Wenger dreaming of Van Persie stay

Frenchman may doubt own future at Arsenal but wants that of top scorer resolved

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has vowed to do all he can to persuade top scorer Robin van Persie to sign a new contract at the club, despite the Frenchman hinting at doubts over his own future.

Van Persie (right) underlined his value to the Gunners with both goals in Saturday’s comeback win at top-flight newcomers Norwich, strikes that took his tally for 2011 to 31 in 29 Premier League games.

Such form has only increased Arsenal’s desperation to tie their captain down and avoid the kind of lingering uncertainty over his future that preceded last summer’s departure of Samir Nasri. But Van Persie, 28, is thought to want to wait until the summer before re-opening talks, when he will have just 12 months left on his contract and the club will be in a more difficult bargaining position.

“My dream is that Van Persie stays until the end of his career at this club,” Wenger said. “I will do the maximum I can to try to convince him and I hope I will manage to do that.”

Van Persie’s extraordinary year has seen him compared to the best forwards in the world, and Wenger added: “Robin has some competitors there but he is one of the best of course. He is exceptional and has something that you cannot give to people. He always makes the right decisions in a fraction of a second when there is little time available, that makes him exceptional.”

Wenger’s praise came as he admitted he would consider bringing his 15-year reign to a close at the end of the season, after a turbulent spell in which he has had to reassess his whole approach.

“The only reason I would not respect my contract to the end would be if I feel I am not good enough to do the job any more,” he said. “So I will wait until the end of the season and see then if I have managed to get the most out of my team.”

But Wenger stressed that too much should not be read into his pondering of the end of his Arsenal career, following a win that leaves them level on points with Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.

“It was nothing in my mind especially, just the fact that the journalist asked me if I would ever leave the club. I said the only way I could do it is if I feel I am a pain for the club,” he added. “I can return this question to you: what do you expect of me?

We want to play football that makes Arsenal proud and gives enjoyment to people who come and watch us.”