Sol Campbell accepts the reasoning behind Robin van Persie's decision not to sign a new contract at Arsenal - but feels the Dutchman could make a U-turn if Arsene Wenger spends heavily on new players.
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Van Persie's present deal runs out in 12 months, and this week he revealed he will not be putting pen to paper on fresh terms, leaving Arsenal to decide whether they cash in on him this summer - with the likes of Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain reportedly interested - or risk losing him for nothing.
In a statement announcing his intention to leave the club, Van Persie suggested he disagreed with Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal's chief executive, over how the club should move forward - and Campbell, who won the Premier League under Wenger, believes the Gunners need to prove their ambition by making a statement in the transfer market.
"I can understand why van Persie has decided not to sign a new contract," Campbell said in the Daily Mirror. "When you go back to your club for pre-season, and you look around the changing room, you want to see top players around you and think, 'Yeah, we're going to do something this season. This is where it's happening'.
"That's what van Persie is looking for. And maybe he's had a look and thought, 'Is this it?' Maybe it will be different in a couple of weeks, maybe there will be a cast of new faces to make him feel different.
"If there had been more strong characters around him in the dressing room now, it might have been different with van Persie. When he signed for Arsenal, he was surrounded by top-quality players, big characters, and it was fantastic. Inside his head, he knew it was the place to be - alongside Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, myself, Tony Adams, Jens Lehmann, Ashley Cole.
"Basically, his statement is shorthand for saying his patience has run out, and that he can't wait for ever if he's going to win major trophies in his career.
"From the outside, it looks as though he wants to go to a club who will start the season expecting to win things, not just to be in contention with a lot of ifs, buts, maybes and strings attached. Maybe he could still sign a new contract if Arsenal rustle up £100 million from somewhere and make a serious statement by signing three world-class players."