Belfast Telegraph

Boss plays down Van Persie concerns

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not worried about Robin van Persie's commitment to the cause after the Holland striker underlined his importance to the club with another match-winning performance against Sunderland.

Van Persie opened the scoring after 29 seconds with an 18-yard drive on Sunday before hitting a late winner for the Gunners with a wonderful curling free-kick after Sebastian Larsson had equalised for the Black Cats.

"The ideal situation is that he extends his contract and if he doesn't you have to respect that. What is important is he plays how he plays," Wenger said. "We are all eager to see special football players and he is a special football player. For me commitment is [giving your best] as long as you are at the club, not how long you are at the club."

It is the second time in three weeks that Van Persie has scored a brace to help the north London side clinch victory in what has so far been a poor start to their campaign.

The last time he bagged two, in the 3-0 win over Bolton last month, he caused concern among Arsenal fans by insisting that he was in no hurry to extend his current contract, which expires in 2013.

That prompted fears that the club would be forced to sell the 28-year-old in the same way that they had to let Samir Nasri go to Manchester City after the midfielder refused to sign a contract extension this summer.

Van Persie moved to allay fears about his future in his programme notes before Sunday's game, insisting that he is totally committed to the Arsenal cause, and Wenger is also not worried about the former Feyenoord man's relaxed attitude towards penning a new deal.

He added: "If you give absolutely 100% until the last day of your contract, that is what I call commitment.

"For me it is not commitment to have a long contract.

"He knows that we are ready to talk about it (a new contract), but the most important thing is what you do on the pitch and how much you are committed to the cause as long as you are at the club."

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