Confirmation that Robin van Persie hasn’t gone on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia and strong rumours that Luka Modric didn’t travel to the USA with Tottenham have increased the likelihood of both leaving London this summer.
The Gunners are portraying the decision not to take van Persie with them as fitness-related, but other players who outlasted his nation Holland at Euro 2012, like Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, have gone.
Arsene Wenger retains hope of convincing his captain to stay, and indeed three offers for the striker have been rejected, which were reportedly £12 million enquiries from Manchester United and City and an optimistic £8 million approach from Juventus.
The reason the bids fall so far below Arsenal’s £20 million valuation is that his contract expires next year, while his past injury record is also perhaps a factor, and likewise a possible reason why they were reluctant to let him risk injury in Asia.
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that Manchester United are in the running but they are 5/4 to land the current PFA player of the year to neighbours Manchester City’s 10/11. Juventus is considered the least likely destination of the three at 9/2.
The uncertainty surrounding van Persie’s future is the only obstacle threatening Arsenal’s 12/1-rated Premier League title chances.
Also troubling is Wenger’s hint that Jack Wilshere won’t return until September or October at the earliest, while Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky will also miss the start of the season.
Round the corner at Tottenham, Modric’s apparent absence from Friday’s training and the flight for their US trip suggests that his exit is almost inevitable, though Spurs appear far calmer about the prospect of losing a key figure than their rivals.
Chairman Daniel Levy is determined not to sell for less than £40 million however and is believed to have snubbed a proposal from Real Madrid falling almost £10 million short of that sum.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.