Five players Arsene Wenger must keep at Arsenal

The key figures who must stay at the Emirates

Wojciech Szczesny Athletic, agile and bursting with confidence, a quality sadly lacking in Arsenal goalkeepers since Jens Lehmann’s first departure three years ago. He is still too young to be Arsenal’s undisputed No1, and Arsene Wenger must try to reinforce this position with a senior buy over the summer, but the young Pole is clearly a long-term Gunner in the making.

Robin van Persie

The Dutch striker is now moving into his prime. An extraordinary record of scoring in nine successive away games at the end of the season outlined his importance. RVP deserves some medals to go with his talent and loyalty. Now has 95 goals and will no doubt hit the 100 club, like compatriot Dennis Bergkamp, next season.

Samir Nasri

The Frenchman has been at the centre of speculation he is set to leave. Let’s hope he stays, because for much of the season he was Arsenal’s outstanding performer, perhaps the best player in the league for the first five months. His skills unlocked many a defence, particularly when played centrally, and he seemed to improve those around him. One of the best prospects in European football…

Jack Wilshere

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In the eyes of Arsenal fans, the young player of the year can do no wrong. The midfielder was a true revelation and his form begged the questions; why was he sent out on loan last season, particularly after destroying Glasgow Rangers in the Emirates Cup in the summer of 2009? Technically perfect, but with a real English bite, he is destined to be a mainstay of the next generation.

Thomas Vermaelen

Oh, how the Belgian stopper was needed. Out from the end of August until the penultimate game of the season, the 26-year-old’s presence was sorely missed. Strong, determined, organised and a scorer of goals when the need arises, he is Arsenal’s Vidic, Terry and King. His achilles injury remains a concern simply due to the length of time he was on the sidelines, but a fit and strong Vermaelen can only improve a struggling defence in 2011/12.