After last-ditch contract extension talks, in-demand Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has announced that he will not be signing a new deal with the club. The Dutch forward has released a statement on his website that claims that he disagrees with the direction the club is heading, although he's not going into many details:
Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects 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. You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions
The announcement almost certainly means that van Persie will be sold in the summer, as Arsenal cannot allow its most important asset to walk away on a free transfer. There'll be interest from the usual big-money suspects, and the Gunners should at least be able to get a bidding war started. Still, that won't do much to help mitigate the damage caused by losing a player who carried them to a Champions League berth last season.