Arsenal have had to deal with betrayal from players that honed their skills at Highbury/Emirates. One of the biggest of the treacherous lot has been former captain Robin Van Persie who swapped the Emirates for Old Trafford some seasons ago.
With is contract winding down, he rejected a new deal and despite Wenger’s desire to sell him abroad, he forced a move to domestic rivals Manchester United. That move made no sense to Arsenal fans who felt hugely betrayed by a player who spent the larger part of his stay with the Gunners on the treatment table instead of the field of play. Former Manchester United team mate Rio Ferdinand has further rubbed salt into the wound by revealing what Van Persie said about Arsenal by what he wrote in his autobiography.
“It was part and parcel of the winning state of mind Fergie created at the club. I remember Robin van Persie loving that.
“He told me that at Arsenal you wanted to win, but at United you had to win. It was a big difference.”
I wonder what Van Persie was seeking to achieve by that lousy statement. Arsenal have always been about winning and if giving him a chance when his poor fitness record showed he didn’t deserve it was an indication of lack of winning mentality, then we don’t.
Does he need to be reminded that the same Arsenal that he is now accusing of lacking winning mentality set a record of going an entire season unbeaten and that record is still unequaled despite the big money clubs have spent in the past and are still spending now.
If winning is a culture in Manchester United, how come they had a miserable season last time out? It is easy to pick out Moyes as a cheap scapegoat but shouldn’t the big players (Van Persie inclusive) have ensured the big mentality of the club stayed intact? Not only did they finish the season empty-handed, they couldn’t fall into one of the slots in Europe.
In his absence, Arsenal have moved on and finally ended the protracted trophy drought. In his 8 years spell at Arsenal, the club he claimed lacked winning mentality, he never failed to play Champions League football but in just his 2nd season at Manchester United, a club he claimed winning was a culture, he had to endure to ignominy of not only Champions League football but no European football at all.
Van Persie initially had the laugh but Arsenal are having the laughter now.