Arsenal could report Man City for 'tapping up' Robin van Persie
As top clubs circle Van Persie, Gunners claim City made an illegal approach for the Dutchman
ARSENAL are considering reporting Manchester City to the Football Association for allegedly making an illegal approach to Robin van Persie. According to The Sun, the Gunners believe that the Sky Blues have been "tapping up" their skipper.
As The Week reported yesterday, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger holds Van Persie's agent, Kees Vos, to blame primarily for the release of the incendiary letter from the Dutchman on Wednesday. The Sun claims that Wenger and Arsenal chief excutive Ivan Gazidis contacted Vos on Thursday to "express their fury" at the way he and Van Persie have conducted themselves in the last 48 hours.
But it's what to do about City that is the immediate concern of the Arsenal manager. The Sun says that he and Gazidis are weighing up whether to "lodge an official complaint" over the Sky Blues' behaviour in recent weeks.
The last club to do such a thing was in fact Arsenal, back in 2005, when they reported Chelsea to the FA for making an illegal approach to Ashley Cole. The Blues were fined £300,000 as a result, not exactly a swingeing punishment and one that doesn't appear to have acted as a deterrent.
In the meantime it's reported that City will brush off the allegations and make an opening bid of £15m for Van Persie with the Sky Blues ready to offer the Dutch striker weekly wages of £200,000.
The Daily Mirror, however, claims that Juventus are in "pole position" to buy the Arsenal captain because of reluctance on the part of the Manchester City board to part with a large amount of money for an injury-prone player. Then again, if you believe the Daily Mail, it's Manchester United leading the hunt for Van Persie.
Meanwhile, as if Arsenal didn't have enough on their plate right now, Alisher Usmanov, the second largest shareholder in the club, has used Van Persie's statement to launch an attack on the way the club is run.
In a long-winded letter running to five pages, Usmanov – who has a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal - accuses the board of mismanagement in its transfer policy. "This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to our main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the club and the club's ambitions," said Usmanov, in what will be construed as a direct assault on Stan Kroenke, Arsenal's majority shareholder.
"The situation with our captain and outstanding performer from last season, Robin van Persie, sums this up. Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player because we cannot assure him of the future direction and give confidence that we can win trophies."
Usmanov believes that until the club clears the debts accrued from the construction of the Emirates stadium Arsenal will never be competitive in the transfer market. According to The Daily Telegraph, Usmamov wants a "rights issue that would release share equity to pay off a debt that peaked at £318 million in 2008 but now costs the club around £14 million a year".
But for that to happen, Kroenke would have to agree to an additional financial commitment. "It is down to our manager and not the shareholders to have to deal with the club's tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements," said Usmanov.