Two former championship-winning footballers believe it is imperative that Arsenal keep hold of Barclays Premier League top goalscorer Robin van Persie next season if they are to challenge for honours.

Both Ruud Gullit and Alan Smith have revealed they are big fans of the 28-year-old, who was named Professional Footballers Association player of the year on Sunday night, has struck 27 league goals so far this campaign but the Gunners remain 18 behind league-leaders Manchester United.

"Yes he is vital to success," former Holland captain Gullit told Press Association Sport. "Arsenal need to win trophies and I think Van Persie wants to and he knows if he wants to become one of the legends of football he needs to win trophies and he will ask Arsene Wenger to strengthen the squad. The team need to give him help."

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