Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has insisted that the Gunners need to keep hold of Robin van Persie, or the team could suffer a massive step backwards.

With just one year left of his contract, the Dutchman's future at the Emirates Stadium is still uncertain, despite finding the back of the net 37 times in all competitions this season.

Talks with the club's chairman were said to have taken place last week, but as of yet the outcome of the discussion has not been revealed to the public.

Keown, who made over 300 appearances for the north London club, has urged Arsenal to keep hold of the forward, or they could face a number of problems next season.

"Arsenal are desperate for him to stay and have lost too many players in the past," he said at a Carlsberg pub football event.

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

The 45-year old, Match of the Day pundit, who was lucky enough to pick up nine major trophies with Arsenal, believes the Gunners captain is torn between two worlds and will struggle in making his decision.

"It is his heart against his head," continued Keown. "It would be quite refreshing if a player decides: 'This is my club, I am not going to play anywhere else."

Arsene Wenger's side now need to step up talks with the striker, before it's too late. If Arsenal allow Van Persie to leave, then they need to do so in the near future, in order to have ample time to rebuild their team.

Topics:
Arsenal
Robin Van Persie
Football
Premier League