Keown: Arsenal starlets will come back stronger

ARSENAL’s youngsters will grow up considerably over the summer after the experiences of a topsy-turvy season and the Gunners could well be stronger as a result. That’s the opinion of former Arsenal central defender Martin Keown, who reckons young Guns such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey can only learn from a campaign that started terribly had a few wobbles along the way but concluded with Arsene Wenger’s side claiming third spot in the Premier League and in so doing a place in next season’s Champions League.


“To have to endure some of the defeats that Arsenal suffered and be able to rally and finish third was remarkable when you think about it, and the players, especially the youngsters within the squad, will become stronger from the experience,” Keown told Arsenalinsider. “You just couldn’t predict which way it was going to go at the end there with Tottenham, us and Newcastle all vying for a position that would provide Champions League football.


“Arsenal suffered in the run-in after losing the services of Mikel Arteta, who was injured, and the midfield lacked that little bit of experience thereafter. That is a positive and if Arsene chooses to add a couple of players to the squad – with Lukas Podolski already signed – then Arsenal will be stronger next season.”


Of course the biggest issue when it comes to Gunners stars is the situation which sees Dutch ace Robin van Persie stalling over a new contract. RVP, who hit 30 Premier League goals to help Arsenal’s cause, still has 12 months left on his current deal, but it remains unclear if he will sign a lucrative extension.
And Keown believes fans and pundits alike should allow the striker time and space to consider his options over the summer.


Keown, speaking at the finals of the Carlsberg Pub Cup at the Emirates, added: “Let’s give Robin some time to make his decision. Yes, he is very much a special player for Arsenal and that is reflected in the love shown for him by supporters. If he leaves, he might find it difficult to find that same relationship with another club. But he may well feel that he wants to go to a club where he thinks he can win things.


“I am not so sure it is a financial consideration. He faces a dilemma and I for one hope that he chooses to stay at the club because he is such an important player.”


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