That pestiliential bastard. We stood by him through thick and thin, through frustratingly sparse seasons and injury after injury after injury. Such was the club’s belief in him that it stood by him through that cooked-up rape allegation when another club might have cut its losses and moved on. Yes, the allegations turned up false, but it still served as a firm symbol of the club’s faith in him, not just as a player but as a person. After all, he was not the player then that he is now, a scorer of 21 goals in 79 appearances; in other words, not yet a player whose statistics could shield him from opprobrium. For Arsenal to have stood by him through that ordeal should be worth something. At least something more than the following:
It was [difficult] because it wasn’t only me who decided where I went to play. I also depended on my former club as well and how they saw it. And then of course you always have these games that the directors play. It’s a bit like a rollercoaster. Some days it is looking good and other days it is worse. You don’t really know what to expect because things can change so quickly.
Is he serious? Is he actually complaining that we weren’t willing to roll over and let him use us like a two-dollar whore? I’m beginning to think that the only synapses that fire behind those beady little eyes control his left foot. All else is a vast wasteland. So the little boy wanted to go to Man U? Explain why we’re at fault for seeing if we can get a better deal, financially or otherwise, from Juventus? Why the flying [expletive deleted] should we just drop him off at Old Trafford? Were we supposed to kiss him on the forehead and wipe his nose as our feelings of pride washed over him, our little boy, all grown up as he goes off to “big boy” school?
Putz. The directors play games? Oh, it’s enough to give me the vapors! Quick, bring me the fainting couch!! How my heart just goes out to this poor, innocent boy, this naive, little boy, this babe in the woods, pure as the driven snow who always only said what was honest and true. How he must have suffered as the scales fell from his eyes and he saw the world for what it really is for the first time. O brave new world! How he must have felt to learn that Arsène Wenger, who played such a huge role in making him into the player he now is, who waited years for van Persie to fulfill his potential, was only preparing to sell him on when the time was right. Poor Robin. Oh me. Oh my. He almost had to play for Juventus, only one of Europe’s most storied clubs. He must have been miserable as he worried about where his next paycheck would come from: what denomination will it be? Do they still use the lira in Italy? What’s a euro? Is it colder in Manchester than in London? What would become of poor, defenseless Robin?
When van Persie left, I merely resented him. He was selling us out for the baldest of reasons. Sure, I understand that he wanted trophies and was worried that his age in history of injuries were on his mind. Fine. Whatever. Why come out and kick Arsène in the groin a year later, after getting everything he’s wanted all his life (apparently)? Money. Fame. Glory. Adulation. Trophies. You know what? On that little list, he already had the first four. Had he showed a little more loyalty, a little more patience, who knows what could have happened?
I’m not bitter; I am enraged. Somewhere on the spectrum of departed players, with Fabregas on one end as “understandable” and perhaps Adebayor, Cole, or Nasri at the other as “absolute shite”, I had once played van Persie somewhere in the middle, leaning just a bit towards Adebayor, Cole, and Nasri. Now, however, he’s extended that end of the spectrum quite a bit further out.
I would never wish harm on a player (maybe privately, in those darker moments before we shake our heads and snap out of it), but I’m not so noble as to hope that the accumulation of age, injury, and complacency are enough to see this punk rust and fade away, gradually diminishing in form until he is cast off.
Of all of the superstars Arsène has made, he stood a chance of joining a pantheon of Arsenal legends. Sure, he’ll probably still claim a spot among the club’s best players, but he’s forfeited his potentially legendary status. Yes, other legends have left, but it’s the manner of van Persie’s departure, and how he’s handled it ever since, that poisons his legacy. Can you see him coming back in the twilight of his career for a curtain call akin to Henry’s? Maybe it’s just too soon to consider, but at this point, I don’t want him back and would turn my back rather than watch. He could have answered the interviewer more artfully. He could have dodged the question or chosen an answer that acknowledged everything Arsène and the club did to support him, but no. He took a man who has fallen on his sword and gave that sword one more twist. I can come to terms with a player leaving. I understand the narrow window of opportunities that a footballer has to squeeze through and the imperative to seize opportunities when life presents them. I don’t understand, however, being an absolute twat about how van Persie seized this one.
Maybe he can explain it to me in terms a little boy would understand.