David Dein has implored Arsenal to conclude negotiations with Robin van Persie over a new contract at the Emirates, after the Dutchman scooped the PFA Player of the Year award on Sunday.
Van Persie, 28, has been in scintillating form all season, scoring 27 goals in 35 Premier league appearances as the Gunners vie for a top-four finish.
The Dutch international's contract at Arsenal expires at the end of next season and he will be allowed to discuss terms with other clubs as his deal enters the last 12 months. And Dein has urged the club's hierarchy to secure van Persie to a new contract or risk of losing him on a free next summer.
"He is very important to the club and it is not every day you can get a guy who can score over 30 goals in a season," Dein told Sky Sports News.
"There was a lot of competition at the time and we are very fortunate he signed for us. I was delighted and he has proved the point because he has been such a prolific goal scorer for the club.
"He plays with passion, he plays with his heart and, as you heard in his speech, he is a very modest guy.
"He has done a great job for the club and the fact that he has stayed with the club all this time, when he has had plenty of opportunities to go elsewhere, says a lot about Robin's character."
Meanwhile, van Persie has refuted suggestions he is on the verge of signing for Barcelona at the end of the current campaign.
The Arsenal captain was photographed leaving Barcelona's team hotel in London last Monday. The Catalans were in town prior to their Champions League semi-final first-leg clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and van Persie insists he was merely dropping by for a chat with an international team-mate.
"The explanation is really very simple," van Persie told the official Arsenal Web site. "My good friend Ibrahim Afellay plays for Barcelona. After a bad long-term injury he was finally back with the team - and during his absence I had been in contact with him a lot, but I hadn't seen him. This was an opportunity for me to go and visit a close friend, show him my support and catch up.
"Unfortunately this had to be at the hotel, because he was not permitted to leave it. I was wearing my Arsenal tracksuit and we sat down by the reception to have a chat and some food - everyone could see us and there was nothing to hide. I can't imagine anyone conducting transfer negotiations in these circumstances!"