Arsene Wenger lavished praise on veteran Czech international Tomas Rosicky, after the playmaker's brace against West Brom over the weekend. The midfielder scored to lead the Gunners to a priceless 2-1 win at the Hawthorns.
"I thought he was fantastic - he's not a player I want to lose. I rate him very highly. He has one year left on his contract but I hope he stays and finishes his career with us here. He's had a difficult season and been injured. But he always seems to come in and gives us a lift at the end of the season. He's a quality player," Wenger said.
The win, and the three points, mean Arsenal retain fifth place in the Premier League and extend their lead over Everton to four points, as the sides jostle for a place in the UEFA Europa League next season. The win also means the Gunners keep pace with London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham in the race for Champions League football; the Blues and Spurs are tied on 58 points to Arsenal's 56 but both Rafael Benitez and Wenger have a game in hand over Andre Villas-Boas.
After the win against West Brom, Wenger said he wanted the 32-year-old Rosicky to sign an extension to his present deal, which expires in 2014. The Czech joined the English club in 2006, from Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund but has struggled with injuries since his move. And, as a result, his influence on the team's fortune has been limited.
However, a return of two goals in five Premier League appearances this season suggests he remains an effective attacking option and Dortmund have been linked with a bid to bring him back to the Signal Iduna Park.
Wenger on Team Effort
Meanwhile, the Frenchman was also delighted with the collective effort from his players, particularly after seeing German international Per Mertesacker sent off in the 70th minute.
"I have no complaints about the penalty - it was a professional foul and he was the last man. That meant we had to show two aspects of our game today. Our technical control and our quality and the other side of our game - our fighting spirit - which is not normally associated with us. So I'm very pleased because the most important thing was winning this game," Wenger said.