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Arsene Wenger concedes Robin van Persie's decision must be respected if he does not extend Arsenal contract

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has reiterated his desire to keep captain Robin van Persie at the club, but insists the player's decision must be respected if he does not extend his current deal.

The Dutchman, whose contract expires in 18 months, bagged an impressive brace in a 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Sunday, and despite the striker committing his future to the Gunners in his programme notes before the game, Wenger insists the "ideal situation" is not always reached.

He told reporters: “The ideal situation doesn’t exist often in football.

“The ideal situation is that he extends the contract. If he doesn’t, you have to respect that. What is important is that he plays like he plays. We are all here to see special football players and he is special.”

The Frenchman went on to praise Van Persie's captaincy and second goal against the Black Cats, which came with the game tied at 1-1 with eight minutes remaining.

Wenger added: “The most important thing is what you do today, tomorrow and how committed you are to the club.

“Many people questioned his leadership qualities but he is completely committed to the cause on a daily basis. On the pitch he does the job.

“His first chance was created by a good display by the team and the second chance he made the difference just with his skill. It was exceptional."