Arsenal set to risk Van Persie leaving for nothing in 2013
Arsenal are prepared to keep Robin van Persie for another season and risk losing him for nothing in 2013 if he does not agree to extend his contract this summer.
The hope at Arsenal is that Van Persie will be persuaded to sign a new four-year deal that would be worth in excess of £100,000 a week, but the club still has Plan B in place.
Clearly their resolve to implement it would be tested by a huge offer from a rival club, as well as the attitude of Van Persie, but there are key differences to last summer when Arsenal sold Samir Nasri to Manchester City for £24m.
While Van Persie would also be into the final year of his contract, he turns 29 this summer and, given his past injury record, there is less likelihood of clubs being willing to pay in excess of £20m for him.
For Arsenal, the potential short-term significance of Van Persie is clearly also far greater than Nasri. Arsene Wenger almost forced Nasri to stay last year but then decided that the loss of £24m for just one extra season from his France midfielder was not justifiable.
That calculation, particularly as Champions League football is worth around £30m, will be very different with Van Persie. As well his goalscoring feats, his leadership this season in the Arsenal dressing-room has been crucial.
Manchester City were the first major club to publicly signal their interest this week, with Roberto Mancini stating that Van Persie was the sort of player who would be wanted by any leading team.
Wenger was unhappy last summer when Mancini talked openly about Nasri but there is an appreciation at Arsenal that these latest comments were rather less provocative. Indeed, Mancini did also predict that Van Persie would stay at the Emirates.
Wenger still believes that Van Persie will agree a new long-term contract this summer and, as well as a financial package that will include a huge signing-on fee, Arsenal are keen to make decisive statements in the transfer market.
They know that they must also convince Van Persie that Arsenal can genuinely compete to win the Premier League next season. That process began this week by reaching provisional agreement with Cologne on an £11m deal for Germany striker Lukasz Podolski.
It has emerged that there is late competition from Anzhi Makhachkala, who would be able to offer Podolski around double his wages, but the 26-year-old does remain committed to joining Arsenal. Podolski has provisionally agreed a four-year deal worth around £90,000 a week at Arsenal.
As well as Podolski, Wenger had been told that there is cash for further reinvestment this summer, bur that will also be channelled towards existing playing contracts.
As well as Van Persie, Theo Walcott is out of contract in 2013 and will finalise his future this summer. Tomas Rosicky will be offered a one-year extension to his current £60,000-a-week deal.
There will also be an overhaul in other areas of the squad, with Arsenal open to offers for Nicklas Bendtner, Manuel Almunia, Sebastian Squillaci, Denilson and Andrey Arshavin. (© Daily Telegraph, London)