Arsenal refuse to allow Van Persie exit

London: Arsenal have refused Robin van Persie permission to speak to any other clubs as his future at the club remains shrouded in doubt, understands.

The Holland striker told the Gunners at his first round of contract talks nine days ago that he does not want to extend a deal that expires in a year’s time and is considering leaving Emirates Stadium. understands that, contrary to reports, Arsenal did not even make Van Persie an offer of an improved contract last week.

It is believed that the Dutchman was told that the club would discuss the forward’s situation internally before contacting him for further discussions.

However, Arsenal’s stance is that Van Persie will not be allowed to leave this summer even if he pushes hard for a transfer.

The north Londoners are adamant they would rather let him go on a free next year than sell him for around 20m dollar in the three-month window that opens next week.

Senior club officials have taken a dim view of Van Persie’s agent Kees Vos being a guest of Manchester City executive Brian Marwood at an Etihad Stadium match earlier this year, which was revealed by last week.

Although Vos, who also represents Thomas Vermaelen, denied that the meeting was to discuss a possible transfer for the PFA Player of the Year, it is understood that the chief executive of Holland-based Sports Entertainment Group had not met Marwood before the meeting that he admitted took place “about three months ago”.

The timing of the meeting is viewed as suspicious by Arsenal, given that Vermaelen only signed a new contract last October and City manager Roberto Mancini has spoken openly of his admiration for Van Persie.

Arsenal sources have told that Van Persie has not been granted permission to speak to other clubs and do not envisage him being allowed to at any point this summer.

Although Arsene Wenger had said that he expected the future of his captain and star player to be resolved before Van Persie joined up with Holland eight days ago, there is confidence among Arsenal`s top brass that he will be at Emirates Stadium next season.

City are clear favourites to sign the Dutchman but manager Roberto Mancini wants the Premier League top scorer signed by the time that they return to pre-season training or he will consider alternative targets.

This has narrowed the options for Van Persie, who is no longer regarded as an option by Barcelona or Juventus.

As revealed last week, the the combination of Van Persie’s age – he turns 29 in August – and the expense of a dollar 20 million transfer fee plus expected dollar 10m-a-year salary have put off the Spanish giants, who are trying to cut their debts and rein in costs.

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