Arsenal ended their preseason friendly on a high, as they strolled to a comfortable victory over Cologne at the RheinEnergieStadion. Arsenal’s new signing Lukas Podolski was arguably man of the match as he announced his arrival to the Gooners with a wonderful brace. The German international was then replaced in the 68th minute by Robin van Persie, and there was an irony about it. The new fan favorite was replaced by someone who formerly held that soft spot. While the former Koln striker made his way off the pitch to generous applause from both set of supporters, the Dutchman received a muffled welcome from the Gooners, unsurprisingly perhaps.
In the post match interview Arsene Wenger was asked ‘the’ question, the one which he has already faced innumerous times this season,” what is the status of the van Persie situation?”. According to the Daily Mail, the Frenchman, as defiant as ever, replied –
‘There’s no news on van Persie. Our fans want him to stay so you can understand they are excited. Anything I could say about Van Persie would be a lie because he’s our player and that’s it.
‘Robin scored 30 goals last season and you want to keep your best players. He was player of the year in England. We want to keep him. I cannot tell you more at the moment because I don’t know more.
‘We have not bought the players to replace Van Persie, but to strengthen our squad with the thinking Van Persie will stay. That’s still my mind at the moment.’
According to the latest reports, van Persie will stay at the London club till the winter transfer window. He would then decide on extending his contract or leaving the Emirates depending on whether Arsenal are still in the title race. Having said that, many people believe that there is a lot of internal struggle in the boardroom with regards to the Dutchman’s future. The Arsenal board is unwilling to take that risk and let van Persie enter into the last year of his contract, while Arsene Wenger is desperate to hang onto him with the hope that he will be able to convince van Persie into extending his contract if the Gunners put a strong title challenge (Which Le Prof is very confident of….).