Belfast Telegraph

Gervinho: Van Persie must stay

Arsenal striker Gervinho believes it is vital skipper Robin van Persie stays at the club.

Van Persie underlined his importance to the Gunners yet again when he climbed off the bench to score twice in Sunday's 3-1 win over Stoke at the Emirates. The 28-year-old has now hit a phenomenal 30 goals in 36 matches in 2011, but his current contract runs out in less than two years and he has not begun discussions about a new one.

"We always need our best players so a player like Robin, frankly, we need him to stay at the club," said Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, who opened the scoring before Peter Crouch equalised for the Potters. "It would give me pleasure if he stayed. I have just arrived and I would like him to stay so I can play with him a while longer."

He added: "This is a personal thing between Robin, the coach and the directors. Each of us takes care of his own career and the most important thing in the dressing room is to talk about the team.

"Psychologically, Robin is good for us. He is among the most experienced players on the pitch and when he comes on, he puts the opposition's defence under pressure and that helps our game. Against Stoke, he came on and scored two goals. He is an excellent player and the team need him.

"You always have to have leaders in the group and he is a player who drags the team forward. He is the captain, his role is to galvanise the group and he assumes the responsibility."

Van Persie was rested to the bench after a hectic recent schedule, and both he and Gervinho will both be able to put their feet up when Wenger turns his attention to the Carling Cup meeting with Bolton on Tuesday night.

One striker who will get a chance to impress is South Korea captain Park Chu-young, after Wenger confirmed the 26-year-old will make his second appearance since joining from Monaco.

"He will get his chance. He is fantastic," said Wenger. "People forget he only arrived two months ago. Some big players have waited much longer than two months before they have played."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yossi Benayoun are also expected to be involved against Wanderers.

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