How much of Arsenal’s fall from grace last season and so far this season can be blamed on rivals Manchester City? The shift of power from north London to east Manchester is quite tangible especially when you consider that in recent years Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Kolo Toure have all exited Emirates for Etihad Stadium.
Now comes the news that Manchester City is pursuing Robin van Persie as a potential signing in the January transfer window. The Dutch striker, who is the one player still left at Arsenal who is in a different class, would be a perfect replacement for Carlos Tevez if and when the Argentine leaves City.
Typically I would brush off transfer rumors like this. But the source comes from The Guardian, who are typically more reliable than other British newspapers. Don’t be surprised if Arsenal comes out tomorrow and dismisses the story, but the fact of the matter remains that van Persie has not signed a renewal to his contract and he has all of the leverage right now to either demand a massive salary increase from Arsenal in the form of a new contract, or an even bigger payday from City.
With Tevez on his way out at City, van Persie would be the final big money buy that Manchester City would need to have a team that could compete with any in the Premier League, and would set them up as a tough team to beat in future Champions League seasons.
For Arsenal, this would be another devastating blow. Van Persie is an Arsenal icon. But so too were Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. For Arsenal’s sake, I hope van Persie stays at Arsenal, where he can continue to be the top player at the club who is the first name on the team sheet. While City would love to have him on their books, it would be a killer blow for Arsenal to see him leave.