Friday, July 06, 2012


Arsenal’s scouting team will hold a meeting at the club’s London Colney HQ at the start of next week to discuss the prospect of replacing wantaway skipper Robin van Persie.

It is understood that Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic and Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski were both watched by the scouts last season and will be on the agenda.

Van Persie is keen to have his exit finalised by the time the club’s Asia tour kicks off on July 24. 

It is also understood that he would rather not be included in the squad that flies to Malaysia as it would delay his pending move but manager Arsene Wenger is unlikely to take a lenient view on him missing the trip.

Wenger has not given up hope of persuading Van Persie to change his mind and is planning a heart-to-heart meeting with the striker when he reports for  pre-season training in around 10 days.

But there is a feeling at the Emirates Stadium that Van Persie’s position is untenable after he admitted he does not agree with the club’s direction.

According to reports, both Manchester clubs will battle it out for Van Persie’s signature in the coming weeks.

City would prefer to off-load one of their strikers before committing to a move for the 28-year-old — but with talks over Emmanuel Adebayor’s permanent move to Tottenham progressing well, that problem could soon be solved.

Juventus remain in the running to sign Van Persie despite holding talks with Napoli forward Edinson Cavani and remain confident of luring the Holland striker to Italy.

On Thursday, Arsenal's turbulent week descended into civil war after the club’s second biggest shareholder launched a withering attack on primary owner Stan Kroenke.

Less than 24 hours after Van Persie revealed his intention to leave the Gunners with a statement questioning the club’s ambition, Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri — who own close to 30 per cent of Arsenal shares through investment vehicle Red and White Holdings — criticised the Kroenke regime

In a strongly worded five-page open letter addressed to the Arsenal board, Usmanov and Moshiri claim what they view as Kroenke’s lack of investment has led to:
* the loss of the club’s best players
* Arsenal signing second-rate stars
* the club no longer being able to  challenge for trophies

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