Why priceless RvP is the most deserving Footballer of the Year winner for years

Robin van Persie is the most deserved winner of the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year for many years.

That's not just because of his goals, although 38 in 50 games this season is a remarkable and prolific tally which includes spectacular and crucial goals.

But the Footballer of the Year, in my view, should go to the individual who has had most influence on the season, irrespective of his team's success.

I voted for Scott Parker last year and stand by that decision even though West Ham went down. Parker was the outstanding individual.

Ironically, I was amazed Parker made the PFA team of the year this time.

By comparison, I think he's had an average season. Clint Dempsey would have been a better choice - and I was glad to see he made the top four in the FWA voting. And yet Fulham are below Spurs. But it's about the individual.

There's been times when van Persie has carried Arsenal with his goals and his captaincy. His performances, leadership and goals have been remarkable.

His volley against Everton in December - the ball dipping over his right shoulder - was sensational and yet he nearly matched it with the winner at Liverpool.

When Arsenal have struggled with form and injuries, van Persie has stepped up. He's been proud to wear the armband and has emerged as a truly world class player.

I've admired David Silva and Vincent Kompany - they'd be my next two - but Manchester City have had many good players so their individual influence hasn't been as great.

Make no mistake. Arsenal have been awful at times this season. Defeats at Manchester United and Blackburn were crushing. But van Persie has remained consistently brilliant.

Van Persie has been called a one man team for Arsenal. I've done it to the annoyance of some Arsenal fans. But there's not a team in Europe who wouldn't mind being called a one man team if it meant van Persie joined them.

The chase has begun for van Persie with all of Europe's big guns chasing him. No wonder. But Arsenal are fighting to keep him and don't want to sell - even if he doesn't sign a new deal and goes into the final year of his contract.

That's because he's invaluable to Arsenal. You can't put a price on his head. Without him they'd be struggling for the Europa League let alone third. What's that worth? £30m? And the rest. He ensures Arsenal remain a big club. That's priceless.

Which other club would miss one player as much as Arsenal would van Persie? Wayne Rooney at Manchester United? Maybe. Steven Gerrard at Liverpool? Possibly. Even Petr Cech at Chelsea. But van Persie has stood out on his own this season.

Spare me the Rooney argument. He's not had a great season by his incredible standards. He's done well but has played better. The sentimental vote for Paul Scholes shouldn't come into it either.

Van Persie has also brought the best out of his team mates and, in particular, Theo Walcott and Alex Song. Both have performed best when in tandem with van Persie, either setting him up or feeding off his inspirational performances.

He has also stayed injury free and given everything to the Arsenal cause.

He's stood head and shoulders above the rest.

And for that reason, I can't remember when in recent times there's been such an overwhelmingly deserving winner.

Picture special: See ALL Robin van Persie's Arsenal goals from 2011/12  

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