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Mar 23, 2012

Arteta confident over duo

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta is confident both striker Robin van Persie and manager Arsene Wenger will stay at the club for a long time to come.

Van Persie's future at Emirates Stadium is somewhat uncertain, with his current contract set to end in under 18 months' time and clubs including Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City all having expressed an interest in signing the Premier League's top scorer.

The Dutchman has generally kept quiet about his long-term plans, however, and his Spanish team-mate simply does not believe he is considering departing the north London club he joined in 2004.

"I can't really see him going," Arteta told Sky Sports. "But if he does, you have to continue."

Arteta also believes Wenger will remain at the club - insisting the manager has come through his most difficult period and will only now depart the Emirates on his own terms.

"He's been here for 15 years and he's got the respect of the players, the staff, and everybody at the club," Arteta added. "I think it is not easy for him to leave."

Wenger's position looks far less precarious now the club have leapfrogged above arch-rivals Tottenham into third in the league - a remarkable turnaround that Arteta believes began when his side came back from 2-0 down to win 5-2 in February's north London derby.

"That made us believe a lot, and after they had a bad result everything started to turn in our favour," he said. "I think they have to think about how they were 13 points clear and now [they are behind]."

After the club's revival in recent weeks, Arteta is acutely aware that criticism and praise are separated by the smallest of factors.

"I don't know, when you are managing a club like Arsenal you are always going to get criticism," he said. "But the thing is the way you respond to it, and Arsenal I think have been unlucky in recent times - getting to finals but not winning them.

"Arsene is easy to blame - what happens if Man Utd do not win the title this season? It will be a disaster. Out of the league, out of the Champions League, out of the Europa League... it will be a really bad season for them - but if they win the Premier League that will be successful. So that little detail will change everything."

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