Arsenal have 72 hours to re-sign Van Persie
Published 23:00 20/04/12 By John Cross
Arsene Wenger has given Robin van Persie a 72-hour deadline to resolve his Arsenal future.
The Dutch striker, who will start his 50th game of the season for club and country against Chelsea on Saturday, is favourite to win both Player of the Year awards.
Wenger is desperate to get his star player to commit to a new contract, as his current deal runs out in 2013.
Van Persie is due to play in Arsenal’s final game of the season at West Brom on May 13, then report for pre-Euro 2012 training with the Netherlands national team on the 17th.
And Wenger insists that 72-hour window will be when any new deal is agreed.
The Arsenal boss said: “It will be sorted at the end of the season - before the Euros.”
Wenger insists there is no fear of burnout after the biggest season of Van Persie’s career, which has made it even more important to tie him down to a new contract.
“The number of games he’s played is beyond expectation and for a striker it’s massive. He is physically good,” added the Frenchman.
“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.
“But 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.
“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.
“If we create the chances, he will score.”
Van Persie, who has scored 38 goals in 49 appearances to date, is expected to win the PFA Player of the Year award at their dinner on Sunday evening.
He is also favourite to take the Football Writers’ equivalent, voting for which closes this weekend.
Speculation that he might quit the Gunners grew after he visited the Barcelona team at their London hotel on Monday night after the Wigan defeat and before the Catalans' Champions League match at Chelsea.
But Wenger added: “I wasn’t concerned. After the game, you can go to have dinner. He’s got friends there – Afellay, Fabregas. Why shouldn’t he?”
Real Madrid and Inter Milan are also interested, while Juventus claim they met Van Persie's representatives this week.