Catalan side prepare move for Emirates Stadium goal machine.
Barcelona are set to enter the race to sign Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie with the Nou Camp giants readying a bid in the region of €30m (£24m) for the Dutch international, who has just one year left on his current Gunners contract.
New Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova is keen to bring in new attacking additions to a side that relies heavily on Lionel Messi for firepower. Spanish international David Villa has suffered with injury concerns for much of his time at the club since his move from Valencia two years ago and Chilean Alexis Sanchez had a moderate first campaign at the club last term so a move for Van Persie would help to strengthen the club’s attack.
Some speculation has suggested that Barcelona would be ready to offer long term Arsenal targets Ibrahim Afellay and Thiago Alcantara as possible player exchanges in any deal but Arsene Wenger is said to prefer straight cash offers for his Arsenal skipper and will only consider selling the Dutch international if the 28 year old puts in an official transfer request, a request that may well be on the horizon.
Arsenal have completed the purchase of forwards Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, leading many to believe that Wenger is aware of Van Persie’s desire to leave and unwillingness to put pen to paper on a new deal, leaving the North London club having to consider bids this summer or face losing the former Feyenoord man for nothing in a year’s time.
Manchester City and Real Madrid have both been linked with interest in Van Persie and presumably Wenger would prefer to sell to a La Liga side over losing yet another of his talents to a fellow Premier League side, as has been the case with four other Gunners stars who have moved to the Etihad Stadium in recent seasons; Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy.
Whilst it may well be the case that Roberto Mancini’s side could offer a bumper salary that few sides could top, Van Persie has stated his admiration for Barcelona in the past and would perhaps feel more comfortable moving abroad over angering Arsenal fans by moving to Manchester City or any other Premier League side.
Though there has been talk of financial difficulties at Barcelona, president Sandro Rosell has guaranteed Vilanova that significant funds are available to invest in new additions this summer, and given that the Catalan side saw their La Liga and Champions League titles last term there would appear to be a need to consider making changes this summer.