After eight years at Arsenal and three at Manchester United, Robin Van Persie has left Manchester and the Premier League to seek a new challenge at Fenerbahçe. At the age of 31, Van Persie departs for Turkey with two major-honours, the FA Cup (Arsenal) and the much desired Premier League medal he sought with Manchester United.
With honours at the forefront of his controversial decision to leave Arsenal, it begs the question, was Van Persie right to leave North London?
In order to discuss the matter you have to identify that the Dutchman was concerned with his legacy, hence the reason he made the drastic decision to switch Premier League allegiances. Robin van Persie wanted to win trophies, and he did, but he also missed out on the opportunity of becoming a club icon at Arsenal.
At this point it could become a question of whether you support Manchester United or Arsenal in whether you think he did the right thing, but the underlying question remains, is it worth trading popular support for the success you crave? Manchester United fans will remember Van Persie, and he doesn’t leave United on a sour note, however, in a few seasons time there will be little talk of the Dutchman.
A Dutchman who is remembered differently, Dennis Bergkamp, saw out his career with Arsenal, and although he had tremendous success, he stayed with the club to the end of his career. On the other hand, Thierry Henry, who did leave Arsenal in a similar fashion to Van Persie, is still lauded as a club legend, so perhaps it is a question of taste over loyalty.
To focus on the question, is Van Persie leaving with a fond farewell?
For the majority of the Premier League, probably not, and Manchester United fans are probably more fond about the reality that they got one over on Arsenal and Arsène Wenger.
So would the Dutchman have been better off staying at Arsenal? Could he have achieved a Premier League medal there? Perhaps this blog raises more questions than it answers.
However, it’s an important question, in a year when Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have both left for the MLS, and a summer in which Raheem Sterling is about to join Manchester City, should reputation perturb a move to a rival? Is loyalty more important?
Steven Gerrard will tell you that he has no regrets about rejecting a move to join José Mourinho at Chelsea.
However, Van Persie will no doubt look back on his year with Sir Alex Ferguson as the best of his career, and will head to Turkey feeling content, but there remains a lot of feeling that the Dutchman’s time in England fizzled out rather disappointingly.
Van Persie’s relationship with Louis Van Gaal seems to have become strained, and his ability to lead the front line has also became tested in his final moments at United.
Consequently, there’s little debate that the Dutchman’s move is the right one, but you could question several of his other decisions.
Will Van Persie look back on his footballing career with regrets? Only he knows that. A man who willing to risk his reputation for success should be commended, but perhaps in this incidence, he won’t be ultimately rewarded.