Robin Van Persie: 5 Steps Arsenal Must Take to Keep Him
Things are going well for Arsenal at the minute.
Since their early-season nadir they have steadily climbed the table and recently leaped above local rivals Tottenham Hotspur to take third place in the Premier League table.
However, through their great run of seven league wins on the bounce there has been an elephant in the room: Robin van Persie is yet to sign a new contract.
The club captain and star striker's current deal runs out at the end of next season, leaving many Arsenal fans fearing the worst.
Here are five things that Arsenal can do to make sure he puts pen to paper on a new deal this summer.
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A very basic offering, and perhaps not at the top of the player's list of priorities, but Arsenal must make sure that what they put on the table reflects Van Persie's status.
The Dutchman has proven over the past two seasons that he truly is one of the best strikers in the world, and he deserves a new deal which fits that billing.
Arsenal may not stick quite as rigidly to a strict wage structure as they once did, but they should be prepared to fund an unprecedented wage for the only superstar player left on their books.
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Players of Van Persie's calibre can often be seduced into joining one of Europe's mega-clubs by the prospect of playing with some of the best footballers in the world on a weekly basis. That is just not happening for him with this current Arsenal side.
Van Persie has had to carry the goalscoring burden all by himself this season. He has scored 26 league goals this term. The rest of the squad's forwards—Theo Walcott, Marouane Chamakh, Park Chu-Yong and Gervinho—have netted only 11 between them.
Signing another top-class striker this summer with whom he can form a real partnership—perhaps the long-moored capture of Lukas Podolski would suffice—will go a long way keeping Van Persie excited about playing for Arsenal.
No More Selling Stars
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The departures of both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri last summer equaled a big blow for Arsenal. Not just in terms of losing two key players, but also because it established the Gunners as a selling club in the eyes of many.
Van Persie must have seen his two most talented teammates moving on and wondered whether Arsenal is the right club for him to achieve his ambitions.
While there are no players apart from the Dutchman left at the club who are in the same bracket, allowing any more prized assets to leave would only add to his concerns
Champions League Football
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Another no-brainer. Arsenal simply have to be able to offer Van Persie Champions League football if they can realistically hope to get him to commit to a new deal.
Right now, they are looking good for an automatic spot, sitting as they are three points clear of Tottenham in third place with eight games remaining. Even if they were to be usurped by their local rivals, the gap between them and the other clubs in the top six should mean they at least finish with a playoff spot.
However, should the unthinkable happen and Arsenal somehow slip to fifth place, the Europa League group stage is not exactly the best incentive for a world-class striker to commit the peak years of his career to the Gunners.
Wenger Must Reassert His Own Commitment
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The one man at the heart of everything Arsenal is today is Arsene Wenger. The French coach has taken the club from one of the worst to watch in the English top flight to one of the best over the course of his historic tenure.
His philosophy about the game and his paternal personality towards his players has seen many supremely talented players choose Arsenal as a destination and also make them stay. Buying into Wenger's vision is what makes players flock to him.
While there is of course no indication that Wenger will be leaving any time soon, Van Persie will want assurances that as long as he is going to remain at the Emirates Stadium then his manager is too.