Arsenal must not sell Robin van Persie – Gervinho

The Dutch striker's contract has just 18 months left, causing some to speculate on a summer sale, but the Ivorian winger feels it is vital that the skipper stays at the Emirates
Gervinho has revealed his belief that it is vitally important that Arsenal retain the services of club captain Robin van Persie.

The Dutch striker, who broke the club record for the most Premier League goals scored in a calendar year in 2011, is currently contracted to the club until the summer of 2013, leading some to speculate that the Gunners could be forced to cash in on their prize asset.

However, Gervinho is keen to see the 28-year-old remain at the Emirates, telling The Daily Mirror: “I don't want the sale of Robin van Persie. Arsenal is a team that needs good footballers and leaders on the field.

“Robin is a player who pushes companions to work harder and give more effort during matches. He is a dream to play with.

“Van Persie is the captain and the boss in the group, without doubt. I saw that from my first day at the club.

“For me, when opponents see Robin on the other side, it is a huge psychological blow. I am always happy playing with him.”

The Ivory Coast international also apologised to fans after departing to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations, which gets under way in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea this month.

“I am sorry I can't help my [Arsenal] team-mates but the Ivory Coast needs my collaboration,” he stated.

“My country is very important and our challenge is to reach the final.”

The former Lille man has made 24 appearances for the Gunners since his summer switch to north London, scoring six goals in the process.