Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Van Persie in the hunt for medals, not money

July 6, 2012

By Phil O’Connor

As the annual Arsenal transfer soap-opera gets underway, it’s worth wondering why such high-profile players leave one of England’s best clubs every year.

Should Robin van Persie sign for Manchester City, much will be made of their financial muscle, but they are not the only club in England with resources – indeed, Arsenal are one of the richest clubs in the world and could easily afford to offer competitive wages.

But after seven trophyless years, it doesn’t take long to work out why Van Persie is likely to follow Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri through the exit doors in north London. It’s medals, not money, that makes Arsenal players move.

Premier League wages are generally so high that even after a season or two at the top level, players are financially independent for the rest of their lives – provided, of course, they manage their money properly. But that money cannot fill a trophy cabinet, and players like Van Persie need to win titles to feel that they have been successful in their careers.

It would be interesting to see how the Dutch striker would have reacted to his club situation had Netherlands not performed so pathetically at Euro 2012. A winner’s medal there may have prompted him to give Arsene Wenger one last chance to prove that Arsenal were capable of fighting for the league title in England.

Instead, the likelihood is that the 28-year-old will head for a club that can offer him the chance of a handful of winner’s medals while he is still in his prime.

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