Wenger wants to keep wantaway Van Persie at Arsenal

Despite the Dutchman's refusal to go on tour with the Gunners, the club's French boss is still hopeful that "one of the best strikers in the world" will remain at the Emirates
Arsene Wenger has repeated his determination to ensure that his wantaway captain Robin van Persie remains an Arsenal player.

The Dutchman, last season’s Premier League top goalscorer, released a statement earlier this summer in which he indicated that he was unwilling to sign an extension to his contract, which is due to expire next summer.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus are all monitoring the 29-year-old's position but Wenger, who is expected to confirm a lack of fitness as the reason for his captain’s failure to take part in the club’s pre-season tour of Asia, believes he will succeed in guaranteeing that Van Persie will stay put in north London.

“For me, Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world, if not the best, and my desire is to keep him at the Club,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

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“As for the rest I will do what is in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club. That, at the moment, is where we are. There is not a lot more to say than that.”

The uncertainty that surrounds Van Persie's future is threatening to undermine Arsenal's build-up to the new campaign, as was the case last year when the transfer sagas of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas cast a cloud over the club, and Wenger is aware of the need to avoid a repeat scenario.

The Frenchman added: “Robin was an exceptional leader last year. But we know how much we had to fight to come third because we missed out the start of the season. After seven games we had lost four and we have learned that for us it is vital for us to focus on the start of the season rather than on any transfers.

“If the transfers happen, they happen. As long as you are at the club you give your best for the club and that is the only pride you can have as a football player and as a manager.

“As long as you are somewhere you give your best every day for that club. If it changes, it changes. I am convinced that Robin is like that, he is completely focused every day on his job. He loves football, he loves the game and as long as he is here he will do that.”

Wenger has already strengthened his attack this summer with the additions of experienced Germany international Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud from Montpellier, and the Frenchman admits any further window shopping will be influenced by who leaves the club in the next six weeks.

As well as the potential exit of Van Persie, Carlos Vela has already departed for Real Sociedad while the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Andrey Arshavin and Sebastien Squillaci continue to be linked with moves away from north London.

"We are still looking to add one or two players but it depends also on how many go out because we have to respect the squad number," Wenger continued.

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"It's important to respect that so before we get players in we have to get some players out. That has not happened yet, the market is very quiet.

"I cannot tell you anything concrete about the situation [regarding those who might leave] because if they are not finding clubs they will stay here and be players of the squad. At the moment I cannot give you any concrete or clear indication."

Also absent from Arsenal's touring party are new signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, the latter of whom was signed as a potential direct replacement for Van Persie, as well as long-term injury victims Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna.

There is plenty of youth in the squad, particularly in midfield, where 18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of five teenagers in the middle and seven overall. Thomas Vermaelen is included in defence and will be expected to captain the side. Theo Walcott, linked with a move away, also travels.

Arsenal squad to tour Asia in full: Wojciech Szczesny, Vito Mannone, Lukasz Fabianski; Ignasi Miquel, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Johan Djourou, Thomas Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Kyle Bartley; Chuks Aneke, Thomas Eisfeld, Craig Eastmond, Ryo Miyaichi, Nico Yennaris, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Francis Coquelin, Alex Song, Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta; Marouane Chamakh, Theo Walcott, Benik Afobe, Gervinho.