End of road for Van
Nigel Winterburn, Paul Merson, Alan Smith and Ray Parlour give their take on RVP's position at Arsenal.
Last Updated: 05/07/12 10:27am
What next for Arsenal and Robin van Persie now the two are to part ways?
Sky Sports News tracked down four former Arsenal players for their view after Van Persie confirmed that he will not sign a new deal with the club. Read our story here.
The Dutch striker's current contract runs out at the end of next season - and he will be free to speak to other clubs from January.
Van Persie was the leading scorer in the Premier League last season - with 30 goals - but now Arsenal must decide whether to sell him now or risk losing him on a free transfer at the end of next season.
Here are the thoughts of Paul Merson, Nigel Winterburn, Alan Smith and Ray Parlour...
Paul Merson, Arsenal 1982-1997
Arsenal need to change their wage structure if they want to live with the big boys and keep their players. They need to say 'Van Persie's our best player - give him what he wants' and go from there but they don't do that at Arsenal; there are not many players on a lot less than someone else. I wouldn't say I blame him because I went to Middlesbrough when the money was unbelievable but at the same time not many players leave Arsenal and don't regret it. It's an unbelievable club - the way it's run, everything's done for you. It's perfect.
The only place he can go in my eyes is Manchester City - I can't see him going anywhere else. At the end of the day he's a top-draw player, he's world-class. But he hasn't played a lot of football since Arsenal signed him. Before this season he was averaging about 15 games a season, I think. At Arsenal he's a massive, massive fish in a little pond. He's their star player. If he goes anywhere else, he's not assured of playing every week. If he goes to City and they've got Aguero, Balotelli, Van Persie, Tevez. He's going to play 15-20 games a season. There's talk about Juventus but the Italian League is not great - you've only got to look at the record of their clubs in the Champions League over the years. I'm a bit gutted because I would have liked him to sit down and talk terms. He's in London and he plays for a top, top club and I think he's burnt his bridges and if he comes back and they don't sell him the fans are going to slaughter him.
Nigel Winterburn, Arsenal 1987-2000
If Robin van Persie wants to bolster his financial situation, then he would have to move away from Arsenal. There are many, many teams around the world - and also in the Premier League - that can probably offer him more money than he is on at Arsenal. For me it is all about being happy and thinking that you have the chance of winning something and it just looks as though Robin van Persie doesn't believe at this moment in time that Arsenal are in a challenging position. It's not a way you want to move forward with a football club - continually coming into a new season and losing your best player from the last season, and that's what happened last season with Nasri and Fabregas and it looks as though it is going to happen this season again. Unfortunately for Arsenal if Van Persie does go - and I hope that there is still time to change his mind - then Arsenal will have to start all over again.
Alan Smith, Arsenal 1987-1995
He was happy in London, his wife enjoyed it, his kids were settled in the school, he's got a beautiful place and I think at his age, at 28, it was about winning medals and having the possibility of winning medals because he is in his peak years now as he showed us last season brilliantly. I truly believe that in this case - even though so often with footballers it does come down to money - he wants to win things in the next few years when he can and that doesn't reflect well on Arsenal, of course it doesn't because he's looked at it quite dispassionately and he thinks that Arsenal aren't going to win too much silverware in the next couple of years. It's really disappointing from Arsenal's point of view. But Robin van Persie is looking at the next few years when he's 28, 29, 30; he thinks they can't win trophies. You don't want to say it but you probably have to agree with him."
Ray Parlour, Arsenal 1988-2004
I think he knew three or four months ago that he wasn't going to stay and that's football these days - some great, great players move on (the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp) and Arsenal have just got to accept it and get on with it. I think Robin's had a chat with his family; this is his last contract. Arsenal have to sell him. They can't have him in the squad next year. He can't walk out for nothing next year. They have to get as much money for him as they can - £25m has been touted around, £30m maybe - but that money must be invested straight back into the club and maybe more as well. Maybe we can buy two or three players with this money. I think he was an absolute credit last year for Arsenal Football Club. I thought he was a great skipper; I thought that when they really needed him he came up trumps and I wish him all the best for the future.