As we enter the summer there is now a new headache for Arsene Wenger – It is the lack of love and commitment for the club from many of his first-team regulars.
Gael Clichy has asked for a transfer, Samir Nasri is in no mood to sign a new contract at this current moment, and Cesc Fabregas…well he is just dreaming of Barcelona. But one player who has stood head and shoulders above the rest is Robin van Persie.
Van Persie was signed in 2004 from Feyenoord as a talented winger, but also someone with a reputation of having rifts with coaches and managers. Undoubtedly, this was a huge risk Wenger was taking. Robin was acquired as Dennis Bergkamp’s long-term successor, and Wenger once said that he (Van Persie) was a ‘Bergkamp with goals.’
Now, seven years later, Van Persie is probably Arsenal’s best player. If not for his injuries, few in football will be able to match him for skill, vision, flair and finishing. But there is more to him than just brilliance on the pitch. None among the current crop of players is as dedicated and as committed to Arsenal as Robin is.
He is the most loved Arsenal player in the current squad, and brings joy to millions of Gunners with his football, as well as his love for the club. He loves the club as much as the faithful Arsenal fans do. This is what endears him to the hardcore Arsenal fans so much. When Wenger signed him, Van Persie said of the club:
‘It was a dream coming true for me to play with Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, [Robert] Pires, [Patrick] Vieira, I loved it, I loved every single training session, every single game, even if the boss gave me two minutes, as Dennis Bergkamp substitute.’
‘I was still proud to come on for Dennis Bergkamp and play for Arsenal, I was really proud to wear that shirt. That’s where everything started for me, I was so convinced about myself and the faith the boss had in me that we were working together on this.’