By Chris Harris
Robin van Persie's performances this season show he is a fighter as well as a world-class talent, according to Arsène Wenger.
The Arsenal captain has delivered 27 goals and 13 assists in the Premier League alone and his contribution was recognised this week as the PFA and Football Writers' Association made him their Player of the Year.
Wenger believes Van Persie was a worthy winner of both awards and says the Dutchman has developed more than just his game.
"I believe he was consistent, he had an exceptional year because he scored goals but he was as well a provider," said Wenger. "I think that's what people admired with him this season, the fact he was not only a goalscorer but also a guy who provided assists.
"But something that was maybe questioned about him in the past is that he was a fighter. I think he added that combative side to his game, as a leader and a captain in the team, and that's what certainly convinced everybody.
"He has grown mentally and you see it better when you look back with a distance. The young player who arrived here and the man he is today, I believe he has grown a lot and made a big, big, massive improvement on that front. He has grown into a leader and he is a great captain now, on and off the pitch."
Van Persie will sit down with Wenger this summer to discuss his future at Emirates Stadium and the manager would like a conclusion reached before the European Championship begins in June.
"That's what I will try to achieve," said Wenger. "I am confident [he will stay] for two reasons. First of all I want to convince him to stay here and to extend his contract. Secondly he is not free at the end of this season, he has one year of his contract left anyway."Copyright 2017 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