Van Persie says he will not renew Arsenal contract

Associated Press
7/4/2012 2:35:46 PM
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LONDON -- Robin van Persie's Arsenal career appears to be over after the Dutch forward announced Wednesday he will not be extending his contract with the Gunners.

"I personally have had a great season, but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days," Van Persie wrote on his website. "I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract."

Van Persie, who scored 37 goals in all competitions for Arsenal last season, said he held talks about his future with chief executive Ivan Gazidis and manager Arsene Wenger before the European Championship.

Arsenal has not won any titles since the 2005 FA Cup and has not finished first in the league since 2004..

"Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans, I don't want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward," the 28-year-old said.

Van Persie said more meetings were planned with Arsenal once Gazidis returns from a vacation in the United States. A number of the continent's top teams are through to be interested in signing Van Persie, including English champion Manchester City and Italian champion Juventus.

Van Persie carried Arsenal for large chunks of last season, scoring a Premier League-high 30 goals to help the Gunners qualify for the Champions League. However, he had a poor European Championship by his high standards, scoring one goal as the Netherlands exited at the group stage.

Perhaps with the departure of Van Persie in mind, Wenger has signed forwards Olivier Giroud from Montpellier and Lukas Podolski from Cologne since the end of the season. Wenger must decide whether to cash in this summer on his captain and sole world-class player or risk losing him for nothing when Van Persie's contract expires at the end of next season.

It's a familiar scenario for Wenger.

Arsenal accepted an offer of 25 million pounds ($39 million) from Manchester City last summer for French playmaker Samir Nasri, who also had a year left on his contract. Left back Gael Clichy also had 12 months to run on his Arsenal deal before moving to the Etihad Stadium for 7 million pounds ($11 million).

Arsenal has lost a string of top players in the last few years, with Cesc Fabregas departing for Barcelona last year and both Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure leaving for City in 2009.

Van Persie, who joined from the Netherlands' Feyenoord in 2004, is the latest player to become dissatisfied with Arsenal's lack of success on the field and lack of funds in the transfer market.

"I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens," Van Persie said. "I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal. Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years."

Robin van Persie (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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