Arsenal need trophies says Van Persie, Ahmedov begs to join
Arsenal need to convince RVP they can win titles, but Anzhi star just wants to be a Gunner
IT'S NOT the money that matters, it's the shortage of silverware. That's the message the Daily Mirror claims Robin van Persie has told Arsenal following initial talks aimed at persuading the Dutchman to extend his contract at the Emirates. The paper claims that Van Persie "has told Arsenal that no amount of money can keep him in north London if the club cannot convince him they will win trophies".
Since scooping the FA Cup in 2005, Arsenal have been as successful at winning titles as Engelbert Humperdinck and the Mirror says that's "left terrified Arsenal officials convinced Dutchman Van Persie will spell out his desire to leave" when he returns from playing for Holland in next month's European Championships.
It's believed the club has dangled a record £130,000-a-week contract – plus a £5m-a-year signing on fee - in front of the striker but Van Persie is considering his options. The Mirror says Premier League champions Manchester City are "poised" to offer van Persie a £20million contract along with a promise of as much silver polish as he wants.
The Mirror quotes an Emirates source, as saying: "Arsenal know it's not about money. Even if they offered Van Persie what City can pay it would make no difference if he doesn't believe the club can challenge for trophies."
Just to prove that money isn't everything to a footballer, the Daily Mail is reporting that Odil Ahmedov, who plays for big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala, wants to give up his life of luxury in Dagestan and ply his trade with the big boys in England or Spain. The Uzbekistan midfielder is quoted as saying: "All the clubs in Spain and England are wonderful, but I would like, if I had the choice, to play for Arsenal."
Apparently the feeling may be mutual, as the paper claims Arsenal have had the 24-year-old watched a few times over the last year and see him as an alternative to Yann M'Vila, whose chances of joining the Gunners seem to grow slimmer every day.
Although the Russian league might not present the sternest of tests to the modern footballer, Ahmedov has proved himself more than capable and was voted player of the season for Anzhi. The downside for Arsene Wenger is that Ahmedov also plays at centre-back and his presence could bring some steel to the Arsenal rearguard, not something that the Arsenal boss appears to approve of.
Elsewhere Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has acknowledged he's a target for Real Madrid when the transfer window opens later this week. The Serbian stopper, a member of the Blues' Champions League-winning side, is apparently being courted by Jose Mourinho ahead of next season, but in an interview with Spanish rag Marca, the 28-year-old dismissed speculation linking him with the Bernabeu, albeit in a rather wishy-washy way.
"I am very happy at Chelsea," he said, adding: "I won the Champions League just one week ago and to think about changing clubs now is complicated... I know what has been written about my future and that Madrid are following me, but now is not the time to talk about this."
To other news and AC Milan defender Thiago Silva is also pledging his troth to his employers and as we all know a footballer's word is as secure as a Greek bond.
Manchester City have been linked with the 27-year-old in recent weeks – as have Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain – but in conversation with Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport the Brazilian blocker said: "Am I tempted to play in the Premier League or La Liga? Absolutely not. I am happy at Milan and I want to stay." Silva then added that Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani had told him he is "a fundamental part of the team and non-transferable".
Has West Ham manager Sam Allardyce been out in the sun too long? That's the only reason we can think of as to why he "wants QPR bad boy Joey Barton to join him at Upton Park". According to the Daily Star the Hammers are lining up a bid for Barton despite the fact he carries more liability than a Spanish bank. The fiery midfielder was last week banned by the FA for 12 games and fined £75,000 after running amok at Manchester City on the last day of the season.
Finally, forget the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, Gooners may soon have another reason to hang out the bunting in the coming days. Talksport report that Danish patsy Nicklas Bendtner has "confirmed he is in talks" about leaving Arsenal this summer.
The Dane was farmed out to Sunderland last season, much to the relief of Arsenal fans who'd tired of his so-called striking skills. He's now back at the Emirates but not for long it seems.
"Yes, I have talked to other clubs," he replied when asked if he would be leaving Arsenal. "I have told all the clubs that I want to wait until after Euro 2012. We have got plenty of time to sort out the future." ·