Robin Van Persie has been linked with various moves away from Arsenal since he became their talisman in 2011, with many people believing the lack of trophies at the Emirates stadium would force him to move on, as Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri did.
Now, in the wake of their embarrassing defeat in Milan, Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic has urged to his Dutch counterpart to consider a move away from Arsenal, the Daily Mail reports.
Van Persie has scored 28 goals in 33 games this season and has single-handedly won points at times for Arsenal this season.
With Arsenal looking likely to get knocked out of this season’s Champions League and being involved in a tough fight to get into next season’s competition, no-one could blame Van Persie for leaving.
The Dutchman will be 29 in the summer and has become a complete striker in the last couple of years. There will be no shortage of suitors for him, but here are the three most likely destinations, in my opinion, if he is to move.
If he is to stay in the Premier League, then you would imagine that Manchester City would be his most likely destination. The path from the Emirates to the Etihad Stadium is a well-trodden one and having his friends Nasri and Gael Clichy with him at City might be an attractive option for Van Persie, not to mention the likely £150,000+ wages that he can command these days.
City are still favourites for the Premier League this season and will probably do better in the Champions League next time out. Adding Van Persie to their side may give them that extra edge in Europe that Edin Dzeko seems unable to provide, and Mario Balotelli doesn’t want to provide.
I’m not convinced that Van Persie will leave the Emirates at the end of this season, and if he does, I think he would have too much respect for Arsenal and his manager Arsene Wenger to stay in England – a move abroad would be more likely.
But who is there to take him abroad?
Barcelona could be a possible destination. He has performed well against them in the past and, of course, another of his good friends, Fabregas recently made the same switch. The only problem would be that Van Persie prefers to play as a main striker, and in Barca’s system, with Lionel Messi in the ‘false 9’ position, there would only be space as a winger.
With Barcelona’s fluidity though, I doubt this would be a major problem and if a move to Spain is to materialise, then I think that the Nou Camp is the most likely destination.
A move to Italy may seem less likely at first glance, but Serie A is quietly restoring itself as on of the continents top leagues again.
The Milan team that destroyed Arsenal during the week was very impressive and then there is Juventus, who are on the rise again, and Roma, backed by American millions. Only Inter Milan look on a downward curve, and if, as rumours suggest, Fabio Capello is to take over there, I would expect them back among Europe’s elite before too long.
The most likely out of that group are Milan. They are a team most definitely on the up and a hug club which still has a lot of pulling power in European football. Van Persie is also approaching 30 and the Rosseneri are famous for getting the most out of over-30 players. The Dutchman also saw first-hand what damage a Milan forward line including Robinho and Ibrahimovic can do, add him to that mix and Milan would be a feared proposition.
And with Milan faltering on signing Carlos Tevez, they could easily look to the Dutchman as a marquee signing to announce their intentions.
As I said before, I’m not convinced Van Persie will leave Arsenal. If they get into the top 4, he could definitely be persuaded to stay. Arsene Wenger too, realises the need for strengthening in the summer. The promise of quality arrivals at the Emirates might also entice Van Persie.
Leading a new Arsenal team built around Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Thomas Vermaelen and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, will definitely appeal to the Dutch striker.
Of course, the 28-year-old is at his peak, and will not want to spend his considerable talent without winning trophies. That’s why if Arsenal fail qualify for next season’s Champions League I would expect him to leave, and Arsenal can expect a long line of clubs ready to take him.
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