Another blow for Wenger as Van Persie stalls on new deal

Arsenal captain's contract is running down, raising fears he could follow Nasri out of Emirates

Sam Wallace
Monday 26 September 2011 00:00 BST

Robin van Persie has said that he has not yet made up his mind whether he will sign a new contract with Arsenal, prompting fears that the club will find themselves in the same position with their captain next summer as they were with Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy in the last transfer window.

The striker, who reached a century of Arsenal goals with his two against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, has two seasons on his existing deal including the current one. He is the most senior player in a group including Thomas Vermaelen, Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin who could potentially go into next summer with just one year left on their deals.

Arsène Wenger admitted on Friday that even the maximum salaries that Arsenal were capable of paying might not be enough to persuade his best players to stay at the club. Undoubtedly Van Persie is the key to keeping the likes of Vermaelen and Walcott, who are likely to think differently about Arsenal's future if the captain commits.

Asked whether he could give the Arsenal fans any encouragement about his future, Van Persie said: "I still have almost two years [on the existing deal] until 2013. So for the moment that's fine, but I don't know. We will have to look. I'm happy with my contract, I'm good. That's how it is, I can't say much more. I can't look into the future."

Van Persie said he would "maybe" leave negotiations until the end of the season. "The main thing for me is the team and that we play well," he said. "I do believe you have to look for a right moment to sit down and speak about your own stuff. It's not only about me, it's about the team... I don't think it's clever to do that during the season."

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