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Monday, November 14, 2011

Arsenal hoping they are not a one man team

A large part of the recent Arsenal revival this season has been down to the blistering performances of their Dutch hit-man Robin van Persie, so this week the news that he will put off talks over a possible contract extension until the summer will leave the Gunners' fans with mixed feelings.

On one hand they will be delighted that he has not rules out the possibility of elongating his stay in North London, but they will be simultaneously concerned over the level of power enjoyed by individuals over their clubs in the modern game – a point highlighted by the summer exits of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Gael Clichy.

Having been signed by Arsene Wenger from Feyenoord back in 2004, in the last seven seasons he has never given any indications of being unhappy at the Emirates – and since being made club captain at the start of the season following Fabregas' departure in August, no one can have doubted his commitment to the team's cause. Anyone following the latest Champions League betting will know how crucial he is to the side.

However, the run of form that he is currently enjoying is actually a double-edged sword. Whilst his goals propel them towards a top-four finish in May – a necessary part Wenger's plan to encourage his talisman to extend his contract – his value to the club markedly increases every week that he bails his team-mates out of trouble.

To put this into context, without the Dutchman's goals or assists, over the course of 2011 Arsenal would have won only five league games; that they have actually claimed 14 scalps from their domestic counterparts speaks volumes as to van Persie's importance to the club.

Arsenal's chairman Peter Hill-Wood remains upbeat about the club's chances of hanging onto the prized asset next summer however, stating yesterday that: "We hope he will sign a new contract - I don't see why he shouldn't."

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