Arsenal finalise offer they hope will convince Robin van Persie
Gunners offer Dutchman new deal to 2016 and are hopeful he will sign it
Arsenal are ready to offer Robin van Persie the most lucrative contract in the club’s history to persuade the Gunners captain to stay at the Emirates.
In a week that has seen the Premier League’s leading scorer scoop both the PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year awards, speculation over the Dutchman’s future has intensified.
Manager Arsene Wenger has set a deadline of May 17 for concluding contract talks with his captain – the day Van Persie flies out of London to join up with the Holland squad for the European Championship finals.
“That will be sorted at the end of the season and yes before the European Championships,” said Wenger, who added he was “not worried” by the speculation that has linked the 28-year-old striker with moves to Manchester City, Barcelona and Juventus in the past week.
However, the Arsenal board have put together a deal they believe is too good to refuse to keep Van Persie in north London.
The Gunners are prepared to offer a three-year extension to Van Persie’s current deal, taking him to 2016, and on improved terms of more than �140,000 a week to make him the highest earner in the club’s history.
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The Dutchman has been at Arsenal since 2004, and admitted on Sunday night that he could only dream about being voted the best player in the country when he arrived at Highbury.
“This is a dream coming true for me. Eight years ago I moved to England to come and play for Arsenal in the biggest league around. To get this award is just indescribable,” said Van Persie, who became the fourth Arsenal player to win the award after Liam Brady (1979), Dennis Bergkamp (1998) and Thierry Henry (2003 and 2004).
“I have to thank my club Arsenal for giving [me] the chance to play at this beautiful club. Arsenal has been like my home the last eight years.
“Then I would like to thank my manager Arsene Wenger for giving me a chance and believing in me, even through the hard times. I would not be the player I am without him.”
Van Persie admitted he would “sit down and have a chat with the manager as usual at the end of the season – nothing special,” in his acceptance speech and added: “I have a contract at Arsenal until 2013.”
Van Persie has insisted all season he would wait until the summer to decide his future, with the 2005 FA Cup still the only trophy he has won.
However, the Arsenal board are confident that, as long as the club qualify for next season’s Champions League and bring in established signings such as Germany striker Lukas Podolski, Van Persie will be happy to prolong his stay.