By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger is confident that he can secure the services of Robin van Persie on a long-term contact.
The Dutchman’s deal runs out in the summer of 2010 and his recent form has suggested the manager should do his utmost to keep the 25-year-old at Emirates Stadium.
Van Persie has, at times, struggled with injury since signing from Feyenoord but his season’s tally of 25 starts and 13 goals is as good as any in his previous five years.
Understandably, Wenger wants him to be part of Arsenal’s future.
"I'm convinced it means a lot to Robin to stay here,” said Wenger. “He wants to be part of the Club and of course we have to satisfy his demands as well. I don't think we're far away.
“He knows how much it means to me and we will try to sort him out and Walcott. I've invested a lot of time in him because I feel it is important to them and it means something to them to be at this Club.”
Against West Ham on Saturday, Van Persie is hoping to complete the perfect January – he has scored or assisted every goal so far this month. It has been perhaps his best period at the Club and was capped with an equaliser at Everton on Wednesday which could not be over-praised or over-estimated in its importance.
"I believe him being fit has helped him greatly,” said Wenger. “He is a player who has made an extreme improvement. When you consider the player who arrived here and who he is today it's absolutely fantastic.
"He has two ingredients which are very important - the talent and the motivation. He thinks, lives and breathes football every moment of his life. He is much more mature now as well.
"However if you look at the numbers we are over reliant on him at the moment,” added Wenger. “And the danger is to over play him at the moment. We still have to be a bit cautious with him.”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 30 Jan 2009