Robin van Persie: Arsenal’s Dark Knight?

Gordon: …he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.

Let me indulge the imaginative for a second with a lighthearted thought experiment. I’m not personally a believer, but I thought it might get people talking.

On July 4th, Robin van Persie shocked the football world by kicking-off what has been the transfer saga of the summer. Unexpectedly updating his Twitter account, he posted a link to his personal site and an explanation of where he was at regarding his contract situation:

“…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. …it has again become clear to me that [Arsene Wenger and I] disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward… I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.”

Regardless of what its overall intention was, the news that RVP was not interested in re-signing was a huge blow to the Arsenal faithful and resulted in many fans falling into one of two firmly divided camps – those that sided with Robin, saying that AFC has not been ambitious enough and that he deserves to play for a trophy-winner, or those that felt RVP was being pulled away by money and giving up far too easily on the club after they supported him through many injury plagued years.

Indeed, the issue of the club’s direction was a curious topic to bring up as Arsenal had already signed Podolski and Giroud, two talented forward players, in late April and late June respectively. And since then, the club has seemingly been busy with attempts to bring in Santi Cazorla from Malaga as well as a supposed loan move for Nuri Sahin of Real Madrid. Moreover, Diaby has returned to the fold after battling his own injury woes over the last year, and Wilshere should be returning (hopefully) by the winter. By all accounts, it would be fair for Arsenal fans to be cautiously optimistic heading into the 12-13 season.

With little word from Robin himself (who has resumed training with the team) and no further public developments from Man United, City or Juventus, there are minor rumblings that RVP may still be convinced to stay. After all, he apparently loves the club and Wenger has underscored the the captain’s importance even after the Twitter commentary.

What if this was Robin’s plan all along?

Perhaps Robin felt it necessary to dramatically shake things up amongst the board and management for the good of the football club and its fans. Perhaps by risking his own reputation, he felt he could motivate the Arsenal fans and cause a reaction large enough to get a response from the club ownership that hasn’t provided the squad depth in recent years to challenge for the trophies they pay lip-service to: the Premiership and the Champions League. Maybe all along RVP realized that only by threatening to leave would he be able to instigate the changes necessary for the club to move forward – the same changes many fans have been demanding, but not getting, for several seasons.

If Cazorla, Sahin, and another quality player or two come in, and then Robin stays, the quality many have begged for could suddenly be at the club. The means might not be ideal, but if the ends are realized and the club wins a major trophy, I don’t think anyone would care how AFC got there after so many barren years. And if that all occurred, once again Arsenal fans would have to say:

We don’t need Batman. We’ve got Robin.

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