BEIRUT

Football

Wenger rules out Van Persie move to Juventus

Van Persie has one year left on his deal with Arsenal.

BEIRUT: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has allegedly ruled out the chances of striker Robin van Persie leaving for Italian champions Juventus, believing the player will likely stay at the Gunners.

Van Persie has one year left on his deal with the north London club, and held preliminary talks with Wenger and Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis prior to heading out for the Netherlands’ disastrous Euro 2012 campaign.

Despite having agreed that neither the club nor the player would speak to the media until the Arsenal captain’s future has been resolved, Wenger is quoted by Italy’s Corriere Dello Sport as claiming any Juventus deal is unlikely.

“If you want to know why I am so certain ... that Robin will remain with us, [it’s] because there is no reason in this world why a great player like Van Persie should go and play for you, in Italy and in your competition.

“Your football [Serie A] is at an inferior level to the Premier League.”

AC Milan have reportedly made Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina one of their major transfer targets this summer.

The Italian side are said to be keen to replace the 35-year-old incumbent Christian Abbiati, with Milan looking to strengthen their defense after losing the Serie A title to Juventus last season.

Reina is known to have great affection for both the club and the city of Liverpool, but a club with Milan’s reputation may turn his head.

Since joining in 2005 the Spaniard has won the FA and League Cups with the club, and was part of the Spanish squad that won both Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010.

The 29-year-old is renowned as one of the best keepers in the world, but an underwhelming campaign last season at Anfield may cause the Reds to consider about any potential offer.

The Daily Mail reports that the player has yet to meet new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, with Reina currently away with the Spanish team at Euro 2012.

The Guardian reports that Tottenham have held face-to-face negotiations with Andre Villas-Boas about replacing Harry Redknapp, and are willing to offer the manager the position despite ongoing talks with former England boss Fabio Capello.

The 34-year-old’s agent met with Spurs representatives last week to articulate what they were looking for, but the club have now speeded up the process by meeting with Villas-Boas directly.

Having been linked with the club since Redknapp’s dismissal, it was uncertain whether the ex-Chelsea coach was a serious contender for the post.

The Guardian claims that it has now become clear that Spurs chairman Daniel Ley considers Villas-Boas to be the right man to lead Tottenham to their first championship since 1961.

The Portuguese manager has been out of work since March after being sacked by Blues owner Roman Abramovich over a dismal run of form.

West Ham have increased their offer for Norwich striker Grant Holt and are hopeful that a deal will be concluded soon.

After the Hammers’ opening bid of 3 million pounds was rejected, the Upton Park side have upped the fee to 5.5 million pounds.

Holt was the second highest English goal scorer in the Premier League last season as newly promoted Norwich finished the season in a respectable 12th place.

Since then manager Paul Lambert has left for Aston Villa, and Holt has declared his intention to leave the East Anglian club.

Malaga have seen a bid for Milan’s Robinho rejected, with the Rossoneri telling the Spanish side to significantly increase their offer.

Italian daily Sporta Italia reports that Malaga’s opening offer for the forward fell well short of the player’s valuation, with Milan willing to do business for around 20 million euros.

The former Man City striker looks likely to leave the Italian giants as the club seeks to balance their finances.

Milan’s need for cash has been widely reported, but the club are determined not to sell their assets on the cheap, having last week rejected an offer from PSG for Tiago Silva.

Milan striker Antonio Cassano has praised the club for refusing to sanction Silva’s move to France, conceding that he would have considered his future had the player left Italy.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 21, 2012, on page 14.

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