Van Persie contract talks to start soon, says Arsenal boss Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the club will open contract extension talks with Robin van Persie when the season is over - and intend to keep the Dutchman even if an agreement is not reached.
The Gunners captain has notched 35 goals in all competitions so far this campaign and is the Premier League's top scorer with just two games remaining.
Wenger is hopeful that the former Feyenoord striker will remain at the Emirates Stadium and believes that he is committed to the north London club, despite rumoured interest from the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona.
“We will sit down with him at the end of the season,” the Frenchman told reporters on Friday. “I believe he is committed to the club.
“Hopefully he will extend [his] contract. Even if he doesn't we want him to stay.”
The 28-year-old's eye-catching performances have attracted interest from other top European clubs, with Arsenal vulnerable because his contract runs out in 2013.
“I cannot guarantee that it will go smoothly, but I am quite confident,” Wenger added.
“I believe he 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.
“I brought him here a long, long time ago and he has developed fantastically well as a man and as a player. Today he is a world-class player and he deserves great credit. Hopefully we can keep him here.
“If I was in his [situation] I would be relaxed. I am relaxed too.
“First of all when you open your newspapers you see a lot of clubs who want our players but I would just like to say that nobody is at the end of a contract.
“That means all the decisions are made by the club.”
The north London club were in a similar situation with Samir Nasri last summer, with the midfielder eventually joining City in £25 million deal.
But Wenger has dismissed the parallels, stating that it is his aim to allow the Dutchman to finish his career at the Emirates.
“The situations are not completely comparable,” he insisted.
“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.
“If that wouldn't happen, we'll 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.”