Robin van Persie has signed a new deal at Arsenal that will keep him at the Emirates until 2014, allaying fears that he could prompt a mass exodus of the club's top players.
The Dutch international had just one year on his deal left to run but has signed up for an additional four years, making him one of the club's better earners at around £80,000 a week. He follows Theo Walcott in committing himself to Arsène Wenger and is crucial to the Arsenal manager's plans next season.
Van Persie is on holiday in the south of France and will not return for pre-season training until a week on Monday. He had been in contract talks with the club since the new year and, like many of his team-mates, had delayed his decision to sign until he was sure that Arsenal had qualified for the Champions League, which they eventually did by a comfortable margin.
The club have also announced new deals for the teenagers Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs this week, but their most important work has been assuring Van Persie that there is still the potential to challenge for trophies under Wenger. The Dutchman joined from Feyenoord five years ago and has established himself as one of the key members of the squad in the last few seasons.
Sources close to the club have indicated that even if Wenger loses Emmanuel Adebayor this summer –despite the fact that there is less interest in him than 12 months ago – Wenger will not look to sign another striker. Instead he will stick with his current selection – Van Persie, Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Eduardo da Silva and Carlos Vela – for the new season.