Tuesday 20 March 2018

Juve aim to pip City in race for Dutch ace

Jeremy Wilson

Juventus are hoping to capitalise on the hesitancy at Manchester City over Robin van Persie by offering to make the Arsenal captain the highest-paid player in their history.

City will bid around £20m for Van Persie but Roberto Mancini has been told that he must first ease the wage bill and move on some of his other strikers, creating a small window of opportunity for the Serie A champions. Van Persie, who on Wednesday announced his decision not to sign a new contract at Arsenal, is understood to be interested in the option of playing in Italy, particularly given the resurgence in Europe last season of Italian teams.

Juventus are willing to break their own wage structure by paying Van Persie close to the £200,000-a-week that would be on offer at City, but they will be more reluctant to pay a transfer fee above £15m. That could create an added dilemma for Arsenal, who would then have the choice of holding Van Persie to his contract for another season, selling to a Premier League rival or accepting a lower fee to allow a move to Italy.

Van Persie, who also interests Manchester United, has been identified as Mancini's top transfer target this summer but the club are first focusing on easing their own wage bill. A deal was reached yesterday for Wayne Bridge to go on loan to Brighton, with the vast majority of his £90,000-a-week wages still being paid by City. Bridge featured sporadically for City over the past three years and may face another former club in pre-season when Chelsea face Brighton on August 4. That could mean lining up against former England captain John Terry, whose hand he refused to shake before a match back in 2010.

Talks are also progressing over the permanent transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor to Tottenham. Adebayor's current contract at City is worth £170,000 a week, but it is understood that Spurs are ready to make a £4m upfront payment to the player if he agrees a deal to stay at White Hart Lane until 2016.


This would help mitigate his wage cut, although Tottenham would then still also make Adebayor the highest paid player in their history on a deal worth around £110,000 a week.

Completing the Adebayor deal is likely to be key for City in allowing Mancini to make a formal bid for Van Persie. City are mindful of Uefa's incoming Financial Fair-Play rules and the need to reduce annual losses which stood at £197m in their most recently published accounts.

With Real Madrid the most likely destination for Luka Modric, new manager Andre Villas-Boas is hoping to quickly conclude an £11m deal for Oscar, the Brazil playmaker. Tottenham also remain confident on Jan Vertonghen, the Ajax defender, and are interested in France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Birmingham goalkeeper, Jack Butland. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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