We knew Juventus wanted Van Persie, but Suarez too?
Italian giants Juventus could be about to prise away two of the Premier League’s best strikers after it was revealed that they want Luis Suarez to partner Robin van Persie next season.
The Old Lady’s interest in Van Persie has been well flagged for some time, but according to a report on BBC Sport this morning, they will attempt to twist the Dutchman’s arm by flagging the possibility of forming a partnership with Suarez, who has been a success at Liverpool despite all the goings on with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra – we hardly need to go over it all again, do we? – last season.
Juve have already had a bid for Van Persie rejected, as have Manchester United, while Manchester City are also lurking in the background and probably remain the favourites to sign last season’s Player of the Year because of their massive financial clout and their status as Premier League Champions.
There is rumoured to be a growing confidence in Turin that last season’s Serie A winners can attract both Van Persie and Suarez, with a bid of £28 million for the Uruguayan being mooted. The BBC report also suggests that Juve will try and sign Suarez regardless of whether they can poach Van Persie from Arsenal and will raise the necessary cash to do so by offloading Alessandro Matri to AC Milan.
Suarez is contracted to Liverpool until 2016 and the club are in negotiations to tie him down to a longer term-deal but might be tempted by a sizeable offer for a player they bought from Ajax for nearly £23million in January 2011.
What becomes of Juve’s move for Suarez remains to be seen, but the three-way tug of war for Van Persie’s services could become very interesting indeed. Alex Ferguson has admitted that United have made a bid and is none too happy that the Gunners have gone public on the matter.
“Obviously Arsenal have given out the fact that we’ve made a bid for him,” Ferguson told MUTV yesterday.
“We try to keep business as close as possible to us until the moment we conclude a deal. There’s no point talking about something that might not happen.
“There are other clubs interested in the player. We’ve shown an interest and that’s where we’re at the moment.”
With Van Persie omitted from Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia - they leave today - he could well have left the Gunners by the time they return, as Arsene Wenger will be keen to avoid a repeat of last summer, where Arsenal were forced into a last-minute spending spree having been left short by the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
Saying that, with Arsenal intent on receiving at least £20 million for their skipper and all the competing clubs aware of his contract situation (one year left to run), his age (29 next month) and his past injury problems, this might take a while.