Real Madrid are favourites but where next for Robin van Persie?

With talks over a contact extension stalling and the Dutch striker in red hot form for the Gunners this season, Adam Bate discusses which club he could move to next
Despite Arsenal’s struggles this season, one man has continued to shine like a beacon throughout the campaign.

Robin van Persie’s 35 Premier League goals in 2011 may have left him one short of Alan Shearer’s record but the message is clear – the Dutchman is the leading striker in English football today.

The burning question now is how long Van Persie will be playing his football in England. He is a player in the prime of his career and is hoping to make a big impact at Euro 2012.

With Arsenal running the risk of missing out on Champions League qualification this season, the 28-year-old will be aware his next contract could be key especially given his patchy injury record in the past.

Which club will be next for Robin van Persie if he leaves Arsenal?

Real Madrid head the list of summer suitors and are a 9/4 (3.25) shot with Paddy Power to be Van Persie’s club of choice come the summer transfer window.

Robin van Persie's next club
Robin van Persie's next permanent club. Odds all from Paddy Power - other clubs available
Real Madrid
  9/4 (3.25)
  7/2 (4.50)
Manchester City
  7/2 (4.50)
AC Milan
 12/1 (13.0)
 66/1 (67.0)
Real have strong attacking options with Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema already at the club but the prospect of Van Persie linking up with Cristiano Ronaldo is a mouth-watering one for Madridistas.

One concern for Van Persie about moving to Real Madrid might be the fact that his compatriots Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart struggled to adapt to life at the Bernabeu. The Dutch influence at rivals Barcelona could be a better fit for the Arsenal man.

It is already a well-trodden path with ex-Gunners Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas having made the move to Camp Nou in recent years. Van Persie is a 7/2 (4.5) bet to switch to Barcelona.

There will, of course, be other English teams that would be interested if Van Persie decides his future lies elsewhere.

Manchester City are likely to lead the chase and have the financial muscle to blow other interested parties out of the water. City are the same price as Barca – a 7/2 (4.5) pick with Paddy Power to be Van Persie’s next club.

Much less likely but also reflected in a larger price, how about a move across north London to play Champions League football for arch-rivals Tottenham next? That’s a 66/1 (67.0) bet with Paddy Power.

Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on Twitter