Wenger keen to avoid repeat of Fabregas saga
LONDON - Reuters
Losing high-scoring star Robin Van Persie is a nightmare scenario for Arsenal. AP photoArsenal manager Arsene Wenger is determined to avoid the indecision that marred the start of the current campaign by sorting out new contracts for the club’s leading players.
Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri both began the season at the Emirates under a cloud as predicted moves played out before they eventually signed for Barcelona and Manchester City respectively before the end of the August transfer window.
The uncertainty coincided with a woeful start for Arsenal in the Premier League and Wenger says the club will work to agree new deals for players such as Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Alex Song, all of whom are coming towards the end of their contracts.
Losing Dutchman Van Persie, who has scored 26 league goals this season, is a nightmare scenario for the Gunners although their red-hot form, which has brought seven consecutive league wins to allow them to climb to third, could prove vital in keeping him.
“We will try to arrange new contracts very early,” Wenger said at a news conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to London rivals Queens Park Rangers where victory could open up a six-point gap on fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
“Yes I am confident that these players will commit,” he added when asked if he thought the club could hang on to players such as Van Persie. “To say that I am always confident, yes I am. Of course we want to keep our best players.
“These players want to win things and they want to be in a team that has a chance. Our end of season (form) will help me to convince them that they can (win things) here. It depends now how well we finish.” Arsenal was being written off earlier this season, with some even predicting they would struggle to finish in the top six, but the consistency of Van Persie and the return of key defenders such as Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny proved invaluable in their return to form.
Wenger said all that would be worthless if they took their eye off the ball now.
“What we can hope for is to be third. We can be fourth, we can be fifth, we can be sixth - we want to be as high as possible and that depends on our consistency now,” he said. “We are in a position that nobody expected us to be in. “I see us fighting like mad on Saturday. That’s all I see, I don’t see further.”