Every new day seemingly brings fresh speculation about the future of Arsenal captain Robin van Persie. The Daily Mirror believes that Manchester United are now in pole position to sign the Dutch forward who has stated that he will not be signing a new contract at the Emirates.
Selling their prized asset to their greatest rivals of the past 15 years would undoubtedly represent a huge blow to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. The Mirror claims that United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes that the club will sign Van Persie for £20 million. Quite whether the recently frugal United would be prepared to commit that fee as well as massive wages for a player who turns 29 next month remains to be seen.
Juventus have said that they are still interested in Van Persie, although they too may find the financial realities do not stack-up when compared to younger and less expensive alternatives. Arsenal are still said to be considering the possibility of holding the player to the final year of his contract, but are likely to want some kind of resolution before the squad heads off on a pre-season tour of Asia on Saturday.
In the meantime Arsenal may be setting about signing a good friend of Van Persie's, Ibrahim Afellay. Spanish publication El Mundo Deportivo has reported that the Dutchman has little future at Barcelona with Inter and Arsenal vying for his signature.
Afellay spent most of last season on the sidelines with a serious knee injury and is expected to struggle to feature at the Camp Nou given the emergence of youngsters Cristian Tello and Isaac Cuenca during the past year. Lille are also interested, though Afellay is believed to have little interest in joining the Ligue 1 side.
According to the paper, Wesley Sneijder is telling his club Inter to go all out to sign his international teammate.
The Gunners could also swoop for another unsettled La Liga midfielder in Santi Cazorla. Marca has reported that Cazorla has told his club Malaga that he wants a move away this summer. Despite earning a qualification spot for the Champions League, the club is embroiled in rising debts with significant wages owed to players, including Cazorla.
Marca claims that Tottenham are interested in the Spanish international, while Real Madrid and Barcelona could also emerge as contenders. Given that Arsenal were strongly linked to Cazorla last summer, however, Wenger could now decide the time is right to reignite his interest. Interestingly, Sky Bet list Arsenal as strong favorites to sign the creative 27-year-old.
Despite reports on Wednesday from Sky Sports that Arsenal had agreed a fee with Caen for M'Baye Niang, the Daily Mail has claimed that the Gunners have in fact had a £5 million offer rejected.
Arsenal took the 17-year-old Frenchman on trial recently and Wenger is believed to still be eager to complete a move. According to the Mail, Arsenal will increase their bid in the coming days. Manchester City are also reported to be keenly pursuing the highly-rated forward.