• Premier League

Podolski would not mean Van Persie exit - Wenger

ESPN staff
March 9, 2012
Robin van Persie missed a golden chance for Arsenal in their Champions League exit to AC Milan © Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has stated to the media that his plan is to keep hold of Robin van Persie, regardless of whether a new signing such as Lukas Podolski arrives at the club this summer.

Arsenal are strongly believed to be on the verge of completing a £10.9 million deal for Podolski, who has been sounding out Per Mertesacker for his thoughts on the London club.

Wenger would not confirm the attacker's arrival at Friday's press conference, although he also did little to calm speculation. The Frenchman merely told the media that, if a player signs for Arsenal, he will inform them.

A spin-off of Podolski's expected arrival has been increasing numbers of reports claiming skipper Van Persie will be the man to make way. Despite the fact Podolski is a superb operator from the wide left role, that has not stopped the media labelling him a direct replacement for Arsenal's top scorer.

Wenger sees it differently, insisting any new signing will be introduced as an addition to Van Persie, not a replacement. The Netherlands international has less than two years left to run on his current deal.

"When we sign any player, including Podolski, I will tell you our plans," Wenger said. "But our plan is to keep Robin van Persie even if we buy any player."

Reports in Friday's press claimed Wenger was "furious" at the recent comments of Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, who had revealed his admiration for Van Persie. Mancini, who signed Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri from Arsenal in the summer, has since reined in talk of a transfer by claiming he did not say he wanted to sign the Dutchman, and Wenger insists he does not care what the City boss says.

Asked if it was unsettling, Wenger replied: "No because we are a good team. Nothing is unsettling and we are professional people. If we have one quality it is to not be unsettled, but what is important is the next game because this (Van Persie speculation) is basically not important."

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