Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has delivered the news that all Gunners fans have been fearing, as he announced that he will not be signing a new deal at the club.
The 28-year-old, who has 12-months left on his current contract, confirmed he had met with manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, revealed that they disagree on the way the club should move forward and stated categorically that he would not be signing an extension.
"I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract," the Dutchman, at the club since 2004, wrote on his website.
The full open letter to the fans is below.
This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.
As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. 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.
I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.
I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC. Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last 8 years. As soon as Mr. Gazidis is back from his 2-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.
Robin van Persie
While this is a gigantic blow, I don't think any realistic Arsenal fan will be too surprised and you may not even blame him. Whether the club decide to cash in or get a final season out of him before he leaves for free remains to be seen, and I won't speculate further on that.
What I will say is that I don't see this as a particularly helpful statement to the club who have been so good to him during the years of injuries suffered, portraying himself as Mary Poppins to the fans while heaping a whole load of unnecessary pressure on Wenger and Gazidi by revealing that "it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.".
However, I'm an outsider looking in and I probably have a very different opinion to the majority of loyal Arsenal fans, so I'm not going to comment further. I'll leave that to our resident Gunner, Neal (who is welcome to add to my post when he's next online) or to any other fans who would like to express their feelings in the comments section below.