Arsenal hand Robin Van Persie £7m to stay, but City offer more
Gunners make record offer but RVP could get £250,000-a-week with Balotelli at Etihad
IT'S NOT just Paul Merson going mental these days. So are Arsenal as they launch a concerted bid to hold on to star striker Robin van Persie.
According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners are "putting the finishing touches on a club record £7million-per-season deal" to ensure the Dutchman doesn't jump ship in the summer.
The paper goes on to say that manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis will sit down with Van Persie on Wednesday and thrash out a deal. That deal will allegedly involve Van Persie, who currently takes home a derisory £70,000-per-week, being offered a slightly more respectable £130,000-per-week over three years. In addition Van Persie - who scored 37 goals in the 2011-12 season - will be lavished with a £5million signing-on fee.
Whether this is enough to persuade him to stay remains to be seen. The Sun claims Van Persie's agent Kees Vos has been spotted at the Etihad Stadium and declares Manchester City will make a move for him this week.
Vos for his part said: "I have been to a lot of Premier League games this season, including City ones. I watch a lot of players - my life does not revolve around Robin van Persie."
But the Mirror claims that van Persie almost certainly is heading for the Etihad – in a deal that would see his current salary trebled to £250,000 a week. City are said to be front-runners in a three-way race with Manchester United and Juventus should Wenger's talks with the striker tomorrow not go as planned.
Good news for fans of oddballs, eccentrics and off-the-wall strikers - according to The Guardian Roberto Mancini has decided Mario Balotelli will stay at Manchester City after all, just a month after saying the striker had no future at the club. Mancini had been looking at a swap that would see Balotelli go to Milan for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
That deal has now been dismissed. "Ibra is a great player but I don't think Milan want to sell him," Mancini told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I'm going to be honest, we haven't looked at the market yet. In the last five weeks our only focus has been the league. Mario has been very clear and I reiterate: Balotelli will remain at Manchester 101 per cent."
Meanwhile, Talksport says that Premier League clubs have been put on "red alert" after Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero revealed he would love the chance to play in England. After nearly 20 years with Juve and a swansong Serie A title this season the Italian legend has said that he has no intention of hanging up his boots and thinks he can play another year in the top flight.
Del Piero admits he would love the chance to play in the Premier League and, according to Italian newspaper Corriere Dello Sport, he is considering three offers to play in England next season. One of which is believed to come from Arsenal. "England is a place where the football is so good, but I have still not agreed anything with a club," he said.
Less than 48 hours after clinching the Premier League crown, Manchester City are reportedly eyeing up another prize - Porto striker Hulk. According to Talksport the Sky Blues are on "red alert" after the 25-year-old declared he was unsure where he would be playing next season.
Chelsea are also known to be interested but they'll drop out of the race in all probability if they lose to Bayern Munich in Saturday's Champions League final and miss out on qualification for next season's competition.
"I do not know yet what my future will be like," said Hulk, real name Zvanidlo Vieira de Souza. "I have four years left on my contract and my agent is talking to Porto… I try not to focus too much on a transfer, although I hear what is being said - I know there are interested clubs, but I do my best for that not to affect me."
In other news Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has moved to reassure the Toon Army that he intends to stay at St James' Park despite the Magpies missing out on Champions League qualification.
It's the Europa League for Newcastle next season after they finished fifth in the Premier League, but that doesn't seem to bother the 26-year-old Senegalese sharpshooter. "I hope to continue scoring goals for Newcastle next season, and I'm looking forward to playing in the Europa League," he told the Newcastle Chronicle.
Having scored 13 goals in 15 games for Newcastle since arriving from German outfit side Freiburg in January, Cisse has been the target of much transfer speculation. But he told the Chron he's happy with life on Tyneside.
Elsewhere and although Tottenham failed to hang on to third spot in the Premier League, boss Harry Redknapp is hoping they'll have more luck clinging on to striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
The towering Togolese striker scored his 17th league goal for the Lilywhites in Sunday's 2-0 defeat of Fulham, but he remains on Manchester City's books for the time being.
"He was only a loan and his loan is up," Redknapp is quoted as saying to Sky Sports. "It is up to the [Spurs] chairman if we could loan him again. I would like to keep him, obviously. He has done great for us."
Redknapp remains confident that a deal can be struck with City for Adebayor with the Spurs manager saying of the new league champions: "They don't want him. They don't want to see him ever again."