Arsene Wenger to decide if Robin Van Persie can join Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Malaysia
ARSENE Wenger will decide tomorrow whether Robin Van Persie is to be among the group of Arsenal players who will travel to Malaysia on Saturday on the first leg of the club's Asia tour as both parties seek a resolution on his future today.
With Arsenal still seeking a fee in excess of £20m for a player who is 29 next month and out of contract in a year's time - with a less than ideal injury-record - it will take a significant change of heart from any of the three pursuing clubs for that figure to be reached in the next 48 hours.
Juventus remain Van Persie's preference, with Manchester United and Manchester City ranked accordingly after that. The Italian club have made significant investments this summer in Sebastian Giovinco, for whom they paid around €11m to Parma to buy out his contract in full; Isla Asamoah and Mauricio Isla from Udinese on part-ownership deals worth a total of €18m; Martin Caceres from Seville (€8m) as well Lucio (free agent) and Paul Pogba (compensation) among others.
Signing Van Persie would be the most significant indication yet that the current Italian champions are capable of competing with the biggest clubs in England for the top players.
Theo Walcott returns to train with Arsenal after his post-Euro 2012 rest with no talks yet on a new deal for the 23-year-old who is out of contract next summer. Walcott will speak to Arsene Wenger about his future during the tour of Asia but the financial details of any new contract are expected to take a good deal longer to agree.
There is no appetite currently on Walcott's side to leave this summer and, unlike others who have forced their way out the club recently, such as Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, he is minded to sign another deal. However, there are no guarantees on that score and much will depend whether Arsenal improve on his wages, understood to be in the region of £70,000-a-week.
Jack Wilshere will not be on the Arsenal flight on Saturday afternoon. He continues his rehabilitation from the ankle problem that has not seen him play for the first team in almost 12 months.