The news every Gooner dreads: moneybags Manchester City keen on Robin van Persie
IT’S official. The news every Gooner has been dreading. Manchester City and their ridiculously rich backers have targeted Arsenal’s goalden Dutchman Robin van Persie.
Arsene Wenger won’t be surprised. He’s already seen Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri head north to Eastlands, lured by the oil-soaked Dirhams on offer from Sheikh Mansour in Abu Dhabi. Arsenal’s bank balance may have improved, but as every Gooners knows, they’re struggling to compete without that handy quartet.
Now Roberto Mancini, with his side top of the Premier League, had told The Sun in London: “All good teams are interested in him. At this moment, Robin van Persie is one of the best strikers in Europe with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli.”
Bloody Mancini. He’s already got Aguero and Balotelli on his books. Edin Dzeko isn’t bad. Adebayor is on loan at Spurs and Carlos Tevez is lurking somewhere in the twilight between an apology and Argentina.
Five world class strikers is an expensive luxury. Six would be ridiculous.
But Mancini is only too aware that without Van Persie, Arsenal would be taken out of the equation as a Premier League threat. With 25 goals this season, he leads the English goalscoring charts by seven from Wayne Rooney. Without those goals, Arsenal probably be languishing somewhere just blow the middle of the tables, with fans at the Emirates Stadium having a right go at Gervinho, Maroune Chamakh and Theo Walcott every week.
Arsenal’s potential demise only encourages Mancini, who said: "We are interested in all good players. If there is a good player who wants to leave a club, then we are interested.”
Mancini, like Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and Jose Mourinho if he stays at Real Madrid after winning La Liga this season, won’t be put off by Van Persie’s repeated claims of loyalty to Wenger. At 28, he’s out of contract at the end of 2013. The giants are waiting to swoop, with money no object if Van Persie doesn’t sign a new deal before the end of the winter.
Mancini claims: "If Van Persie leaves I don't think he will be cheap because he has one year left on his contract. If, for example, you wanted to buy Napoli's Edinson Cavani he would be maybe £30million.
"I think Van Persie will sign a new contract. He is Arsenal's best player and it is difficult for them to give him to another club.
"I think he is a fantastic striker but I think he will remain with Arsenal."
Then why talk about him at all Roberto?