Nigel Winterburn urges Arsenal to go on spending spree to convince Robin van Persie to stay


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The Independent Football

Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn has urged Arsene Wenger to embark on a spending spree to convince Robin van Persie his future remains at Emirates Stadium.

Van Persie is determined to leave the Gunners with Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus pursuing a player valued at £20-30million.

The recent signings of Germany striker Lukas Podolski and France forward Olivier Giroud have failed to persuade Van Persie that his ambitions can be realised in north London.

Winterburn, who made 440 appearances during 13 years at Arsenal, believes only a sustained recruitment drive will tempt the 28-year-old Holland marksman to stay.

"Arsenal have bought a couple of players and you can only hope they continue to strengthen throughout the summer," he told talkSPORT.

"Somehow that might persuade Van Persie this is the right club and that they've started to move in a different direction from the past five or six years."

Arsenal face another summer of discontent as they battle to keep hold of their prized asset.

Last year Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri secured transfers out of Arsenal while Van Persie and winger Theo Walcott, whose contract also expires in 12 months, could follow suit.

Winterburn fears the Gunners' descent into a "selling club" has rendered them incapable of challenging for the title.

"Arsenal should not be a selling club. Forget about the board," he said.

"The most important thing is the manager and players and that the players go into each season believing they've got a chance of winning something.

"The precedent was set last year losing Fabregas and Nasri and now it looks like Van Persie may go, and that starts to put doubt into players' minds.

"It's very difficult for Arsenal to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

"As a player you need to believe you can challenge for the title and last year Arsenal were miles away.

"Getting into the Champions League is great, but as a player that's not enough. That's the minimum requirement.

"As a player you want to be in the mix [for the title] in March and April when the excitement really starts."

Arsenal's chances of retaining Van Persie are bleak according to City defender Kolo Toure, whose seven-year spell with the Gunners ended in 2009.

Toure has warned the Gunners that City "does what it wants in transfers" and would like to see his former team-mate at Eastlands.

"Robin is a top player. I've played with him, I know him and he's a great man," the centre-back is reported as saying by the Manchester Evening News.

"At City we have great players and the club does what it wants in transfers.

"But for me, if Robin comes it's great because I know what he can do.

"You have to build your squad every year to do better; to win the Champions League is very difficult as we have seen."