Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie will enter the final year of his Gunners contract this summer, and Juventus have stepped up their interest in the newly-crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year.
Van Persie has been absolutely essential to Arsenal’s plight this season, hitting 34 goals in all competitions as his side stormed to third place in the Premier League after a poor domestic start.
He will be offered a new deal by boss Arsene Wenger, who is willing to make him far and away the highest paid Emirates player, but may have had his head turned by interest from a host of European giants.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, each Milan club and PSG are keeping tabs on the forward in addition to Juve, as well as Manchester City, though it is thought the Dutchman would prefer a move abroad should he relinquish his leadership duties in North London.
Juventus appear to have stolen a march on their competitors for his signature however, with sporting director Fabio Paratici contacting Van Persie’s advisors regarding a summer switch.
The Italians, challenging for Serie A honours amidst a season that sees them unbeaten after 33 games, are willing to pay over £25million for the striker, and such a bid would tempt the Gunners, who may decide to cash in as they did with Samir Nasri last year.
Whilst Van Persie is seen as more integral to Arsenal than a player such as Nasri was, the risk of losing him for nothing a year later could be too great for Wenger to ignore.
His value could yet be bolstered by further accolades in the coming weeks, as the Dutchman is widely expected to receive the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year in addition to his PFA award.
However, everybody connected with Arsenal will be determined to keep their talismanic skipper at the club, and would prefer him to renew his Gunners deal no matter what potential transfer fee he could attract.