ARSENAL MANAGER Arsene Wenger says Robin van Persie’s future at the club will be decided before Euro 2012.
Van Persie’s existing deal ends in 2013 but Wenger hopes he can tie the 28-year-old down to a new contract before the striker begins his Euro 2012 campaign with the Netherlands in June.
Wenger told reporters: “It will be sorted at the end of the season — before the Euros.”
The 62-year-old manager added he was not worried about Van Persie’s visit to Barcelona’s hotel on Wednesday, which fuelled reports linking him with a move to the Spanish club in the off season.
“I wasn’t concerned,” he said. ”After the game, you can go to have dinner. He’s got friends there — Afellay, Fabregas. Why shouldn’t he.”
Van Persie, who scored 38 goals so far in all competitions this season, is the favourite to win the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award and Wenger believes the striker’s outstanding return is the result of a long-overdue injury-free campaign.
“The number of games he’s played is beyond expectation and for a striker it’s massive,” he said. ”He is physically good.”
“He has a very healthy life, very focused on football — he takes care of everything. That’s why he manages to do that. He is like Thierry Henry in that respect.”
Van Persie has scored just once in his last six matches, and Wenger feels his star man is suffering from burnout after playing 49 matches already this term. With Arsenal chasing a Champions League place, Wenger hopes other players can start contributing vital goals.
“When you play 50 games at that level you suffer a little bit. He suffered against Wigan on Monday because we didn’t create a lot,” he said, referring to the Gunners shock 2-1 loss last week.
“Let’s not put too much pressure on him. We cannot ask for too much more from Robin, he has given absolutely everything and he will again against Chelsea. I don’t want to put on his head and his shoulders the fact he absolutely has to score because I believe we can score from different compartments in the team.”
Arsenal host Chelsea in English Premier League today looking to consolidate third place in the table.