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Arsene Wenger expects extended Van Persie injury layoff

Robin van Persie clashes with Italian Giorgio Chiellini
Van Persie's clash with Italian Giorgio Chiellini looked innocuous

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he has almost written off Robin van Persie's chances of playing again this season.

The Dutch striker, 26, suffered ankle ligament damage in a friendly against Italy on 14 November and will be out until April at the earliest.

"If you are very positive you would say he'll be back in April," Wenger told the club's website.

"If you're a bit cautious you would say it will be May, it is virtually the rest of the season."

Well known for his psychological battles with other managers it appears Wenger is using some reverse psychology on himself to deal with the loss of his star striker.

"Personally I thought 'Let's put it in my head that he will not play again this season and hope that I will have a good surprise'," he added.


Following the injury, Van Persie underwent surgery in Amsterdam to reconstruct the ankle ligaments, an operation which Wenger said was a success.

"When you have such a big surgery there is one thing that is important first of all, and that is the opinion of the surgeon, will he be the player he was before? We had a clear answer. 'Yes'," he said.

"The second thing that is very important in the first stage after surgery is has he an infection or not? He hasn't.

"The third thing is patience. At the moment he cannot do anything, he is just sitting at home waiting until he can work again. The first two steps have been very successful."

Before being stretchered off 10 minutes into the friendly, following a heavy challenge by defender Giorgio Chiellini, Van Persie had scored eight goals in 15 games in all competitions this season.

Arsenal are still seeking compensation from the Dutch Football Federation over the loss of their forward and the way it has damaged their chances of winning the Premier League.

However, under an agreement between world football's governing body, Fifa and its European counterpart Uefa, clubs will be compensated if players are injured in World Cup or European Championship final matches, but there is nothing in place for qualifiers, friendlies, or other international matches.

If Van Persie were to miss the rest of the season it would also put his place at the 2010 World Cup in doubt with the tournament set to start on 11 June.

We have an interested eye on the transfer window and if the right player turns up then we will do it

Arsene Wenger

Netherlands start their campaign in South Africa with a Group E tie against Denmark on 14 June.

With such an important member of his strike force out, Wenger is likely to add to his squad in the transfer market in January and the Frenchman admitted he would have no problem signing a player who is cup-tied for the Champions League, just as he did in signing Andrey Arshavin last January.

"We are going for the domestic title and the FA Cup as well and doing that allows you to rest a player for the Champions League or play another player in the Premier League," he said.

"Of course I would prefer the player who can play in both competitions and so it would mean the player has the quality to play in the long-term for Arsenal Football Club.

"But we have an interested eye on the transfer window and if the right player turns up then we will do it.

"Sometimes you think that is a bargain you cannot turn down and don't forget Arshavin got us in the Champions League last season."

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see also
Arsenal to seek Van Persie payout
13 Dec 09 |  Arsenal
Van Persie faces five months out
28 Nov 09 |  Arsenal
Wenger hits out at fixture list
17 Dec 09 |  Arsenal
Van Persie signs new Arsenal deal
08 Jul 09 |  Arsenal

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