Arsène Wenger’s has played down rumours that Robin van Persie may be ready to quit Arsenal. The Dutch striker has been quoted in the British press as saying that he is not in a hurry to sign an extended deal with the club, putting his Arsenal future in doubt.
Arsenal could end up in a similar position to that which forced Wenger to sell Samir Nasri to Man City if Van Persie does not extend his current contract (which ends in 2013). Our Captain’s entry into Arsenal’s ’100 Club’ is now being overshadowed by speculation that he may be sold in the summer.
“Maybe I’ll leave it [negotiating a contract extension] because the main thing for me is the team and that we play well.
“I do believe you have to look for a right moment to sit down and speak about your own stuff.
“It’s not only about me, it’s about the team. We are not talking now because we are so busy – we have games every three or four days.
“I don’t think it’s clever to do that during the season.
“I still have almost two years left here, so for the moment that’s fine. But I don’t know, we will have to look.
“I’m happy with my contract, I’m good. That’s how it is, I can’t say much more. I can’t look into the future.”
In his pre-match press conference (ahead of our Champions League match against Olympiakos this evening), Wenger insisted that the delay in contract negotiations is not a cause for alarm:
“That [a new contract] depends on us and on Robin.
“On our side we are quite clear so that is no problem. I do not say there is no problem because it does not depend only on us but we are clear with our intention.
“After that you have to respect that he has nearly two years to go so let’s not make an immediate issue of something like that. Two years in football is a very, very long time.
“I have a high level of expectation for him and his performances are as high as I expect them to be.
“He plays well with the team, with the other players, and he finishes well. His finishing record is absolutely fantastic, he has scored 26 goals in 31 games and he is not only a finisher.”
I completely understand where Wenger is coming from. There is still more than enough time for Robin to negotiate a new deal, so there is no need to panic – at least not yet. In my opinion, it is equally important to get Andrei Arshavin (who has a contract that runs out at the end of the season) to sign a new deal, or we risk losing him on a free in the summer. Theo Walcott and Alex Song (both in the same position as RvP) are also yet to discuss new deals.