Arsenal to tell Van Persie that he cannot leave club this summer

Gunners chiefs are set to explain to wantaway striker that he will be held to current contract and senior officials are even hopeful he will sign new deal next year
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal will tell Robin van Persie this week that he will not be granted his wish to leave the club this summer, has learned.

The Dutch striker is ready to reiterate his stance that he wants to quit the club before the current transfer window closes when contract discussions take place with manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

But Gunners officials have decided to gamble on losing Van Persie for nothing next year by holding him to his current deal, which expires in 11 months.


The north Londoners have calculated that the reigning PFA Player of the Year will have less chance of being awarded a lucrative, four-year contract next summer from one of his suitors because of his age – he turns 30 in August 2013 - and chequered injury history and are even hopeful that he will then sign a new Arsenal deal.

Van Persie delivered a bombshell with a statement via his own website on July 4, which effectively said he wanted to leave because he disagreed with Wenger and the board of directors "in many aspects … on the way Arsenal should move forward".

The Dutchman also announced that he would not extend his contract before it expires next June.

But it is understood that Van Persie’s decision to push hard for a transfer and pave the way for a move to his principal admirers Manchester City has not altered Arsenal’s desire to keep him and risk losing a £20-25 million asset for nothing.

“We are going to keep him and hold him to his current contract,” a senior source told “When he is 30 it will be easier to re-sign him and in the last year [of his deal] we hope he will change his mind about wanting to leave.”

Arsenal’s risky strategy raises the possibility that they will have a disgruntled player on their hands who will not come close to reproducing his remarkable performances of the 2011-12 season - when he scored 37 goals to help the Gunners to third in the Premier League after a disastrous start to the campaign.

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But the club are confident that Van Persie, who was reunited with his Arsenal colleagues at pre-season training on Tuesday after undergoing a medical assessment upon his return from a four-week summer break, will remain committed to the cause.

The club expect the Dutchman to be on the flight to Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, for their three-match pre-season tour of Asia, which also takes in Beijing and Hong Kong. Arsenal play Man City at Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium on Friday of next week. 

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