Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted that Robin van Persie's future at the club will be decided before Euro 2012.
The Gunners captain's current deal ends in 2013 but Wenger hopes that he can tie the 28-year-old down to a new contract before the striker begins his international campaign with Netherlands this summer.
Wenger told reporters: “It will be sorted at the end of the season - before the Euros.”
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The 62-year-old added that he was not worried about Van Persie’s recent visit to Barcelona’s hotel on Wednesday night, which ignited further reports linking him with a move to the Spanish club this summer.
“I wasn’t concerned. After the game, you can go to have dinner. He’s got friends there – [Ibrahim] Afellay, [Cesc] Fabregas. Why shouldn’t he?” he said.
Van Persie, who has hit 34 goals so far in all competitions this season, is the favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award and Wenger believes that the forward’s outstanding return is the result of an injury-free campaign.
"The number of games he’s played is beyond expectation and for a striker it’s massive. He is physically good," the Frenchman continued.
“He has a very healthy life, very focused on football – he takes care of everything. That’s why he manages to do that. He is like Thierry Henry in that respect.”
But the Gunners boss feels that Van Persie, who has scored just once in his last six games, is suffering from burnout, having played 44 games already this term.
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And, with Arsenal chasing a Champions League place, Wenger now hopes that others in the side can chip in with vital goals.
“When you play 50 games at that level you suffer a little bit. He suffered against Wigan on Monday because we didn’t create a lot,” he observed.
“Let’s not put too much pressure on him. We cannot ask for too much more from Robin, he has given absolutely everything and he will again against Chelsea [on Saturday].
“I don’t want to put on his head and his shoulders the fact he absolutely has to score because I believe we can score from different compartments in the team.”