Martin Hardy: Betrayal in the Arsenal air as Robin van Persie turns his sword on king Arsene Wenger

One trophy in eight years at Arsenal and an exodus of talent made decision inevitable

Betrayal. It will be the overriding emotion Arsène Wenger feels whenever he remembers the summer of 2012; when Spain betrayed their footballing philosophy (his words) and his captain, his talisman, one of the last players the top clubs covet from the diminishing shelves at the Emirates production factory, turned his back on Arsenal.

Eight years of teaching, of patience, of moulding a team around him, were blown away in 326 words, but this was not about the depth, or lack of depth, of Robin van Persie's argument. This was Wenger's leader turning his sword on his king. Wenger has doted on Van Persie, he has built a side to suit him, his devotion perhaps best highlighted in the antithesis that was the Netherlands team during the European Championship. Then the forward found out what it was like not to be the fulcrum. He was a shadow of the Premier League force, aside from one fine strike, via his wrong foot.

This will be the summer he wrong-footed Wenger too, and the fallout from that will take time to come to fruition, but the island where the Arsenal manager sometimes finds himself will seem a more lonely place this morning.

Van Persie will not move to a new club, most likely Manchester City, possibly Juventus, for less than the £130,000-a-week package that Arsenal had put together, but then the astronomical nature of the figures are not of Van Persie's making, and in his prime, he could hardly be expected to leave for less, with 12 months remaining on his contract. His is the position you wish for in negotiations.

But the acidity of the attack, not the sustained nature of it, on Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, the club's chief executive, was about ambition and the chronic lack of it that Van Persie now sees as central to the philosophy (that word again) which dominates the thinking of the key figures at the Emirates Stadium. That Gazidis was on holiday at the time of the announcement and that this fact was mentioned directly by Van Persie should also not be overlooked here. Wenger was still called "the boss" in the statement, whereas the chief executive was effectively belittled.

Only the most optimistic of thinkers can have thought Van Persie would watch Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy leave in the last year without beginning to ask questions about ambition and the apparent ceiling on it that went up with the building of Arsenal's new ground.

Much has been made of Wenger's comments about finishing fourth in the Premier League, and how it now betters winning the FA Cup or the League Cup. That is usually picked up by those from England, but Van Persie is not. As a Dutch player with ambition, a manager's desire to finish fourth can hardly have inspired long-term hope. And with a backdrop of the continued drip, drip of genuine talent leaving, this mess, for that is what it now is, points a more damning finger at those who run Arsenal Football Club. Footballers sense the direction of a club. Arsenal have not given the suggestion of being one who even want to challenge Manchester City, where they were already talking of building something to win the Champions League after a title victory that has been out of the reach of anyone in the red and white of Arsenal since 2004.

Van Persie is 29 next month. That is not a young age for a central striker who has suffered injury problems in his past. In the past two seasons he has scored 48 Premier League goals from his 63 games. Mario Balotelli has managed 19 from 40 games. But then Balotelli is 21 years of age and has his career in front of him. He matched Van Persie's achievements (a sole FA Cup victory) in his first year at the Etihad Stadium. Now he has a Premier League title winner's medal.

Van Persie does not, and the damning conclusion he emphatically announced yesterday, was that he felt he never would have if he had stayed at Arsenal.

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
news
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
life
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
News
i100
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
peopleWrestling veteran drifting in and out of consciousness
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone