Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Van Persie in the hunt for medals, not money


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.

Is Van Persie the Premier League’s best ever ‘volleyer’?


By James Illingworth

Robin Van Persie’s stoppage-time winner at Anfield on Saturday was not the most spectacular goal of the Dutchman’s career but it could go some way to confirm his status as the best volleyer the Premier League has seen.

The Arsenal hit-man notched his 31st goal of the season when he latched onto Alex Song’s lofted through-ball to guide a side-footed volley past Jose Reina at the Liverpool stopper’s near post.