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The striker signalled his intention to reject the offer of a new contract from Arsenal on Wednesday, alerting Europe's biggest clubs to his availability

SPECIAL REPORT
By James Goldman and Greg Stobart  

European football’s financial powerhouses Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are preparing to swoop for Arsenal’s wantaway captain Robin van Persie.

After months of speculation, the Dutch striker effectively submitted a public transfer request on Wednesday by revealing he was unwilling to pen an extension to his contract, which expires next summer, and openly criticised the direction the north London club was headed under the management of Arsene Wenger.

WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?

September 2011
Van Persie refuses to enter talks over a new deal: "I still have almost two years left, so for the moment that's fine. I'm happy with my contract. I can't look into the future. I can't see us talking now because we are so busy."
May 04, 2011
Wenger hopeful that Van Persie will sign a new deal: "Who would want to lose his best player? My desire and my wish is to find an agreement with Robin van Persie, extend the contract and stay with us for a longer time. Hopefully we can reach that."
July 4, 2012
Reveals on his personal website that he will not sign a new deal with Arsenal as his hopes for the club are not matched by Wenger.
Manchester City, who have raided Emirates Stadium for the likes of Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy in the past three years, are prepared to table a bid of £15 million for the player who will turn 29 next month.

Arsenal released a robust response to Van Persie’s shock outburst on Wednesday, outlining their determination to ensure the former Feyenoord star fulfils his contractual obligations.

However, the north London club were equally steadfast in their attempts to play hardball over Nasri’s future last summer and ultimately caved in to City, who were able to prise the France midfielder away with a £24m bid.

City, who have long been planning an overhaul of their forward line this summer, are already believed to have agreed personal terms on a £225k-a-week deal with Van Persie, whose 30 Premier League goals last season ensured Arsenal once again qualified for the Champions League.

In a strongly worded statement on his official website, Van Persie claimed a desire to end an eight-year association with Arsenal was borne out of frustration at having won just one FA Cup, back in 2005, rather than motivated by any potential financial gains.

Still, the money on offer at City is sure to have helped sway his decision, while PSG, who are now bankrolled by Qatar's oil-rich, ruling Al Thani family, are desperately searching for a marquee signing to lead the club back into the Champions League.

The ambitious French outfit, who failed in an audacious swoop for David Beckham last winter and sealed the signing of coveted forward Ezequiel Lavezzi from Napoli this week, have been mentioned as a possible destination for Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric and could certainly rival any financial package City have put together for Van Persie.

If it is instant success Van Persie craves, however, remaining in the Premier League would appear to be his best option and reports on Thursday indicated that Manchester United could move to gazump their neighbours with an offer for Van Persie.
RED DEVIL ROBIN?
11/2 Manchester United are 11/2 to be Robin van Persie's next permanent club with Paddy Power


Sir Alex Ferguson is a known admirer of the Dutchman, who has been heavily linked with the Old Trafford giants in the past, while United’s financial strength is likely to be enhanced following the news that the Glazer family are to float the club on the New York Stock Exchange.

Whether their proposed IPO will allow them to compete with their city neighbours remains a matter of conjecture. Having led the race for Nasri last summer and been blown out of the water by Chelsea in the pursuit of Eden Hazard, however, it would take a dramatic change of circumstance for Sir Alex Ferguson to be able to tempt Van Persie to the red half of Manchester.

Juventus, too have been long-term admirers of Van Persie and are keen to add to their forward ranks this summer. However, the Serie A champions, who went unbeaten throughout last season’s league campaign have grown concerned by Van Persie’s escalating cost and are looking at alternatives in the form of Napoli’s Edinson Cavani and Manchester City’s own Edin Dzeko.

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