Wenger confident of Van Persie future
Arsene Wenger is confident captain Robin Van Persie will lead Arsenal well into the future, dismissing the notion the Dutchman will ultimately join Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in exiting the Emirates.
Van Persie ended a difficult week for the Gunners on a high on Saturday, as he registered his 100th Arsenal goal in a comprehensive 3-0 victory over 10-man Bolton. After the relieving win, Wenger confirmed his star striker sought assurances during the summer regarding the direction of the club.
"It's true that we had a meeting during the summer," Wenger said. "If you're in Robin's place and you see Nasri going, Fabregas going, then you can be worried of course."
The club faces a similar problem to the Nasri one if Van Persie does not sign an extension to his current contract, which expires in 2013, with the striker having stalled talks "because we are so busy".
"Maybe I'll leave it [holding immediate talks] because the main thing for me is the team and that we play well," Van Persie was reported as saying in a number of national newspapers.
"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."
But Wenger is not concerned. "Now he [Van Persie] is out? No, I don't think that really. Robin is not from Barcelona," he quipped.
Meanwhile, the 28-year-old's goalscoring achievement is made all the more impressive by the fact he started his career at the club predominantly as a wide player. Wenger since moved Van Persie to become the focal point of the team's three-man attack, but he is far from the typical targetman, with Wenger comparing the style of his No. 10 to that of Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
"I see similarities positional-wise with Messi. He comes deep, he likes to turn up up front as well," Wenger said.
"Positional-wise he doesn't play like a real centre forward. But when you look at his movement around the box he's very intelligent, goes on diagonal runs. I always thought his first touch was so good that he can make a difference even in a tight space."
Van Persie took over the captain's armband from Fabregas after the Spaniard returned to Barcelona. Wenger praised the former Feyenoord front-man for the leadership he has shown since taking on the role.
Wenger said: "He has matured from the boy who was a little bit emotionally impulsive when he arrived to the guy who is here today.
"That was difficult to predict. But he is intelligent, speaks his mind and you can speak to him as well. He takes advice and overall he has developed very well."