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Robin Van Persie not prepared to discuss new Arsenal deal

Robin van Persie has made it clear that he is not willing to sign a new contract in the immediate future, sparking fears that Arsenal are facing yet another damaging summer transfer saga.

Arsenal had hoped to resolve Van Persie's future before Euro 2012 but a meeting involving Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis provided limited encouragement.

It is understood Van Persie, who yesterday joined up with the Holland squad, made it known he was not currently prepared to commit his long-term future to the club. Manchester City and Juventus are both closely monitoring the situation and there is now a mounting sense that Van Persie is waiting to see what options emerge and how the transfer window unfolds. Juventus are prepared to at least match Arsenal's offer of around £130,000-a-week but Manchester City could pay well in excess of £200,000-a-week.

Van Persie has not said he wants to leave but, with only one year left on his contract, he is in a strong position. Arsenal have indicated they would be prepared to hold Van Persie to his contract for one more season, even if that meant losing him for nothing next year. However, they did also make the same threat last year to Samir Nasri before accepting £24m from City.

There is now a private acceptance at Arsenal that the Van Persie situation is unlikely to be swiftly resolved, with Patrick Vieira, their former captain, yesterday questioning his old club's strategy.

"I think losing Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas last year was a big shock for Arsenal," said Vieira. "I think if they lose Robin Van Persie this year it will be a drama.

"It is a big risk. They lost Cesc and Samir but you knew that Robin was behind. If they lose Robin, who is behind? From Arsenal's point of view, I think these are the things they should close a long time ago but Arsenal don't need me to tell them that." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent