Picture an atomic bomb falling from the skies with alarming speed straight towards a bridge. The bomb has large orange letters which spell out "Robin van Persie" and the bridge is red with a large golden cannon painted on the sides. A giant black, red and orange mushroom cloud explodes into the skyline and the bridge is no more.
That's right. Van Persie didn't just burn his bridges at Arsenal, he nuked them. He nuked them and made those bridges and relationships impossible to repair due to radiation. After he released the statement on his website last month criticizing Arsenal's ambition, his reputation and legacy was damaged in the eyes of the Gunner faithful. By saying those things, he put himself in front as the most important person at the club, rather than the club itself. And no athlete should go that route.
But if he does stay, Arsenal would be a serious contender for a league title this season. With the additions of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla, the team will be considerably stronger than last year. So with the news of van Persie traveling with the team to Germany for its game against FC Koln on Sunday, Gooners everywhere are feeling hopeful that the Premier League's top scorer from last season will stay in London. But should members of the club and its supporters be so quick to welcome him back?
The answer is no. Van Persie should leave the club and there are a couple of reasons why. First of all, he turned 29 Sunday. With a year remaining on his contract, Arsenal would do well to find a club willing to pay £20 million for the Dutch striker. That way head coach Arsene Wenger will be able to either invest in a world-class replacement or continue to strengthen the squad at several other positions.
Another reason why he should be sold is that he isn't the most reliable player. Yes, he has scored over 100 goals for the club since his arrival in 2004, but he hasn't made it through a single campaign without an injury until last year. Getting all that it can for a somewhat brittle player would be in Arsenal's best interest.
By deciding not to extend his contract with Arsenal and criticizing the ambition of the club, he made it clear that he wants to leave, even though he never actually said he wants to leave. But the implication was there, and that is unforgivable for some people. Let him leave for another club where he won't be the main man in front of goal. Let him go to another club and sit on the bench. Let him leave if he wants a huge pay raise. But the team shouldn't let him travel to Germany for the last friendly of the pre-season because his actions as the team-captain haven't warranted his inclusion.
The only way van Persie should be permitted to stay is if he gives up his captaincy and apologizes. But that most likely will not happen. His relationships will still be nuked and irradiated.