Paul Parker

Arsenal must get rid of Van Persie

Paul Parker

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Following Robin van Persie's revelation that he will not sign a new contract at Arsenal, I don't think the club have any option but to sell their captain immediately.

He's just had a great season but Arsenal need to move on. What is the point in keeping hold of Van Persie when replacements need to be sourced and bedded into the team? Not to mention the fact that Arsenal can make some money on him now rather than losing him for free next summer.

Ultimately you have to put sentiment to one side and admit it is best for all concerned if he leaves. Arsenal can't afford to go through this whole saga again. We've had it with Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas and it's getting boring. It's the same old drama with their captains.

For the sake of the team, Arsenal have to sell Van Persie as soon as possible because they don't want this issue hanging over the squad. Last summer Samir Nasri and Fabregas were only sold towards the end of the window and it left Arsenal scrabbling around for replacements right until the last minute.

As things stand, the Van Persie issue will cloud the club's start to the new season, when instead the discussion should be about their hopes for the coming campaign and the talented new players they have signed. Recruiting Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski was a step forward and there could be more to come, yet we are focused on players who want to leave the club.

He is now a bad egg. Not a bad person, but a player who is going to make things very difficult. If he stays and doesn't perform then the fans will have a go at him. If he does perform, then the fans are going to have a go at the club.

At least Arsenal know where they stand. Now it is down to the club to do what is best for them. They have already signed two forward players so it is not worth their while keeping another who no longer wants to be at the club.

If he stays, every goal he scores will be followed by speculation that he will be leaving in January. Then when 2013 comes around, he will be able to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club and you have a player who will spend the second half of the season trying not to get injured. Arsenal are in a situation where they must get rid of Van Persie now.

They need to cut that umbilical cord and say, 'We can't do this anymore, we have done it too many times'.

The Arsenal board also have to reassess the way they deal with contracts and try to anticipate these problems before they arise. Other clubs at Arsenal's level are not run like this, so why are they allowing key players to run down their deals? You have to look at Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis here. They are failing to tie important players down to long-term contracts. The club's policy is detrimental to their hopes of achieving success on the pitch.

Given the strength of his statement, Van Persie has essentially made his position untenable. He is adamant he is not leaving for the money but the opportunity to win trophies, so his next move is very important indeed.

Arsenal fans will be very disappointed if he goes to Manchester City, and I think a lot of other people will be as well. He has a lot of respect from English football fans and he needs to get his next move right. Can he trust he will play every week at the Etihad Stadium? If he is on the bench, how will he react? Roberto Mancini won't be able to treat him like he has Edin Dzeko.

Will he go to City? I think that's very likely. Perhaps Barcelona or Real Madrid will come in for him, but despite talk of Juventus being interested, I don't think Italy is the right place for him. It is still a very negative league where they play sideways more than they do forward. He needs to go to a club that gives the best opportunity to play and perform, and City have a lot of forwards.

I hope Van Persie and his agent have thought this through carefully.

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