London: Manchester City are refusing to pay more than £15 million to sign Robin van Persie from Arsenal this summer, Goal.com has learned.
The Premier League champions have registered their interest in the Dutch spearhead but are adamant they will not be held to ransom on the transfer fee.
Goal.com understands that City’s interest in Van Persie has cooled in recent weeks after learning that Arsenal would want more than £25m for the player, who turns 29 in August.
Once source close to the situation said: “The numbers do not add up for City. They are not willing to pay more than £15m on top of marquee wages.”
City are aware that it would take a package worth £200,000-a-week to take Van Persie to the Etihad Stadium, a sum they would be willing to sanction, but are keen to end the overspending on transfers and salaries that accompanied their rapid rise from mid-table club to champions.
Even if City are successful in off-loading fringe players such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge and Kolo Toure from the wage bill, with the latter trio being targeted by QPR as revealed by Goal.com on Sunday, they will not be pushed into paying over the odds for new signings.
Manager Roberto Mancini is ready to turn his attention to other centre-forward targets, including Napoli’s Edinson Cavani, if Arsenal refuse to budge on their valuation of the recently crowned PFA and Football Writers’ Association player of the year.
Van Persie, who is expected to go on a family holiday following the Netherlands` exit from Euro 2012, has refused to extend his Arsenal deal that expires in a year’s time in initial contract talks with senior officials.
Nevertheless, it is increasingly likely that the Gunners captain will be at the Emirates Stadium at the start of the new Premier League season on August 18.
The Londoners would rather let Van Persie leave for free next year than sell him for £15-20m in the summer transfer window.
It means, with Barcelona and Juventus making it clear that Van Persie is not a serious target, the options for the player have seriously narrowed.