BEIRUT: Arsenal are preparing to hang on to star striker Robin van Persie until January and are said to be determined not to lose the player on the cheap.
The Daily Star (London) reports that there is a growing feeling within the club that the Gunners should not bow to pressure from the player, who last month shocked Arsenal by announcing that he does not plan to sign an extension to his current contract.
Under FIFA rules, van Persie would be free to join another club when his contract expires next year.
If the club refuse to sell the Dutchman this summer, Arsenal would still be entitled to a significant transfer fee in January – a time when clubs traditionally look to reinforce their squads.
The club are also hoping that should Arsenal be in contention for the Premier League title, van Persie may be convinced that his future lies in London.
Last summer, the club lost Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, and the Gunners are said to be resolute about not letting a similar situation unfold this year.
Juventus, City and Manchester United are all keen on landing the player, but bids have so far fallen well below Arsenal’s 30 million pound ($47 million) asking price.
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has said the club will not be pressured into a deal, insisting that interested parties must offer serious money if they have any hope of landing the 28-year-old.
“He is a world-class player and we don’t want to give him away,” Hill-Wood said. “If he is determined to leave that is up to him, but giving him away is not on our agenda.”
Hill-Wood added that he had been shocked by the player’s announcement, claiming that he does not understand van Persie’s decision.
“To be honest I do not understand him at all,” he said.
“I understood Cesc Fabregas wanting to go home to Barcelona last summer. I had sympathy with that. But I thought Robin was happy at Arsenal, especially after the season he had with us.”
Van Persie scored 37 goals in all competitions last season, and given the Player of the Year award by both the Football Writers’ Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association.
City boss Roberto Mancini has blamed his employers over the club’s inability to sign the Dutchman.
City are currently in Beijing as part of their pre-season tour, with the Italian asked if he was disappointed whether or not the club have failed to complete any signings this summer.
“For an answer to these questions you need to talk to the man in charge,” Mancini said. “I'm not in charge of these things.
“Its important to get players in. After what we did last year it’s important this year that we continue to win. This year will not be easy. It will be harder than last year. For this reason we need to improve our team.
“But we have people to do this. I hope that they can do a good job.”
Yet the announcement that club captain Vincent Kompany has agreed to a new six-year deal will boost City’s fortunes and hearten Mancini.
The 26-year-old Belgian joined in 2008 from Hamburg, and has gone on to become one of City’s most important players. Last year, he captained the side to the club’s first league title since 1968.
“For me if you are good somewhere then there is no reason to look elsewhere,” Kompany told the club’s website.
“Man City as a project is not just a project of the owners or the people employed by the club; it is also my project.
“I have been here since the beginning and I have seen everything at the club change inside and out. I have the feeling that I have contributed to it too. It is good to know that I can be at City for another six years. It is a compliment that the club feels so highly of me.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has insisted that his side will only make a move for Liverpool’s Andy Carroll if the club are willing to lower their 20 million pound asking price for the striker.
The 23-year-old joined the Anfield side from Newcastle in 2011 for a record 35 million pounds, but has since failed to establish himself at the club.
Pardew has admitted that he would love the player to rejoin his former team, despite the Reds refusing to countenance any loan deal for the England forward.
“Reading chairman John Madejski used to say to me about certain players, ‘Just wipe your nose and move on,’ and I think Liverpool are going to have to do that with Andy,” Pardew told The Sun newspaper.
“I think it was obvious as soon as Brendan Rodgers went into Liverpool that Andy’s time was going to have to be somewhere else. I think it’s quite right we’re involved in that.
“But whether he comes here is something I will take or I will leave. It’s a lot of money, although we’ll obviously be getting a big upside in terms of what we sold him for, and we’ve got three great strikers here already.
“Of course, as the manager, I want the best players I can get.”
Swansea are said to be furious with Liverpool’s pursuit of Welsh midfielder Joe Allen.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers joined Liverpool from Swansea this summer, and confirmed his interest in the player last week.
Swansea are adamant that the Reds had agreed not to approach any of the Welsh club’s players for at least a year, and are upset that Rodgers has publically declared his intention to bid for Allen.
“Swansea can confirm that Liverpool have expressed an interest in Joe Allen, despite a written agreement with Liverpool not to approach any players within the 12-month period of former manager Brendan Rodgers leaving for Anfield,” a statement on the club’s website read.
“There has also been interest from other clubs regarding his possible availability and the club is due to speak to Joe ... when he returns from GB [Olympic] duty.
“The club is not prepared to release any details on whether any formal bids have been made at this stage. The club is extremely disappointed that speculation regarding certain aspects of his contract have been released to the media by parties outside the club.”