Arsenal transfer focus – Van Persie future still uncertain

The speculation over the future of Arsenal striker Robin van Persie continues to rumble on as it remains no clearer as to where the Dutchman will be playing his football next season.

Van Persie, whose contract runs out next summer, has intimated to manager Arsene Wenger that he has no desire to sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. The forward’s itchy feet has alerted a number of big European clubs, most notably Premier League champions Manchester City and Italian giants Juventus.

The Old Lady were keen to make van Persie their marquee striker in their first season back in the Champions League since 2010. However last season’s Premier League top scorer seems hesitant to move to south Europe and Juventus boss Antonio Conte looks to have switched his attention to other targets, including Steven Jovetic of Fiorentina and Luis Suarez of Liverpool.

With Manchester City still seemingly in the race, a deal could hinge on the future of their current collection of goalscoring luminaries. Ironically, Juventus’ Serie A rivals AC Milan could pave the way for van Persie to join City over the Italians. The Daily Mail reports that the Rossoneri are on the verge of completing a deal for the troublesome Carlos Tevez, a deal which, should it go through, would leave a space in Roberto Mancini’s squad for a new striker.

But Manchester United are emerging as dark horses to secure a deal. According to the Daily Star, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to hijack a City deal and is waiting to make his move.

A move away may be imminent but the Sunday Mirror reports that van Persie will be expected to travel to the Far East later this month for Arsenal’s pre-season campaign unless a transfer bid comes in within the next week.

The Gunners and Manchester City play each other in Beijing on Friday July 27th, meaning that van Persie could be lining up against his future team mates. Arsenal also take on a Malaysia XI and Kitchee FC on their Asian tour in late July.

While Gunners scout Gilles Grimandi has already confirmed that the signing of Olivier Giroud was to pre-empt any future van Persie-shaped void, several continental newspapers are still speculating that Wenger will move for another frontman should his star player leave.

According to Spanish newspaper AS, Wenger is keen on recruiting Spanish international Alvaro Negredo to complement his two other attacking summer signings, Giroud and Lukas Podolski. The 26-year-old striker has scored 45 times in 106 La Liga matches for Sevilla but with Nicklas Bendtner also still on Arsenal’s books, a move for a striker seems unlikely, even if van Persie leaves.

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