Robin Van Persie Will Stay at Arsenal, Says Mikel Arteta

H AndelAnalyst IIIFebruary 29, 2012

Mikel Arteta and teammates like Robin van Persie.
Mikel Arteta and teammates like Robin van Persie.Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta has become Arsenal's latest player to urge Robin van Persie to stay at Arsenal.

Readers would recall that in January, Gervinho sounded what was essentially an SOS to Arsenal, the club, to do all they can to retain the mercurial forward.

Sky Sports carried Gervinho's word on their website on February 14.

I don't want Robin van Persie to be sold. Arsenal is a team that needs great footballers and leaders on the pitch.

And Robin is a player that pushes his teammates to work more and do more during a match.

It is a dream to play with him. He is the captain, the leader of the group, there is no doubt.

I could see it from my very first day at the club. I believe when our adversaries see Robin in the team, it is a huge psychological shock.

Although Arteta's words are not a plea per se, but rather a statement of belief that van Persie will stay on at Arsenal, his words reveal how highly the Dutchman's teammates regard him.

I do not see van Persie leaving Arsenal.

He is completely unaffected by interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona and not thinking about his contract renewal either.

Now he is very calm and is not nervous about anything. I know he has said that in the summer he will consider things, talk it over and take the decision that he will take.

It is not a direct plea, but one can't be completely mistaken to detect it at a subterranean level.

As Wenger has pointed out recently, a leader is very important to the success of a team. Although his reference concerns national teams, it applies to clubs as well.

I believe that you can have a good team yet still not win trophies with a national team because you need one exceptional leader in the side.

I remember the France side of the late 1950s and early ‘60s with Raymond Kopa in the team had a very good period. Then again in the 1980s with Michel Platini; then we had a very good period in the 1990s with Zinedine Zidane.

Of course there were fantastic players around him, like Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit, but you need one outstanding leader who can absorb the pressure from the media. You need one player who can be the technical leader on the pitch, who can do something special to win a tight game.

You must be lucky as a national manager to have that player available at the right moment.

The reader can find many examples that makes this relevant at club level.

Robin van Persie himself, although still veiled, appears to indicate that he is willing—at least—to stay on at Arsenal. The Sun reports the following words:

I have been at the club for eight years and I am proud of that.

I am a true Gunner. I love this club and that is no secret.

I will sit down with the manager and president at the end of the season and we will have coffee together.

We will talk about many things but I already do that quite often with the manager anyway.

It is not the same as etching it on stone,  nevertheless it is a ray of hope.

Hope is a commodity that can't hurt Arsenal at the present time.