Speaking at a press conference after his side lost on penalties to Barcelona in a pre-season friendly, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Manchester United will persevere in transfer negotiations for Robin van Persie, despite the obvious reluctance of Arsenal to sell to one of our biggest rivals.
It was first revealed that United had made a bid for RvP around 3 weeks ago. However, it is not known whether the Reds have made an improved offer or if Fergie is referring to the original bid. It is very clear that Arsenal want to avoid selling to United and, given that Juventus and Manchester City have both cooled their interest, it is now looking increasingly likely that the Dutchman will remain at the Emirates for another season.
The BBC are reporting that Arsenal will not enter into negotiations with United until the offer is at least £20 million, although I think that we should hold out for £25-30m, regardless of the fact that he has only 1 year on his contract. Either we receive a decent price or van Persie doesn’t move. Fergie is not used to having clubs tell him no, and I have to say that I am quite enjoying watching Arsenal hold their own.
“I can’t give you any more information. We have made a bid and they’ve been trying to negotiate with other clubs. We just have to persevere. Hopefully it will come our way. We’re trying our best but there’s no progress at this moment in time.
“I don’t have a gut feeling on it at the moment, I must admit. We’re not getting any breakthrough with Arsenal. It’s difficult to say why they’re operating this way. I don’t know what their thoughts are because they’re not giving anything away.”
This is just the kind of stubbornness that I have been waiting to see from Arsenal. No player is bigger than the club and clearly Wenger has decided that he has given in one time too many. Ever since Robin’s statement a month ago Arsenal fans have been resigned to losing our star player. I don’t think that any of us actually expected the club to put their foot down and say that enough is enough.
Bizarrely, Twitter is flooded with rumours that RvP has left Arsenal’s training camp in Germany and is on his way to negotiate a contract at Old Trafford with wage offer that would make him United’s joint highest earner with Wayne Rooney. How this could be possible if Ferguson has just said that Arsenal won’t budge I don’t know. Surely if Arsenal are refusing to negotiate with United then they wouldn’t allow him to skip pre-season training? The only way to know for sure if van Persie is still there is to have a look when Arsenal release more pre-season photos on the club website.
Given the signings of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla, I now remain hopeful that Wenger can see this through. If we can keep hold of van Persie (and obviously lose some of the deadweight like Bendtner) then we have probably had one of the most successful summers in Arsenal’s recent history. Wenger still isn’t done. There are one or two more decent signings to come. Mark my words: Arsenal are a force to be reckoned with this season.