Wenger hopes Podolski deal persuades Van Persie to stay


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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger hopes that by signing Lukas Podolski he can convince Robin van Persie to commit himself to the club by agreeing a new deal this summer. The 28-year-old's present deal expires at the end of next season and talks are planned later this month amid interest from a number of top clubs, including Barcelona and Manchester City.

Podolski's £10.9m capture from Cologne was confirmed earlier this week and Wenger believes the arrival of such a high-profile figure – he has played 95 times for Germany, scoring 43 goals – could be an important bargaining tool in convincing Van Persie to stay. "Great players like to be with great players, so it helps always to get them in," the Arsenal manager said yesterday.

"First, we want Robin to stay because he is convinced that we can play for the championship. I believe we have that. We have bought Podolski; our next step is to bring [Jack] Wilshere back, [Abou] Diaby back, then if you look at our squad I don't feel we are behind anybody else."

Wenger claims that, regardless of whether Van Persie signs a new deal this summer, the Dutchman will not leave the club. Arsenal sold Samir Nasri to Manchester City for £24m after deciding to cash in on a player in the final year of his deal and refusing to sign an extension, but Wenger said: "The situations are not comparable. My desire and my wish is to find an agreement with Robin van Persie, extend the contract and stay with us for a longer time. Hopefully, we can reach that.

"If that wouldn't happen, we'll still want him to stay but I am more focused on the first situation. What is important is that we find an agreement with him to be happy and finish his career here.

"When you open your newspapers you see a lot of clubs who want our players but I would just like to say that nobody is at the end of a contract. That means all the decisions are made by the club.

"I cannot guarantee that it will go well but I am quite confident. I believe he is committed to the club; I feel the club has shown great commitment to him and put great faith in him."

Arsenal also confirmed they will travel to Nigeria to play a pre-season match in Abuja on 5 August. Wenger was forced to abandon his preferred low-key training camp in Austria last summer when the club went to the Far East; this summer they will take in visits to Malaysia, China and Hong Kong.

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