Entering the final year of his contract at Arsenal, the future of Robin van Persie was always going to be a dominant storyline this summer. The speculation went into overdrive when the Dutchman publicly expressed his unwillingness to sign a new deal with the club at which he has grown into one of the world's best forwards over the past eight years.
Arsenal are said to still be hopeful of persuading Van Persie to sign a new deal, but are also equally aware of the need to avoid a repeat of last summer's disruptive scenario. Then Arsenal remained bullish about their chances of keeping hold of Samir Nasri as he entered the final 12 months of his contract before eventually relenting and selling the Frenchman to Manchester City late in the window.
That left boss Arsene Wenger little time to reinvest in the squad and making a late flurry of desperate purchases that resulted in an awful start to the Premier League season.
Arsenal are due to fly out on their tour of Asia on Saturday, and the question remains, will Van Persie be traveling with the team? As of now, it looks like he will, but Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus are all waiting in the wings to swoop for the man who turns 29 next month.
Despite Wenger's confidence that Van Persie was too good for Serie A, the Independent reports that Van Persie has told Arsenal that his preference is for a move to Turin. Whether the Serie A champions would be willing to stump up the required £20 million to £25 million fee as well as £120,000-a-week in wages remains to be seen.
Given that uncertainty, Van Persie's reported second choice Manchester United could yet come into the equation. Similar questions will be asked, though, of United's eagerness to put forward such a sizable financial package for a player with an injury-laden past.
While Wenger is understandably reluctant to consider losing yet another player to mega-rich Manchester City, it is the Premier League champions that could still lure last season's Golden Boot winner to the Etihad.
Emmanuel Adebayor is said to be closing in on a move to Tottenham and the Daily Mail reports that Milan is close to a deal to sign Carlos Tevez. Those moves would free up space on City's wage bill and in their front line for Van Persie.
Having returned to pre-season training this week, Van Persie is due for talks with Wenger in the coming days. As Goal.com claims, the Gunners could yet opt to hold their captain to his contract and hope to convince him to stay over the course of the coming months. Given the financial boon that results from qualification for the Champions League, such a move may not be so farfetched. However, the potential disruption that can result from having an unhappy player in the squad cannot be underestimated.
Whatever happens, given Wenger's scars from 12 months ago, a resolution should soon be forthcoming.