In official news from Arsenal that confirmed some media reports leaked over the weekend, Robin van Persie has joined a number of Gunner teammates by signing a new, long-term contract with the club.
Arsenal’s leading goalscorer this past season with 20 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions, van Persie is the sixth player to renew terms this off-season. Theo Walcott and Lukasz Fabianski signed new deals in June, while youngsters Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs all committed to Arsenal within the past week.
Joining Arsenal in 2004, van Persie is an FA Cup winner with the Gunners (in 2005) and played a major role last season in leading the north London club to the semifinals of the FA Cup and the Champions League. In the 2008-09 season, he notched 11 Premier League goals, scored five times in the Champions League and added four goals in the FA Cup run.
“It’s fantastic news that Robin van Persie has committed his long term future to Arsenal Football Club; we’re all delighted,” said Arsene Wenger, in the official announcement on http://www.arsenal.com. “Robin is a hugely gifted player and has the talent and goalscoring ability to win matches at the very top level. We have already seen many times what Robin is capable of on a football pitch, but at only 25 (years old), there is still much more to come from him. Robin has the potential to become a true Arsenal great.”
Speaking himself on the new deal, van Persie said: “My heart is with Arsenal and I just can’t picture myself in a different shirt. I just can’t see it now because I love this club so much. If you look at the last five years, look at the steps I have made every season, if you look at the support the Boss and the whole club gave me, the fans gave me, my team mates gave me — this is the right decision.”
“We have a top class manager, a squad full of superb young players, a world class stadium and brilliant supporters,” continued van Persie. “Arsenal Football Club has a very bright future and I want to be part of it.”
While supporters naturally clamor for new signings for their club each off-season in hopes of attaining titles, Wenger and Arsenal have seemed to focus on re-signing current players this summer — as the club aims to continue its established approach of building talent within its ranks to pursue success on the pitch, a point made by new CEO Ivan Gazidis when discussing this latest renewal.
“We’re very happy that Robin has committed his long-term future to the club. He is a world-class footballer and an important part of the team we are building,” stated Gazidis in an interview on the club’s official web site. “He is 25 years old and will now be with Arsenal through the peak years of his career. Robin is also a very popular member of the squad — with supporters, team mates and staff — and, to accompany his skills, he’s a fierce competitor.
“Sometimes, understandably, the public focus is on new signings, but, especially as the football world becomes more and more competitive for the best talent, re-signing a current member of the squad is as important as — actually, usually more important than — making a new signing,” added Gazidis. “This is another indication that we are focused on keeping our best talent here and are building a strong foundation for the long-term success of the club.”