London: Robin van Persie has rejected the offer of a new Arsenal contract, the striker announced via his official website on Wednesday.
The Dutch international has a year left on his current deal with the English Premier League club, who could now be tempted to cash in on their prize asset, rather than see him leave for nothing on a Bosman free transfer at the end of next season.
"I`ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract," Van Persie, who scored 37 goals in 48 appearance for Arsenal last season, including 30 in the Premier League, said Wednesday.
"You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions," added the 28-year-old, whose performances last season saw him named Player of the Year by both his fellow professionals in the Premier League and England`s Football Writers` Association.
Premier League champions Manchester City and Italian title-holders Juventus are among the clubs to have been repeatedly linked with signing the Dutchman.
Van Persie added he had met with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis at the end of last season to discuss his future but had been disappointed by the answers he`d received regarding the Gunners` ambitions.
Since signing from Dutch side Feyenoord in 2004, Van Persie has won just one major trophy with Arsenal -- the 2005 FA Cup.
It is a poor return for a player of his talent and he said it was a desire to win silverware that was behind his decision to leave the Emirates Stadium.
"This is an update for the fans about my current situation," Van Persie said.
"I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr Gazidis and Mr Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what`s really going on at the moment.
"As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the boss (Wenger) and Mr Gazidis after the season.
"This was a meeting about the club`s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
"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.
"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 should move forward."
He added: "I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC.
"Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years."
As for his next move, van Persie added: "As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments."
Other players have left Arsenal in recent seasons to bolster their hopes of landing major medals, notably Spain`s World Cup and Euro 2012-winning midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who joined Barcelona in August last year two days later won the Spanish Super Cup.
BDST: 1300 HRS, July 5, 2012
Chanchal Ghosh, Newsroom Editor
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