Thursday, May 10, 2012

ARSENAL CONFIDENT OF KEEPING VAN PERSIE DESPITE JUVENTUS INTEREST


Robin van Persie

Arsenal are confident Juventus's desire to sign captain Robin Van Persie this summer will be deflected after the Italian champions became the first club publicly to express an interest in securing the Holland international's services at the end of the season.

Van Persie, recently named the Professional Footballers' Association and Football Writers' player of the year, will discuss his future with Arsène Wenger and the Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, after the conclusion of the campaign. The Dutchman is out of contract in the summer of 2013 and, although he is not agitating for a move, is expected to be offered a four-year contract to remain at the Emirates, a deal that would break the club's current wage structure and include a substantial signing-on fee as Arsenal seek to ensure he does not depart for nothing under the Bosman ruling next summer.

A number of major clubs across Europe, including Real Madrid and Barcelona, have been monitoring Van Persie's situation and could test Arsenal's resolve to hold the 28-year-old striker to the final year of his contract this summer.  

Van Persie, who has 30 Premier League goals this term, is not thought to be keen on moving to Italy, with his instinct to remain at Arsenal for at least one more season, encouraged as he has been by the signing of Lukas Podolski from Köln for £10.9m, with the promise of further ambitious transfers to come. Only the tantalising offer of a potential move to either Real or Barça would test that commitment though, even then, the London club would need to sanction any departure given the player remains under contract. That, at present, seems unlikely, with Wenger apparently under no pressure from on high to sell even if Van Persie does not seek to sign new terms at the Emirates stadium.

The Arsenal manager and Gazidis intend to speak with Van Persie before the start of Euro 2012 as they continue to plan for next season in the hope that Champions League football will be secured in Sunday's final match at West Bromwich Albion. Interest is retained in the Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, though a deal has yet to be agreed with the French club and the player, who has also been courted by Inter. The France international would cost in the region of £17.7m.

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