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Why Arsenal must dump Van Persie and take the £40M-plus on offer

Just sell, Arsenal. Just sell and get rid.

Robin van Persie's statement last week, confirming he was rejecting their new contract, was designed to inflict maximum damage. It was released on the same day as the club was officially announcing deals for Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. It was a crass, nasty act, which displayed no recognition of the support granted him over the years.

Van Persie's injury record has been long and frustrating. But you never heard from Arsene Wenger questioning his fitness, or from the board about the millions they were paying him as he recovered from the latest setback. Instead, they stood by the Dutchman and at 29, eight years on from arriving at the club from Feyenoord, he fulfilled that faith by carrying off last season's Player of the Year Double.

Now, when most level-headed Gooners would accept him seeking that final, big pay-day elsewhere, Van Persie chose to make it personal, attacking individuals and the club's ambition.

This isn't an act of a true leader. It certainly shouldn't be the behaviour of someone who has received more from the club than he's given.

Several former stars believe Van Persie's mind has been made up for months. And with his agent, Kees Vos, spotted at Manchester City with their football chief Brian Marwood last season and being given a tour of Turin by Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta, it's difficult to argue otherwise.

Even the over-the-top nature of his statement - and its timing - suggests its been brewing for weeks. It makes no sense, just as the club is welcoming Giroud and Podolski, that he should be questioning their ambition.

Now, the story goes that Wenger will insist Van Persie attend their preseason tour where he will attempt to talk the Dutchman, away from Vos, around. But the money his sale would generate can be better spent elsewhere.

A £20 million fee, plus another £23 million-plus saved on wages, can be put to better use than appeasing a player who has betrayed the club so publicly.

Meanwhile, amid the mayhem of last week, one man arrived at Emirates representing one of the biggest shifts in policy during Wenger's reign.

Terry Burton, fresh from Sheffield Wednesday, was confirmed as new reserve-team coach at Arsenal. While the elevation of Steve Bould to assistant manager was met with indifference by those believing Wenger needed to be challenged more by his staff, the appointment of Burton should be celebrated by those same critics.

Burton, back at the club after 25 years, is no 'yes man' and if something needs to be said, he won't die wondering. The infamous clashes at Wimbledon in his final days as manager are testimony to that.

Though a former Gunners coach, he's the first 'outside' appointment made by Wenger in some years and having a different voice around London Colney will surely make a positive impact.

Chris Beattie
About the author

Chris Beattie

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