By Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger has shed light on Robin van Persie’s surprise possible inclusion in the squad for Tuesday’s game against Barcelona.

The Dutch striker was a late call up to the 19-man travelling party that touched down in Spain on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg.

Van Persie had been expected to miss the game with the knee injury he picked up in the act of scoring Arsenal’s equaliser in the Carling Cup Final on February 27. Indeed, Wenger had penciled the 27-year-old in to return for the Premier League fixture against Blackburn - four weeks away.

Now Van Persie has made the trip to Barcelona the manager insists he isn’t there to make up the numbers, but says he is undecided as to whether he will feature.

“He is here as a player,” said Wenger. “He will have a possible test tomorrow.

“We are 19 here in the squad. Whether Van Persie will be included has not been decided yet.

“He has made quick progress in the last three days. When I spoke [with him] this [Monday] morning he was really unlikely to travel. [But] he wanted to have a go.

“We made a test and it was quite positive. We will see how he responds to that and I will make a decision tomorrow [Tuesday] morning.

“We will not take a gamble in a game of that importance. So he will have to be fit or not fit.”

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7 Mar 2011