Robin van Persie, who led the Premier League with 30 goals last season, said he won’t sign a new contract with Arsenal, which wants him to see out the final year of his existing agreement.
Van Persie, who joined the Gunners eight years ago, outlined his desire to leave in a statement yesterday, saying he met with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Chief Executive Officer Ivan Gazidis and that they had disagreed on the direction of the club, which last won a trophy in 2005.
“I personally have had a great season, but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days,” Van Persie said on his website. “I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward.”
Van Persie, who scored 41 goals in 53 games for Arsenal and the Netherlands last season and took the Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ player of the year awards, said he hasn’t discussed a new contract since “that is not my priority at all.” He’s been linked by U.K. media with clubs including Premier League champion Manchester City and Italian Serie A winner Juventus.
“We have to respect Robin’s decision not to renew his contract,” Arsenal said in a statement on its website. “Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfill his commitments to the club.”
‘Love the Club’
Van Persie joined Arsenal in 2004 from Feyenoord and has scored 132 goals in 278 appearances, including 37 in 48 games in all competitions last season, when he captained the team.
“I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens,” he said. “I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal. Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years.”
Arsenal must now decide whether to sell Van Persie or allow him to leave as a free agent at the end of next season. His statement came on the same day that Germany striker Lukas Podolski completed his move to the Gunners by signing a contract. Arsenal also acquired Olivier Giroud, the leading scoring in France’s Ligue 1 last season, from Montpellier.
“We are planning with ambition and confident for next season with Arsenal’s best interests in mind,” the club’s statement read.