Van Persie pleads to keep squad together

Arsenal forward Robin van Persie is desperate for manager Arsene Wenger to keep hold of the Gunners' prize assets this summer.

The Dutch ace watched on a year ago as Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Hleb and Gilberto Silva all departed the Emirates Stadium to pastures new, leaving a young Gunners squad lacking experienced leaders.

As a result, the North London have endured another frustrating season in 2008/09, compounded in the last seven days by emphatic home defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea.

They have now completed four campaigns without picking up a trophy since their 2005 FA Cup triumph at the Millennium Stadium.

And with highly-rated left-back Gael Clichy being linked with Real Madrid and striker Emmanuel Adebayor with AC Milan, Van Persie - who is expected to extend his contract along with Theo Walcott - is keen for the club to avoid another summer of departures.

"The main thing is that we stay together," he said.

"If we lose three or four players every year, it is hard to get the spirit in. Hopefully we can stay here and have a real go at it.

"If we can produce games like we did this year there is room for improvement. If you look at our midfield, it is between 20 and 22." 

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