LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident Robin van Persie will remain at the club after a prolific season that has seen the Dutch striker crowned Footballer of the Year.
Van Persie declared he would “always be a Gunner” on Thursday after collecting his latest honour from the Footballer Writers’ Association at a London awards ceremony.
The 28-year-old’s future has been the subject of much debate this season, with the Arsenal captain having only one year left on his existing contract and yet to discuss a new deal with the club.
Wenger however is confident that Arsenal can prevent a repeat of last summer, when both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri exited the club.
“Who would want to lose his best player? My desire and my wish is to find an agreement with Robin van Persie, extend the contract and stay with us for a longer time. Hopefully we can reach that,” said Wenger.
“If that wouldn’t happen, we will still want him to stay, but I am more focused on the first situation.
“I think what is important for us is that we find an agreement with him to be happy and to stay and finish his career here. I cannot guarantee that it will go well, but I am quite confident.”
Wenger said he believed van Persie remained committed to the club, which he joined in 2004 from Feyenoord.
“I believe Robin is committed to the club, I feel that the club has shown great commitment to him over the years and put great faith in him,” Wenger said.
“Today he is a world-class player and he deserves great credit. Hopefully we can keep him here.”
Van Persie’s decision could well be influenced by Arsenal’s success or failure in qualifying for next season’s Champions League. The Gunners are third in the table heading into Saturday’s clash with Norwich.
“Our dream was to be in the situation we are in now three months ago. It is now down to us to get over the line,” said Wenger. “The team is focused and ready to do the job, it’s now for us to get over the line.”