Quo Vadis, RVP?
Since New Year’s Day 2011 there was no stopping Robin van Persie as he scored 67 goals in 84 games for his club and country. As a consequence, he became Topscorer of the Premier League 2011-12 and was voted as Footballer of the Year by his collegues, the fans and football writers. In such rousing form at 28, believed to be the prime age of a player, he was destined to become the star of Euro 2012. We all know this did not happen. His stumbling antics against Denmark were followed by a dear miss in the opening minutes against Germany and a subdued performance in the final game. His only goal was vintage Van Persie, but too little and too late to turn the second match.
With this premature end of the tournament RVP now has ample time to reflect on his career and its future. As the longest serving foreigner he might be tempted to leave North London and make a fortune elsewhere. Leaving now would help Arsenal to an interesting transfer free or he could stay another season to fulfill his contract and earn a free transfer.
Arsenal are said to have offered him a new three-year deal, worth £ 26 mln. In Lukas Podolski, Arsene Wenger has found him a striking partner, which should convince him that Arsenal will be out to challenge for Premier League and Champions League supremacy. Meanwhile, all the big European topteams are on the prowl to get his signature.
Would it be wise to leave? Looking at his career, Robin has, almost for the first time, played a full season without injuries in a team which is specifically designed to make him the star. Over the next seasons, he could reap the fruits of the coach’s labor if the pairing with Podolski works out like Wenger hopes.
Or he could go to Barcelona or Manchester City to close in on ‘the prizes’. However, is it really fun to win these prizes when you are sitting on the bench for most of the season? Barcelona has Villa and Pedro already, while Lionel Messi may not be that interested in having another high-class striker in front of him after the bad-tempered Zlatan-experiment. If Manchester City take Van Persie, they can field a striker’s XI and it sounds more like a ploy to weaken the opposition then a genuine need to strengthen the squad.
His national team career has learned us that Van Persie is not someone who easily fits in in any line-up. With just one goal at the World Cup 2010, he was the only doubt in a team that raced to the final. Apparently, he is not the kind of player who bangs them from all positions at every place in time. Going to another club may take a while for him to accomodate and find the right position in the team. For the Dutch team it took too long, while you wonder how patient a coach at his next club can be. Therefore, you could suggest that he adds another three years of bliss at the Emirates.