There has been further speculation on Friday about the potential for a dramatic return to Arsenal for striker Robin van Persie. On the back of stories that began circulating in recent days, Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri has claimed that Arsene Wenger has held a discussion with Van Persie’s agent, Kees Vos, about the Dutchman rejoining the club from which he left for Manchester United in controversial circumstances just 18 months ago.

According to Palmeri, the two met for talks on Jan. 28, with Vos informing Wenger of his client’s desire, not only to leave Old Trafford, but move back to the Emirates Stadium. Wenger is thought to be keen to do a deal, with United also not intent on standing in the player’s way.

When asked about the earlier rumors ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Manchester United this week, Wenger intriguingly did not deny them.

“I don't think that's an ideal subject for us to treat today," he said, according to ESPN. "I think it is best we don't talk about that at the moment. Robin van Persie is a great player, we know that.”

Van Persie left for United in the summer of 2012 having failed to extend a contract that had just a year left to run. His desire to leave was thought to be based on concerns about the club’s lack of ambition in the transfer market. Despite the rivalry between the two clubs, Arsenal agreed to Van Perise’s wish to allow him to join United for a fee of £27 million.

The deal initially proved a huge success with Van Persie scoring 26 goals to fire Manchester United to the Premier League title, which was the first league title of his career. It has been a different story this campaign, however. Sir Alex Ferguson was thought to be a big factor in Van Persie’s desire to join United and his relationship with successor David Moyes has reportedly been strained from the early days. Stories emerged that Van Persie was unhappy about the pre-season training implemented by Moyes. Coincidentally, or not, after putting his injury problems behind him in the two previous seasons, the 30-year-old has had two spells on the sidelines this term.

Van Persie has still scored 10 goals in 15 league appearances, but United have struggled desperately and languish in seventh place. The arrival of Juan Mata in January has thus far failed to spark a revival, with Moyes struggling to get the best out of the Spaniard in combination with Wayne Rooney and Van Persie. With the immensely promising Adnan Januzaj also at the club, it is possible that Van Persie could be sacrificed this summer as part of the club’s overhaul of its squad. Whether they would be prepared to sell him back to a rival, though, would surely be a different matter entirely.

While United have toiled, Arsenal have led the Premier League for much of the season and still sit just a point off the summit. Also likely to encourage Van Persie to return is that the club now looks both willing and able to compete in the transfer market having signed a string of lucrative commercial deals in recent months and smashed their transfer record to secure Mesut Ozil last summer.