LONDON: Manchester City defender Kolo Toure is hoping that Robin Van Persie joins the ex-Arsenal ‘gang’ at the Premier League champions.
Van Persie, after a disappointing Euro 2012 with first-round failures Holland, issued an ‘open letter’ to fans saying that he does not intend to renew his contract which expires in the summer of next year.
The Dutchman scored 37 goals in all competitions for Arsenal last season in a campaign which, for once, was not marred by injury.
Manager Arsene Wenger had said earlier that the club should try to keep Van Persie “at all costs” but even the promise of investments in new signings such as Lukas Podolski has not been enough to persuade the club’s captain to want to stay.
Van Persie, for all his status and goals, has won only one FA Cup in eight years at Arsenal and his patience has evaporated. Manchester City have been interested in him since early last season and have prepared a £200,00-a-week contract offer which Arsenal could not match.
Juventus and Milan are both watching developments in a situation which has opened up a major gulf in the Arsenal boardroom between majority share-holders Stan Kroenke and Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov who owns nearly 30pc of shares.
Usmanov followed up Van Persie’s statement with one of his own in which he challenged the ‘safety-first’ financial strategy of Kroenke. Arsenal have won nothing since 2006, hence Usmanov’s belief in the need for significant investment.
Former Arsenal defender Toure said: “Robin is a top player. I’ve played with him, I know him and he’s a great man. At City we have great players and the club does what it wants in transfers. But for me, if Robin comes it’s great because I know what he can do.
“You have to build your squad every year to do better; to win the Champions League is very difficult as we have seen.”
Other ex-Arsenal men at City include France midfielder Samir Nasri and fullback Gael Clichy.
City, meanwhile, have denied reports that manager Roberto Mancini is the subject of a €7m-a-year, six-year contract to manage Russia up to the 2018 World Cup which the country will host.