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Wenger expects Van Persie to stay

Arsene Wenger confirmed Arsenal's desire to keep Robin van Persie this season, despite the striker receiving a chilly welcome from the club's fans during their 4-0 win over Cologne on Sunday.

Cologne 0-4 Arsenal

Van Persie, whose contract at the Emirates expires next summer, has been targeted by Manchester United, City and Juventus in recent months. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson also reportedly missed his side's pre-season friendly with Hannover on Saturday in order to step up his pursuit of van Persie.

Arsenal's manager, though, says he has no intention of letting the £25 million-rated striker depart the club prior to the start of the upcoming campaign.

"There's no news on Van Persie," Wenger told The Sun. "Our fans want him to stay so you can understand they are excited. Anything I could say about van Persie would be a lie because he's our player and that's it.

"Robin scored 30 goals last season and you want to keep your best player. He was player of the year in England. We want to keep him. I cannot tell you more at the moment because I don't know more.

"We have not bought the players to replace Van Persie, but to strengthen our squad with the thinking Van Persie will stay. That's still my mind at the moment."

One of those new signings, Lukas Podolski, starred in the pre-season clash on Sunday, netting a brace before being replaced by Van Persie in the 69th minute. The former Cologne striker came in for criticism from the Bundesliga club's chief executive prior to the match, but responded by expressing his delight at having joined Arsenal.

"First match and first goals. I was very surprised by the reaction of the Arsenal fans. I heard them chanting my name and it was crazy.

"I have felt part of Arsenal from the first day, to score in my first match was great. I need another two weeks to be fully ready," Podolski said.

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