Amid reports that Arsenal are looking to bolster their attack with the potential signing of Fulham’s Moussa Dembele, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has urged the club’s greatest attacking weapon – skipper Robin van Persie – to remain a Gunner.
Van Persie reportedly had an inconclusive contract meeting with manager Arsene Wenger last week, with many assuming that the Dutchman turned down an extension that would have rewarded him with a £130,000 weekly salary.
The PFA Player of the Year is reportedly seeking for more assurances regarding the Gunners’ ability to contend for silverware next season – a feat that Oxlade-Chamberlain believes would be very difficult to accomplish without him.
“It’s clear how important he has been for us with the goals he’s scored, he is one of the best strikers in the world. He’s a massive part of the dressing room, helping all of us and speaking to the manager about what we’re feeling, what we want and what we can do better,” Oxlade-Chamberlain explained.
Elaborating on RvP’s off-field leadership and how that prompts young players to idolize him, the England youngster added: “He even does the little things like arranging get-togethers with players’ wives and barbecues and fun days and golf days.
“He told me that when he first came to Arsenal it was quite similar to me how the boss dipped him in and dipped him out. He would score a goal, then wouldn’t play the next game or he might score two and he wouldn’t get on in the next game or would play five minutes.
“He told me to keep working hard and bide my time and keep plugging away and my time will come. Before games he tells me to do this or that or go here on a corner. He’s a big leader. It will be good if he stays, definitely. I don’t know if he will but I hope he does.”
Wenger has repeatedly referred to Arsenal’s recent signing of Lukas Podolski as the club’s first off-season statement to contend for honors next year.
The prospective addition of other acclaimed players such as Dembele could prove to be decisive in whether or not RvP responds to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s plea.