Arsenal name Van Persie price, AC Milan, Man United join race
City and Juve also chasing Dutch striker as United ponder move for Robert Lewandowski
ANOTHER day another round of rumours about the future of Arsenal contract rebel Robin van Persie. And as usual it's pretty difficult to figure out what is actually going on with the player as different sections of the media try to shout each other down. Today, depending on who you believe, it seems that the unsettled striker is moving to either Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United or AC Milan but, then again, he may not be going anywhere after all.
First up, it's the Mirror, which is adamant that Manchester United are the front runners in the race to sign the Dutchman. The paper says that Alex Ferguson has told his friends that Van Persie will be moving to Old Trafford to team up with Wayne Rooney. The paper doesn't offer much in the way of evidence to back up its assertion, but when did that ever stop a good rumour?
Down in London the papers reckon Juventus have the edge. The Evening Standard maintains that Italy is the Dutch international’s preferred destination and it backs that up with quotes from Juve president Giuseppe Marotta who described the forward as "a fans' dream". Commuters' bible, Metro, says that Arsenal have "named their price" and will be looking for bids in the region of £25m for the 28-year-old striker.
None of this has deterred Manchester City says the Daily Express, which declares that Roberto Mancini will make a formal approach for the striker this week.
Meanwhile back in Italy, La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that AC Milan have entered the race to sign Van Persie after offloading Zlatan Ibrahimovich to Paris St Germain, and they have £31m knocking around in their coffers. Sadly, TalkSport, which carries the story, has been forced to admit that there has been "no contact" between the clubs.
Finally, there is still the prospect that Arsenal will force the player to see out his contract.
As Dimitar Berbatov prepares to leave Old Trafford this summer, will Robert Lewandowski be the man to replace the bungling Bulgarian striker? The 23-year-old Polish frontman has been linked with a move to United for several months, having come to the attention of manager Alex Ferguson thanks to his exploits for German outfit Borussia Dortmund.
With 30 goals to his name last season Lewandowski is coveted by Ferguson and it seems the prolific Pole is angling for a move to England. Speaking to Polish television station TVP, Lewandowski admitted that the Premier League "is a league that I would like to play in, and I hope it happens sometime". Though he said he was "happy at Dortmund" Lewandowski did little to endear himself to the Dortmund club by adding he "always like[s] to aspire to greater heights".
Talking of great heights, the 6ft 4in Edin Dzeko is "70 per cent" likely to join AC Milan this summer. In an interview with Italian news website Calciomercato.com, Dzeko's agent – the colourfully-named Sead Susic – said "the arrival of Dzeko at Milan is more than possible".
It's been known for some time that Dzeko has struggled to settle at Manchester City after his 2010 move from Wolfsburg, and according to Susic a move to Milan would be just the tonic. "We have had contacts and they continue, let's see what will happen in the next few days," he said. "He likes the Italian championship and Milan very much - it would be a wonderful experience."
Asked how likely it was the move would happen before the summer is out, Susic repied: "I will just say that it is 70 per cent possible."
And Milan appeared to open the door for a possible move when chief executive Adriano Galliani was asked by La Gazzetta dello Sport if a deal was in the pipeline. "Let's wait and see," he said. With Milan having lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain this week they are in need of a replacement goalgetter.
In other news Fulham have denied that star striker Clint Dempsey has signed for Liverpool following a video report on Fenway Sports Group's [FSG] website that a deal had been completed. FSG, the American owners of Liverpool, reported that the £10m transfer was in the bag, all of which was news to the Cottagers. The London Evening Standard reports that Fulham pooh-poohed the news in a press statement, declaring the report to be "totally not true. We would also discourage any bids".
The video report subsequently vanished from the website, only adding to the sense of confusion. It was reported earlier in the week that Liverpool saw Dempsey as a replacement for Andy Carroll but on this occasion it appears the club jumped the gun.
Finally the Daily Mirror reports that Spurs' new manager Andre Villas-Boas has informed Luka Modric he won't be sold until Tottenham's £35m asking price is met. The wantaway Croatian playmaker has been itching to leave the Lane for months but AVB won't be selling him on the cheap. "There has been continuous interest from three different clubs. But it's important for Tottenham to hold onto their rights," he said. "His situation will continue as it is until the price is right."
It's believed Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United are the trio of clubs trailing the midfield star but for the time being Modric must play the waiting game."Luka is an intelligent person and understands the club has to defend his value, their values, rights and interests," said AVB. "But the offer has not been met to what the chairman wants. If that is met there won't be any problems."