Robin van Persie, who has carried on his sensational form with a well taken brace against an inexperienced Northern Ireland side, revealed role model Theirry Henry gave him an inspirational message that he will keep fresh in his mind ahead of the Euro 2012 finals. But what Gooners around the world want to hear is the latest in his contract negotiations.
While talks are on hold until after the upcoming European tournament, there are positive signs he may still be a Gunner next season after his first interview since the imposed media ban.
The media have spun the silence as something negative, that contract talks hit a stump and the Gunners have conceded they will loose their talisman this summer. But the way the Arsenal captain expressed his gratitude for the “great season with my club” and the fact he “trained more hours than anyone at Arsenal” feels like he is a happy camper, but will naturally want to seek some assurances over Arsenal’s future.
The Mirror revealed Van Persie said:
Thierry told me things about the big matches you face as a player.
I have played 60 games this season, I have not missed a single league match for Arsenal.
Now we have been playing all kind of friendly matches with the Dutch team. But Thierry says many of those games are about doing your job and keeping good form.
It comes down to the big moments where I have to decide big games.
I agree with him and it is good to hear. For me, the next big moment is when I face Denmark in Ukraine.
I used to get worked up about big tournaments, but not anymore. I have the experience from my years at Arsenal and I can look back on a great season with my club.
Stats don’t tell you the whole story, but it does prove my fitness at Arsenal and in the Premier League. I feel fitter than ever before. I don’t need time to recover either after a match.
[On his future at Arsenal] We have both promised that we are not going to comment on anything and I will stick to that.
You can also see that Arsenal are acting in the same way, as we discussed. The club does not say anything either, because that is what we said we would do.
I feel better and stronger than I have ever done thanks to this season at Arsenal.
I have run more miles than anyone, I have scored more goals than anyone in the Premier League and I have trained more hours than any player at Arsenal.
I go into this tournament with no worries
Talks will carry on after the Euro competition with Wenger and the indication that Van Persie has ‘no worries’ over his immediate future is comforting.
It’s become common knowledge that Wenger will have to reinforce the squad to secure the Dutchman’s signature, and perhaps one way to keep RVP is to bring in his compatriot and close friend Ibrahim Afellay.
The Netherland international winger shares a special bond with Van Persie and has become surplus to requirements at the Nou camp since his long injury layoff and is believed to be available for a cheap £6m.
He is an extremely versatile attacker that can act as a playmaker behind the striker or out wide, and will show Europe what he’s made of in this summers tournament.
For such a low fee Wenger shouldn’t really be thinking twice, especially as Afellay could be enough to persuade Van Persie to stay with the Gunners. Wenger will need more wide reinforcements if Arshavin departs this summer and now Benayoun is back at Chelsea, Afellay would be a smart buy on all levels.
What do you think of Van Persie’s comments and the rumours linking his compatriot to the Gunners? Feel free to comment below or in the allArsenal forum under the RVP or Afellay thread.