Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was relaxed about his future as he collected the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year award last night, insisting no matter what happens during the rest of his career he would “always be a Gunner”.
The Holland striker, 28, topped the poll of journalists with a landslide victory ahead of Manchester United duo Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes, with Fulham’s Clint Dempsey fourth.
Van Persie’s 35 goals in all competitions have helped propel Arsenal into the top four of the Barclays Premier League, leaving them on the brink of automatic promotion to the Champions League next season, a European campaign Van Persie looks set to be part of as he plans summer talks over a new deal.
He said: “That is still the plan, we haven’t set a date but I will have a meeting with the boss like we did before, now we will be having a meeting about my future, and lots of other things.
“Arsenal is an unbelievable club, the player I am today is because of Arsenal. When I actually signed the deal (to join Arsenal) it was a dream come true.
“If you ask the likes of Robert Pires how he feels, what he feels like he will say ’I feel like a Gunner’ – and whatever happens with me I will always be a Gunner.”
During his acceptance speech Van Persie thanked manager Arsene Wenger for showing faith in him following his transfer from Feyenoord eight years ago.
Wenger believes life will be easier for the Dutchman next season with the signing of Lukas Podolski.
He told Arsenal Player: “He is a versatile striker – he can play through the middle, behind the striker, up front, on the left and on the right.
“That’s what we like, and he can score goals as well. How many times have we been accused this season of being too reliant on Robin van Persie? He can score goals and provide, and he is the class that we want.
“He can fit with Robin van Persie through the middle or on the sides. That is for sure. That was an important part of the decision making [about signing him].”
The long-serving Arsenal boss will take charge of his 900th game as Arsenal boss against Norwich on Saturday but the 62-year-old was unaware of the landmark.
“Yes [I am surprised] because I don’t know where the other 899 have gone,” he said.
“You always have so much focus on the next one that you forget the games that are behind you.
“It is impressive, 900 games, but basically what is only important for me is to win the next one.”