Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal will not be selling captain Robin van Persie to Manchester City — and expects the Dutch striker to stay on to lead the Gunners to success.
Van Persie, 28, has yet to agree a contract extension, which runs until the summer of 2013.
City manager Roberto Mancini fuelled speculation of another big-money raid on Emirates Stadium for the Dutch striker, who he hailed as “one of the best strikers in Europe”.
Over the past few years Wenger has seen Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, and Samir Nasri, last summer all join title rivals City in big-money moves.
Van Persie has netted 32 goals in a stand-out individual campaign and appears comfortable to wait until the end of the season before discussing future plans.
Wenger has already stated the club will “do anything possible” to retain the services of their talisman striker, and sees no reason to let City’s public courtship of Van Persie unsettle either the player or his team.
“We will not lose anybody to Manchester City, or to anybody else because we want to keep our players,” the Gunners boss said.
“We want to keep Robin van Persie, we will do everything possible to extend his contract, and apart from that, I can only let people talk.”
Wenger insists everyone’s focus must be on winning Monday night’s Barclays Premier League clash with Newcastle to stay in the top four.
“To fulfil his contract is to win against Newcastle and to add to that is to win the next game, that is being professional,” the Arsenal boss said.
Reports in Germany have suggested Arsenal are set to sign Lukas Podolski from Cologne.
Wenger insisted no deal had yet been done for the Poland-born 26-year-old, who has played at two World Cups.
“He is available at a reasonable price if we can reach an agreement, but at the moment we are nowhere near. I don’t want to disappoint people and let down their expectations.
“Let us first see what we can do.”
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