Arsenal hold firm over Van Persie

Arsenal "are confident" Robin van Persie will fulfil his commitments to the club despite their captain insisting that he had to leave the Emirates Stadium to win trophies.

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Netherlands international van Persie on Wednesday night issued a carefully-worded statement on his official website revealing he would not be penning an extension to his current deal with the Gunners, which expires next summer. The 28-year-old netted 37 goals in all competitions last season as Arsenal eventually secured third place.

Manager Arsene Wenger recently declared the club must retain their talisman "at all costs", but - despite meeting with Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis at the end of last season and the signings of Germany striker Lukas Podolski as well as France forward Olivier Giroud - van Persie remains unconvinced he can fulfil his ambitions with the club he joined from Feyenoord in 2004.

Both Serie A winners Juventus and Premier League champions Manchester City are said to be ready to test Arsenal's resolve with a £20 million-plus bid.

However, the Gunners - who last summer saw both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri sold - could also look to hold van Persie to the terms of his deal.

A brief statement on the club's official website read: "Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfil his commitments to the club. We have to respect Robin's decision not to renew his contract. We are planning with ambition and confidence for next season with Arsenal's best interests in mind."

Van Persie will turn 29 in August, and the next contract he agrees could well be his last at the highest level.

Arsenal are set to tour Asia at the end of the month, and will also play a game in Nigeria. Whether or not their captain will now be part of the travelling squad remains to be seen.

Van Persie, though, made it perfectly clear disagreements over the direction of the club means he does not want any part of Arsenal's long-term future.

In an open letter to fans on his website, he wrote: "This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr Gazidis and Mr Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.

"As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the boss and Mr Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.

"I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days."

He continued: "Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.

"I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.

"I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC," he added.

"Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years.

"As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments."

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