Wenger: Third place key to keeping Van Persie at Arsenal

Gunners boss is hoping that his side can seal its entry into the Champions League group stages and boost its chances of holding onto its leading striker

Arsene Wenger is hoping that Arsenal can claim third place in the Premier League and so take big strides towards keeping striker Robin van Persie at the club.

The Dutchman is set to claim the league’s Golden Boot after a stunning campaign which has seen him net 30 league goals.

This form has seen him linked with moves away from the Emirates Stadium, but Wenger is optimistic that a third-place finish could convince him to stay.

Asked if Van Persie would remain at the club, the Frenchman told the press: "On my side I am inclined to think, 'yes'. But you should ask him. I don't know whether it will have an influence on him.

"Anyway, we don't focus on just that. Robin is not at the end of his contract."

The sales of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri last summer were heavily criticized, but Wenger does not believe that the club will be forced to sell again.

"People speak like our position is not important. Our position is very important," said the Gunners boss. "Our position with Cesc was to let him go because he wanted to go."

Arsenal has already begun strengthening ahead of next season with the 10 million pound signing of Lukas Podolski. However, Wenger believes that the return of some of his current players, who have been sidelined with long-term injuries, will be just as important.

"Another way to strengthen for us is to get [back Jack] Wilshere and [Abou] Diaby, who didn't play at all the whole season," said the veteran manager.

"You look at the number of players - we have 34 players when they all come back. That means you have to pay nine not to play."

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