Van Persie is always one step ahead of the others, says Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Robin van Persie's quick reading of the game is a key reason behind why he is so prolific
Arsene Wenger has heaped yet more praise on the “exceptional” Robin van Persie, claiming the Arsenal striker’s technique is what sets him apart from other forwards.
Van Persie’s form this season has been nothing short of remarkable, with the 28-year-old netting 29 goals in 35 games for the Gunners and his latest strike coming in the 5-2 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Wenger, who has made clear his desire to convince Van Persie to sign a new contract in the summer with his current deal set to expire next year, believes the striker’s quick reading of the game is his key attribute.
“I think he has an exceptional technique, I mean really exceptional,” said Wenger. “I have seen many great players over 30 years but Robin van Persie’s first touch is just exceptional.
“After that he has the qualities of left-footed players; they are very quick to finish, have great movement in the box and are very intelligent.
“When you look at great players, they are on the move and everybody else stands and watches the ball. That is the difference. They look like they attack the ball all the time but in fact it is because they anticipate a lot and they are a little bit ahead of the other players.
“It is a bit like rebounds in basketball, it is always the same players who catch the ball. In football you always have the same players like that – Robert Pires, for example, was fantastic like that. When you analysed him he was always moving when others were standing and Robin has that quality too.
“It’s not the way you finish, it’s the way you move that gets you into the position.”
Van Persie, who has 18 months left to run on his current deal, confirmed that talks over a new contract have been put on hold until the end of the season ahead of Sunday’s north London derby.
“There have been a lot of stories, generally contradictory ones, about my contract situation recently so I’d like to make it clear,” the Arsenal captain wrote in his programme notes.
“There’s nothing complicated or sinister – the club and I have both agreed to speak at the end of the season and see how things stand.”