The speculation surrounding Robin van Persie’s future at Arsenal is again hitting the headlines as Russian moneybags Anzhi Makhachkala line up a £45m move.
Anzhi turned heads last summer by snapping up former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o from Inter Milan, giving the Cameroonian international a reported £300,000 per week contract, before appointing ex-Russia and Turkey manager Guus Hiddink as their new boss. They’re an ambitious side with plenty of financial clout as they’re backed by multi-billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, so expect to her a lot more about Anzhi this summer.
Van Persie’s contract expires next summer and there is a possibility that van Persie could be sold so they don’t risk losing him for free in 2013. Now, the fee mentioned in the media to buy the Dutch star has been £25m, but reports suggest that Anzhi could offer in the region of £45m for the Dutch international.
Whilst I think £25m is a low amount for someone of van Persie’s quality, £45m is a huge amount of money and possibly too much to turn down for a club like Arsenal.
Arsenal draw plaudits for their financial stringency and have regularly sold players to maintain operating steadily, so £45m would be great for the club and they could use the money to strengthen the team. Before accepting any bid though, they must first assess where van Persie sees his future.
If van Persie wants to stay at the Emirates and they can agree a contract that suits both parties then they would be mad to sell him for any amount – van Persie is the key to Arsenal’s hopes of a return to the Premier League summit. He is the man who scores the goals but he represents so much more than that. He gives the fans hope and a belief that the glory days will return to Arsenal after almost 7 years without a trophy.
But if van Persie wants to leave the club and seek pastures new, then Anzhi’s bid should be accepted over any bid from Manchester City. Selling van Persie to a divisional rival is a PR disaster and sends out the wrong message as to where the club is going. Arsenal obviously can’t control whether van Persie would accept a move to Russia or not, but surely Arsenal fans would be more willing to accept the club’s decision to sell him to Anzhi over a league rival? The move would be seen as a huge step down for van Persie but in the modern era of football, money talks.
Despite Anzhi’s money, I still think that van Persie would be better served by staying at Arsenal and challenging for trophies there rather than moving simply for the money – which a move to Anzhi would surely be based on.
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