BBC Sport and ESPN report that Arsenal captain Robin van Persie will not travel to Asia as part of the Gunners’ pre-season tour as the Club sort out the situation of the Netherlands international, who will stay at the Arsenal training base in Colney to work on his fitness.
Van Persie, like all of Arsenal’s senior squad that featured in Poland and Ukraine, returned to training this Monday.
The news is a fresh twist in a saga that has only recently seen bids from Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus rejected by Arsenal as they seek to prise the wantaway Dutch star from North London.
All the bids received by Arsenal were well below the 25 million Pound valuation set on their captain by manager Arsene Wenger. The Club have revealed that they will only entertain offers above the 20 million mark.
Van Persie was by and large Arsenal’s standout player last season, which was his first season free of injury since joining Arsenal from Feyenoord in the Netherlands in 2005. He scored a total of 30 league goals last season, featuring in all 38 of Arsenal’s Premier League games.
After enduring a horrible start to the season, which included a 0-2 upset at home to Liverpool and an 8-2 mauling at the hands of Manchester United, van Persie’s goals ensured his side finished a respectable third position in the league.
But the Premier League’s top scorer was unable to replicate his form with his country at the recently concluded European Championships jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, scoring just one goal as the Dutch exited the competition after losses against Portugal, Germany and Denmark in what had been dubbed the Group of Death.
On the fourth of July, van Persie stated via his official website that he would not be renewing his Arsenal contract, which has now run into his last season, after talks with Arsene Wenger and Gunners’ CEO Ivan Gazidis, regarding a mismatch of his and the Club’s ambition.
At the time of writing, AC Milan have also expressed their interest in signing the striker after selling Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic to big-spending French side Paris Saint-Germain.
Arsene Wenger has already moved to cover the Dutchman’s departure, with new signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud unveiled to the Gunners faithful well before the start of pre-season. Reports in Spain also suggest that Wenger might move for Spain’s European Cup winners Fernando Llorente and Santiago Cazorla should van Persie depart along with other members of the North London club’s squad.
Arsenal are scheduled to play matches in Malaysia, China and Hong Kong over the next two weeks. They face a Malaysian XI on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur and then head to Beijing to face Manchester City on 27 July. The Gunners finish their tour against Kitchee FC in Hong Kong on 29 July.