Emirates Stadium side to play hard-ball with Gunners skipper.
ARSENAL board members will discuss the option of playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship over captain Robin van Persie’s future when they meet this week.
But owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis have been challenged to “show us the money” by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, who forecast the club have £50million to spend on transfers and new contracts.
Arsenal’s monthly board meeting is due to take place on Thursday and, as usual, Kroenke will fly into London to attend, along with Gazidis and manager Arsene Wenger.
Both Wenger and Gazidis have come in for criticism as Arsenal face up to a seventh successive season without a trophy.
Central to Arsenal’s hopes of trying to challenge Manchester City and United is the future of top scorer Van Persie, whose contract is due to expire in 2013.
One option that has been mooted in the boardroom and will be discussed again is to hold off throwing cash at Van Persie and tell the striker’s representatives that all bids for him in the summer will be rejected.
Arsenal do not realistically expect to be offered more than £20m for a player with one year remaining on his contract and who will turn 30 in August 2013.
And there is still a hope inside the Emirates that Van Persie may be convinced to sign a new deal without shattering the wage structure if he is made aware he would be effectively forced to see out the remaining 12 months of his contract before being able to leave.
There are some Arsenal fans who believe that the club should offer Robin Van Persie whatever he wants in order to convince the Dutchman to stay at the North London club, this is clearly a school of thought that the Gunners board does not subscribe to.
With just a year to run on his contract come the end of the season the Arsenal skipper does have the upper hand in negotiations and may well ask for a big pay increase in order to persuade him to not force the club to sell him. Over the last 12 months of his current deal his valuation will speedily decrease leaving the side having to consider cashing in on the goal machine or risk losing his services for nothing.
Last summer Samir Nasri left the club with little option other than to accept a £25m bid from Man City and given the form shown by Van Persie one would imagine he could garner at least such a price, even if he is 28 years of age and has a history of injury concerns.
Having scored 29 goals in 35 matches Van Persie has become a focal point for Arsenal’s attack and Arsene Wenger can ill afford to lose such a prized asset but if a top four finish is not secure then there is a very real chance the former Feyenoord man will ask to leave and that’s when the issue may come to a head.
Given that Arsenal have posted a hefty profit for the past year the purchasing of new players of note could well persuade Van Persie of the club’s ambition and this too could help secure a new deal for the fans favourite.