room, and likelihood that van Persie would not play regularly, and it is obvious why the Etihad does not appeal to him. Manchester United is a more palatable option for both van Persie and Arsenal fans. At least if he moved to United he could not be accused of leaving for money, it would be clear that it was a move all about trophies. Plus he would probably command a guaranteed starting spot.
But Juventus were his first option. Unbeaten last season they are investing heavily, and with a new stadium, look set to dominate Italian football for the foreseeable future. They are the ideal choice for the Dutchman, and it would ensure he at least retains his reputation and relationship with the Arsenal fans.
How he must have winced as Antonio Conte attempted to agree a plea bargain which would see him serve a three month ban in return for admitting not reporting match fixing whilst in charge of Siena. It is a huge blow for Juventus, as that decision effectively means that Conte is likely to serve a significant time away from the game, if found guilty of his role in the Calcioscommesse affair.
And so now van Persie is going cold on Juventus. In the meanwhile, Arsenal, having already signed Olivier Giroud, are bringing in Santi Cazorla and Nuri Sahin. It is a bold move from Arsene Wenger, determined that van Persie's sale will not weaken the club.
Yet now, who will van Persie move to? Of the teams interested in him, he only seems interested in one at present, possibly a second at a stretch. And that one - Manchester United - will not meet Arsenal's asking price. Unless another team comes in for him, or Conte is found innocent and avoids a ban, van Persie could be forced to concede defeat, and stay at Arsenal for another year.