By Chris Harris
If Arsène Wenger could have three wishes before Arsenal launch their next title challenge, an injury-free season for Robin van Persie might well be one of them.
The Dutch forward has been dogged by injury over the past 16 months with a broken metarsal, knee ligaments and thigh problems all playing their part in restricting Van Persie to just 23 appearances since January 21 last year.
The 24-year-old was supposed to be the focal point of Arsenal's attack in the wake of Thierry Henry's departure last summer and lived up to his billing with seven goals in his first 11 games this season. But he was stopped in his tracks by an injury sustained on international duty in October.
Emmanuel Adebayor shouldered the attacking burden impressively in Van Persie's absence, scoring 30 goals in all competitions. Nonetheless, at a Q&A with Arsenal shareholders, Wenger expressed his hope and belief that the Dutchman will be fit enough to share the load next season.
"Robin is unfortunate with injuries at the moment but in my opinion it is nothing more than that," said Wenger.
"It's true that he has missed many, many games this year. We lost him and Eduardo at the same period and it was really bad luck because Eduardo had come on well too.
"You always hope that next season Robin will have an injury-free season. He has so much talent so I am very keen to keep him, I trust him and I hope that he will get rid of his injuries.
"It's simple. For me, Robin van Persie is world class, top, top class."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 13 May 2008