Arsenal: Should Wenger keep RVP for one more year or sell now?
Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie delivered the news that all Gooners were dreading on Wednesday afternoon: "I will not be signing a new contract." But should Arsene Wenger sell RVP now to the highest bidder or hold on to his services for one more season like he did with Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas?
Robin Van Persie was Mr Arsenal last year. His goals single-handedly clawed Arsenal into third place and into the Champions League. To illustrate just how important he was to the club, without his goals and assists Arsenal would have finished just above the relegation zone.
The fact that the Arsenal captain has decided his future is away from the Emirates comes as no real surprise. Although everyone with Arsenal in their veins wanted the Dutchman to stay at Arsenal, the fact is that Wenger and the board have shot themselves in the foot yet again. Why didn't they start contract proceedings before his deal ran down to 18 months? Why haven't they showed the Dutchman that they are serious about competing for silverware and winning trophies rather than being more concerned about making the shareholders money? Why haven't they learned anything from the departures of Vieira, Henry, Fabregas and Nasri?
The fact that Arsenal had already made moves to sign Lucas Podolski and the French striker Olivier Giroud indicated that Wenger knew there was a real chance that RVP would decide to leave Arsenal. But should Arsenal cash in on him now or let him go for nothing next season?
The answer seems so obvious. Sell him now and reinvest in the squad. Unfortunately, would Wenger really spend £25 million or so on rebuilding the team or would he tuck it away in the bank to please the board? Also, if you sell RVP, Arsenal could find qualifying for the Champions League next season harder than ever. I know this has been said every year for the past six or seven years, but who will score the amount of goals RVP did? Neither Podolski or Giroud set the world for their country during Euro 2012, and Walcott, who could also move on, is still too inconsistent in front of goal. Gervinho may step in and fill the void having had one year to get used to the pace of the English game, but I can't see him becoming a 30-goal a season man, can you?
RVP is in the prime of his career. One day he wants to look back on a glittering career complete with winners' medals and happy memories. His grandchildren will not be interested in tales of finishing third and going out of every competition every March.
Wenger has a habit of convincing players to give one more year to the cause. Henry and Fabregas both stayed on for one more season. Now normally I don't see the point in this. The players have decided to leave and their heart is not really in it. But in RVP's case I think it's imperative the Gunners try and convince him to see out his contract. Can Wenger really afford to go into the new campaign with two hugely talented marksmen in Podolski and Giroud but who have no Premier League experience to call on? Also if RVP leaves, what is that saying to the likes of Walcott, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain etc?
It wasn't that long ago that Arsenal were winning trophies on a regular basis and winning plaudits for their sensational brand of football. While the style of Arsenal hasn't changed, their luck with silverware has. That's all the fans want. They don't care about being a debt-free club. They want to celebrate their heroes lifting up another trophy. But do they try and end that barren run with or without Van Persie this season?
Unless Wenger is going to go out and buy two top class players in their prime then I see no point in letting RVP go. However, if RVP doesn't want to stay then there's no point in keeping an unhappy player. Is it still a case of In Wenger We Trust?
Calling all Arsenal fans: Should Wenger keep RVP for one more season or cash in on your most prized asset now? What does the future hold for Arsenal? Can the Gunners dig deep with Giroud and Podolski and take the Premier League by storm or do you fear that you may finally drop out of the top four? Is it time for Wenger to go? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.