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Monday 20 August 2018

Wenger vows not to let Van drive away

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has vowed to go all out to keep captain Robin van Persie at the club.

The Gunners had their talisman skipper to thank for a scarcely deserved 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.

Liverpool dominated and saw Laurent Koscielny inadvertently put them ahead with an own goal moments after Dirk Kuyt had had a penalty saved.

But Van Persie, whose contract expires in 2013, pulled Arsenal level before half-time, then snatched victory moments before the final whistle with his 25th Premier League goal of the season. "We will do anything possible to keep him," said Wenger.

"I cannot say much more because I have said that many times.

"I am very proud that he has grown, having seen the boy arrive here timid and today being the player he is and the leader of the team he has become.

"He is playing under big pressure in every game because he knows he has to score -- that is excellent development not only as a player but as a human being.

"He is up there among the best players in the world."

The Gunners now turn their attentions to tomorrow's Champions League clash with AC Milan as they bid to join the exclusive club of only three teams that have overturned four-goal deficits in Europe.

Wenger effectively conceded the tie after the first leg defeat at the San Siro, saying: "We don't play in dream world ... realistically we are out of this competition."

If Milan were to net once at the Emirates, Arsenal would need six goals and the Italian champions' record of at least one goal in every Champions League game this season suggests they will get on the scoresheet. However, one statistic which Massimiliano Allegri's side will not want to be reminded of is the fact they lost 4-0 at Deportivo La Coruna in a 2004 quarter-final having been 4-1 up from the first leg.

On a more positive note for Arsenal, midfielder Jack Wilshere may be fit to play by the end of the season, meaning he could be fit for England's Euro 2012 campaign.

Wenger said: "The last scan was good and he is on the way back -- but we have to be very cautious with him. I hope to have him back before the end of the season, but we go step by step."

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