• Premier League

Arsenal to give Van Persie friendly run-out

ESPN staff
August 12, 2012

Arsenal are preparing to welcome Robin van Persie back into the fold ahead of the new season, with the forward set to play a part in Sunday's friendly against Cologne.

The Dutch international is looking to continue his career elsewhere after telling the north London club earlier in the summer that he would not be extending his contract, but a deal with suitors including Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus has yet to be agreed.

And it looks like Arsenal could yet retain their top scorer from last season, with manager Arsene Wenger seemingly ready to forgive him as he will play a part in the club's preseason warm-up against the German side after joining up with the squad earlier in the week.

New Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal revealed the news, after explaining why he had selected Van Persie for his squad to face Belgium on Wednesday.

"Robin will play his first game this Sunday," Van Gaal said, according to the Sunday Mirror. "He has told me he is at least going to play 45 minutes this weekend. It is a good job, because I almost had not selected him.

"This is the only time I'll pick Van Persie and Tottenham's Rafael van der Vaart while they are not fit.

"They have not played a single game yet for their clubs and normally I don't pick players then. In future I will only pick fit players.

"But Van Persie is so important for the Dutch team."

With the Premier League season set to start next weekend, Van Persie's inclusion in Arsene Wenger's squad for the friendly could be the precursor to him starting the season with the Gunners - amid growing reports he could also retain the club captaincy.

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