Arsenal fearful after Van Persie spotted at Barcelona hotel
As Arsenal captain's allegiances are questioned, Inter close in on Wenger target Yann M'Vila
ARSENAL fans are over the moon that Robin van Persie looks set to take the 'Player of the Year' award this season, but their faces may drop when they realise how much interest their star striker is attracting in the transfer market. Indeed, the cream of European football might already be buttering him up.
The Daily Mail has spotted Van Persie at the hotel where Barcelona are currently staying ahead of their Champions League clash with Chelsea tomorrow – and the paper has been speculating as to why a talented international footballer with one year left on his contract might be hanging out with the best team in the world. Those of a less suspicious bent might assume he was catching up with fellow Dutchman Ibrahim Afellay at the Marriott hotel on Park Lane. Others appear to believe Van Persie wants to move up in the world.
If the Arsenal captain were to move to Spain, he would be only the latest in a long line of former Gunners – Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor, Toure, Clichy – to be lured away from the Emirates with the promise of big bucks.
There's bad news elsewhere for the north London club, as Inter Milan intend to beat Arsenal to the signing of Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, according to the Metro.
The Italian club, who last month sacked coach Claudio Ranieri, will appoint Laurent Blanc as his successor once the former World Cup winner has overseen France's Euro 2012 campaign. And that's not all: according to the Metro, Inter are about to make an audacious bid for M'Vila, despite the fact Arsenal have long been linked to the 21-year-old playmaker.
Taking its information from French sports daily L'Equipe, the Metro says that Inter will first hire Blanc as their coach and then use him as bait to lure M'Vila to the San Siro.
Apparently Inter will offer Rennes £10m for M'Vila in the summer and are confident he will agree to the move because of the prospect of working under Blanc, a coach he knows well from his time in the France side, not to mention the fact that Arsenal can't even beat a team like Wigan these days.
That's also the reason that Ajax central defender Jan Vertonghen might opt for Newcastle rather than the Gunners.
It had seemed a racing certainty that the 24-year-old would join Arsenal in the summer but The Daily Telegraph reports that Newcastle now fancy their chances of snaring the Belgian international. Magpies' manager Alan Pardew watched Vertonghen in action for Ajax at the weekend and the Telegraph says it's a sign that Newcastle are increasingly confident of pipping Arsenal to third spot, thereby qualifying automatically for next season's Champion League.
Meanwhile AC Milan are preparing to make another attempt to persuade Manchester City to part with Carlos Tevez. The argumentative Argentine, who scored a hat-trick for the Sky Blues at the weekend in his first start since falling out with Roberto Mancini in September, has long been a matter of interest for Milan.
Italian rag Corriere dello Sport reports that Tevez almost made a loan move to Milan in January, only for the deal to fall through when City told the Italian outfit they would only offload the striker in a permanent transfer. Now it appears AC Milan will accept the proposition, paying City upwards of £30m in the summer.
And he won't be the only new player heading to Italy in the close season, says Talksport, which reports that AC Milan are favourites to land Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa when June's transfer window opens.
The 23-year-old has been in sparkling form this season for the German club and is out of contract at the end of next season. That's alerted Milan, as well as Chelsea, and the pair are both vying for the services of the Japanese ace. But if the Blues want to sign Kagawa they'll have to qualify for next season's Champions League otherwise he'll go with AC Milan who are guaranteed qualification for Europe's premier competition.
In other news Russian website Tden has reported that Fulham striker Pavel Pogrebnyak has moved into Jose Mourinho's old gaff in Chelsea, prompting speculation that the on-loan marksman will be turning his temporary residence at the Cottage into a more permanent stay.
Pogrebnyak joined Fulham on loan from Stuttgart in January and becomes a free agent in June. But speaking to Tden, the Russian said: "I like my life in London very much", and hinted that he'll be staying put at Fulham.