Saturday 24 February 2018

Wenger's Malaysia tour call may seal Van Persie fate

Sam Wallace

Arsene Wenger will decide tomorrow if 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.

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, 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 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 as Lucio (free agent) and Paul Pogba (compensation).

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 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 on Walcott's side to leave this summer and, unlike others who have forced their way out of the club recently, such as Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, he is thought to want another deal. However, there are no guarantees on that score and much will depend on whether Arsenal improve 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 seen him not play for the first team in almost 12 months. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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