GUNNERS SHOW INTENT TO TEMPT VAN PERSIE

Lukas Podolski's signing proves Arsenal's ambition, according to Arsene Wenger.

Last Updated: 05/05/12 at 12:13 Post Comment

Van Persie: Contract discussions due soon

Van Persie: Contract discussions due soon

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have signalled their intent to skipper Robin van Persie they are serious about challenging for trophies next season with the signing of Lukas Podolski.

The Dutch striker, who on Thursday night collected the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award, is set to sit down with Arsenal at the end of the season for discussions over a contract extension, with another year left on his current deal.

Speculation over Van Persie's future is set to rumble on - with Manchester City, Barcelona and AC Milan all said to be ready to offer the 28-year-old a big-money move.

Wenger, though, feels the Gunners have already shown they mean business in 2012/13 following the £11million signing of Germany international Podolski from Cologne, the transfer confirmed earlier this week.

"Great players like to be with great players, so it helps always to get them in," the Gunners boss said.

"First, we want Robin to stay because he is convinced that we can play for the championship. I believe we have that."

Wenger continued: "You want the players to be happy, and the club to be happy.

"I believe that we will have an honest exchange at the end of the season and at the moment we have to put the priorities where they are, which is to qualify the club for the next Champions League and more than being obsessed about any individual situation."

Arsenal have been linked with the likes of Yann M'Vila at Rennes and Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen, whom Wenger claimed was "an interesting player" and that the Gunners "look at all the players all over Europe every week".

The Emirates Stadium club's hand in potential negotiations would be further strengthened by the guarantee of Champions League football again next season.

Victory over Norwich on Saturday in the Gunners' final home would be a step in the right direction following defeat by Wigan and successive draws against Chelsea and Stoke.

"I do not want to be in the Champions League because of Robin. I want to be in the Champions League because that is the target of the club," Wenger said.

"After, the players are part of the club and the club wants to be with the best. So, for me, what is at stake is where the club will be at the end of the season, more than any individual player."

Arsenal finish what has been a testing campaign at West Brom, which is set to be a charged atmosphere in Roy Hodgson's final game before taking charge of England.

Wenger, though, will not expect his players to become lost in the occasion.

He said: "I believe that it will be an emotional departure, maybe, but I think what is important for us is to turn up with a good performance and win the football games.

"It will be difficult, certainly, but not more, not less."

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