LONDON: Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has appealed for skipper Robin Van Persie to stay in North London even though the Dutchman has insisted he will not stay on beyond the end of his current contract next summer.
Thus far the Gunners have rejected offers for the 28-year-old from Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus. Manager Arsene Wenger does not want to sell but, if he does, would not accept anything below £30m.
Wenger has said: “Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world, if not the best, and my desire is to keep him at the club. I will do whatever is in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club.”
Van Persie claimed both the Football Writers’ Association and players’ union individual awards. He scored 41 goals in 53 games for club and country last season and his 30 in the Premier League were crucial to Arsenal’s recovery from a bad start to secure third place.
However they still finished 19 points behind the two Manchester clubs and Ramsey – one of the few non-Englishmen in Great Britain’s Olympic squad – is convinced a better start this time around could help narrow that gap.
He said: “If we get off to a better start this season than we did last season, we know we are capable of finishing pretty strongly, like we did last year. We have brought in a couple of players [Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud] who are well-known and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to compete early on.”
“Robin had a brilliant season last year and is a big player for us. The other players don’t know what is going on behind the scenes, we are just hopeful he will stay.”
The Gunners are about to embark on a three-match tour of Asia – which includes a match against City in Beijing – but Van Persie will remain in London to work on his fitness.
United believe that Van Persie’s personal preference would be a move to Old Trafford but both they and Juventus have been deterred by the £30m label. Even City need to know they have a buyer for Edin Dzeko or Carlos Tevez or both before committing themselves to a decisive push for Van Persie.
Juventus are also interested in bidding for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan – an over-age player at the Olympics – is under contract at Anfield until 2016. He has scored 15 goals since joining Liverpool in January 2011 and new manager Brendan Rodgers has held preliminary talks over a new contract.
However, Juventus believe a bid of around £28m may tempt Liverpool to negotiate.
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