As speculation grows as to whether Arsene Wenger can keep his top Gunner at Emirates Stadium next season, Adam Bate considers the factors involved"If you ask the likes of Robert Pires how he feels, what he feels like, he will say 'I feel like a Gunner' - and whatever happens with me I will always be a Gunner."
Charming words from Robin van Persie. But Arsenal fans will have noticed that Pires doesn’t actually play for Arsenal. He finished his career at Aston Villa after a four-year stay at Villarreal.
So while Van Persie may always be a Gunner, that doesn’t mean he’ll be playing for Arsenal next season. Paddy Power make the Dutch international Even money (2.0) to leave and 8/11 (1.73) to stay.
Arsene Wenger certainly appears to be steeling himself for the contract talks. “I cannot guarantee that it will go well,” said the Arsenal boss. “But I am quite confident.
“I believe Robin is committed to the club. I feel that the club has shown great commitment to him over the years and put great faith in him.”
Note the not-so-subtle attempt to imply the Dutchman owes Arsenal. It certainly makes sense for the London club to appeal to sentiment because the case, in terms of trophies, is clearly stronger elsewhere.
Van Persie would be an excellent option for Real Madrid, while Manchester City would surely relish the opportunity to add another big name to their roster.
If the former Feyenoord man is not prepared to commit the rest of his career to the club, Wenger will also need to consider whether selling the player actually makes sense for Arsenal.
After a rare injury-free season and with just one year remaining on his deal at the Emirates Stadium, the Arsenal boss would have little choice but to seek the best price possible for the Dutchman and the 8/11 (1.73) on offer could look like value.
After all, it is hard to see how he will be better placed to convince the player of the side’s progress between now and January – when he would be free to discuss terms with other clubs if no contract extension is signed.
Perhaps the signing of Lukas Podolski will satisfy Van Persie that help will soon be at hand.
But Wenger will need to use all his powers of persuasion if he is to ensure Podolski is here to aid his star striker and not just to replace him.
The odds for Van Persie not to be an Arsenal player by the end of the summer transfer window are Evens (2.0) with Paddy Power
You can back RVP to still be registered as a Gunner at 8/11 (1.73) with Paddy Power
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on Twitter