Owen: Van Persie right to leave Arsenal
Michael Owen has risked being on the receiving end of a frosty reception when Stoke City visit Arsenal later this season after his controversial intervention into Robin Van Persie's departure from the Emirates in the summer.
Owen's latest opinionated article in his personal blog is a meander through the concept of loyalty in the game and the differing take on the value between fans and professional footballers.
The fact he has chosen Van Persie's high profile and acrimonious £25 million move from Arsenal to Manchester United in the summer, so soon after Stan Kroenke and Peter Hill-Wood faced an angry cross-examination from frustrated shareholders at the club's AGM, only adds fuel to a fire that will take some time to extinguish for Arsenal supporters.
It has been suggested in some sections that Van Persie is a traitor for his lack of loyalty to a club that supported him stoically through a catalogue of injury problems, but Owen has refused to accept any credence in that argument.
"I just don't buy into the 'We stuck by him while he was injured' argument which, I guess, is a way of saying he is indebted to the club? Rubbish," Owen, whose side travel to Arsenal on February 2, wrote on his official website.
"I have always failed to see how football is different to any other business. If my brother worked for Tesco and there was an Asda closer to his house who offered him an extra £50 a week with better hours and better working conditions would you expect him to stay put? I certainly wouldn't.
"My point is that footballers are human too. Their heads will get turned if a better job offer comes along and who can blame them? They all have different motivations, as do most people."
Owen feels loyalty is virtually a non-existent concept in the game and the 32-year-old further risked angering Arsenal supporters by predicting that Van Persie will soon end his long wait for silverware at Old Trafford.
"Can anybody deny him his move? He will be playing in a better team, in front of more fans at a club with a huge tradition, will have more chance of winning something and will be rewarded handsomely for it," he said.
"Arsene Wenger knew he was a world class player and low and behold, he turned out to be, bagging Arsenal dozens of goals and netting them £25m in their back pocket in the process."