By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger insists Arsenal “aren’t far” from agreeing a new deal for Robin van Persie.

The Dutchman has enjoyed an outstanding campaign after shrugging off the injuries which had hampered his progress since Arsenal moved to Emirates Stadium in 2006.

Van Persie memorably scored or assisted every Arsenal goal in January and has scooped three consecutive O2/ Player of the Month awards.

Wenger believes that the 25-year-old forward has taken on extra responsibility this season and admits that a ‘focused’ Van Persie is key to Arsenal’s success.

“The latest news is that we try to extend his contract and we aren’t far,” revealed Wenger at his pre-match press conference.

“Of course he has a big responsibility because we have many offensive players who have been out. Eduardo and Rosicky - a year. Cesc Fabregas and Walcott - three months. We have a lot of offensive players out and we have to do something about that.

“Robin is completely focused and motivated to do it like the rest of the team. He knows he is at the right age to win trophies. He sees that we have the potential to do it. He is highly focused I must say.”

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24 Feb 2009