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I will always be a Gunner: van Persie

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Arsenal striker Robin van Persie insisted he had no concerns about his Gunners' future as he collected the Football Writers' Player of the Year award on Thursday.

The Dutch striker said he would "always be a Gunner" after topping a journalists' poll, having already received the corresponding award from his peers in the Professional Footballers' Association.

Van Persie has scored an impressive 35 goals in all competitions so far this season and has helped propel Arsenal into third place in the Premier League - a position which, if they retain it over the final two games of the season will ensure qualification for next season's Champions League proper.

There has been speculation as to whether Arsenal, set for a seventh successive year without a trophy, can hang onto the talented 28-year-old who has been attracting envious glances from Europe's leading clubs.

But van Persie was adamant he would be entering contract negotiations with Arsenal as planned once this season was finished.

"That is still the plan," he said.

"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."

The Football Writers' Association award has been running since 1948 and van Persie said he felt honoured to see his name alongside those of the greats of English football.

"It makes me very proud to be here," he said.

"I have seen the list (of previous winners), and for me, I never really thought I would be sitting here winning this trophy.

But even this season I was not really thinking about winning a trophy for myself.

"I was just playing because I love it and for Arsenal to finish as high as possible in the league.

"When I found out I had actually won it, I was a bit surprised, and was like, 'What, me? Really?'

"It makes me really proud to be part of that history."

He added: "The writers know everything about the season because they have seen every single game, analysed ever goal, every move. They know everything about you.

"They are doing interviews with me and other players, they get a clear picture of who is the best player, which is why it means so much that these guys have voted for me."

FWA chairman Steve Bates, chief football writer at The Sunday People, paid tribute to van Persie by saying: "Robin van Persie has had a quite magnificent season, excelling with consistent flashes of individual brilliance which have lit up the Premier League as well as bolstering Arsenal's season."

AFP

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