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EUROPE > Van Persie ‘world class,’ says Wenger

KUALA LUMPUR - Agence France-Presse

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Arsene Wenger. AP photo

Arsene Wenger. AP photo

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger repeated his determination yesterday to keep the want-away striker Robin van Persie at the English Premier League club, describing the Dutchman as “world class.”

Wenger spoke in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, where Arsenal arrived for the first leg of a three-match Asian pre-season tour minus the 28-year-old who rejected a new contract offer from the Gunners earlier this month. “Robin van Persie is a world class striker,” Wenger said, adding: “You know I am a big supporter of him.” The Arsenal manager said the striker, who won both the Players’ and Football Writers’ Player of the Year awards last season, was “in demand” but added: “Our desire is to keep Van Persie.”

Wenger hinted, however, that the Dutch may be allowed to leave for the right price. “At the end of the day, we will do what is in the best interests of the club,” he said.

Van Persie, who scored 37 goals in all competitions last season, stunned Wenger when he declared after Euro 2012 that he wanted to leave because he felt the north London club’s ambitions did not match his own.

The striker has a year left on his current deal and Arsenal will be considering whether to cash in on their prize asset, rather than see him leave for nothing on a free transfer.

July/23/2012

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