Wenger sets Van Persie deadline
Arsenal manager reiterates desire to keep his captain
Last Updated: July 23, 2012 8:26am
Robin van Persie: Arsenal captain's future is likely to be decided before the start of the season
Arsene Wenger has set a deadline for the future of Arsenal captain Robin van Persie to be resolved after again outlining his desire to keep hold of the striker.
Van Persie recently confirmed that he has no plans to sign an extension to his Arsenal contract, which has a further 12 months to run.
Manchester United have declared an interest in the Netherlands international, while Manchester City and Juventus are also understood to have made bids.
Mindful of the way the Gunners' start to last season was disrupted by transfer speculation surrounding key players, Wenger is keen for the Van Persie issue not to drag on.
Wenger is adamant he will do what is best for Arsenal, but stressed he remains a big supporter of Van Persie, who has not travelled on the pre-season tour to Asia.
Speaking in Malaysia, Wenger said: "Van Persie is a world-class striker and I am a big supporter of him. I have supported him through his whole career. He has one year left and is in demand but our desire is to keep him.
"We will do what is in best interest of the club. If you have a decoder in your head you can decode that."
Arsene Wenger Quotes of the week
"However, we will do what is in best interest of the club. If you have a decoder in your head you can decode that.
"The official transfer deadline is August 31 but then we can create an internal deadline."
Asked if that was before the new season kicks off, he replied: "Of course. I believe the transfer market should stop before the season starts anyway."
Wenger also stated that, whether Van Persie is sold or stays at Emirates Stadium, it will not be an indicator of the level of ambition at Arsenal.
He added: "We are very, very ambitious. You know that. Not only very ambitious, but also very proud of the way we run our club.
"For me, the size of a club is down to the size of the support. It can be the size of the cheque book to others but, for me, it's the size of the support. You cannot question the size of the support. You cannot question the size of the club when one player leaves or stays. That's not linked."