Robin van Persie will play for Arsenal
Robin van Persie is expected to feature for Arsenal against Cologne on Sunday as speculation grows that he will retain the captain’s armband.
The 29-year-old forward’s departure from the Emirates Stadium appeared imminent when he refused to sign a new deal with the Gunners earlier this summer.
Interest from Manchester United remains strong but Van Persie is now set to play his first game since Euro 2012 in an Arsenal shirt before reporting for international duty with Holland.
New Oranje boss Louis van Gaal has revealed that the player’s presence in the Arsenal line-up was essential for him to earn an international call-up.
Louis van Gaal, quoted in the Sunday Mirror, said: “Robin will play his first game this Sunday.
“He has told me he is at least going to play 45 minutes this weekend. It is a good job, because I almost had not selected him.
“This is the only time I’ll pick Van Persie and Tottenham’s Rafael van der Vaart while they are not fit.
“They have not played a single game yet for their clubs and normally I don’t pick players then. In future I will only pick fit players.
“But van Persie is so important for the Dutch team.”
Van Persie’s attitude to pre-season training ahead of the new campaign has earned admiration from within the Arsenal set-up.
With a shortage of alternative candidates, and United unwilling to match the Gunners’ valuation, it appears a distinct possibility that Van Persie will retain the captaincy in the short-term.