By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has re-iterated his desire to keep Robin van Persie at Arsenal Football Club.

Earlier this summer, the Dutch striker indicated he would not be signing a new deal at Emirates Stadium - a decision that prompted speculation he may leave north London.

The 28-year-old is missing the Club’s tour of Asia in order to work on his fitness. Before departing the UK himself, Wenger indicated he wanted to retain his captain but he would be pragmatic about the situation.

“For me, Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world, if not the best, and my desire is to keep him at the Club.” he told Arsenal Player.

“As for the rest I will do what is in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club. That, at the moment, is where we are. There is not a lot more to say than that.”

However the manager is aware that an on-going situation could affect his side’s start to the new Premier League season. They suffered in that period last year and he would act to avoid a repeat.

“Robin was an exceptional leader last year,” he said, “but we know how much we had to fight to come third because we missed out the start of the season. After seven games we had lost four and we have learned that for us it is vital for us to focus on the start of the season rather than on any transfers.

“If the transfers happen, they happen. As long as you are at the Club you give your best for the Club and that is the only pride you can have as a football player and as a manager.

“As long as you are somewhere you give your best every day for that club. If it changes, it changes. I am convinced that Robin is like that, he is completely focused every day on his job. He loves football, he loves the game and as long as he is here he will do that.”

Watch the full interview with Wenger on Arsenal Player.

Copyright 2014 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 21 Jul 2012