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Martin Keown hopes that the Dutchman remains with the Gunners

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Arsenal legend Martin Keown believes that Gunners star man Robin van Persie needs time to decide where his future lies.

The Dutchman scored 30 Premier League goals as the north Londoners finished third, securing Champions League football. Had they finished fourth they would be plying their trade in the Europa League next season.

“We need to give Robin time and not suffocate him,” said Keown.

“Robin understands and we all understand he is very much a special player for Arsenal. The adulation and respect which he has at Arsenal, Robin has worked a footballing lifetime to get that.

“If he leaves, he might find it hard to grow into another club with the respect he has here.

“However, he might feel he wants to go to a club where he thinks he can win things - that is probably the dilemma for him, rather than the financial one.

“It is swapping the love for him here if he goes to another club, he might find it a little bit of a difficult transition which he does not want to make.”

Van Persie has been linked with moves to Manchester City and Juventus in recent weeks and Keown is hoping that Van Persie stays with the Gunners.

“It is his heart against his head,” Keown added.

“It would be quite refreshing if a player decides: ‘This is my club, I am not going to play anywhere else and am going to show that faith and trust which was shown in me. I am going to believe in project Arsenal have’.

“We will have to see what answer he comes up with, but of course Arsenal are desperate for him to stay and have lost too many players in the past.

“If Van Persie were to go as well, it would take them a would take them a number of years for them to recover from that.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.