Arsene Wenger is at odds with the Arsenal board over how to handle Robin van Persie's attempt to exit the club.
The Arsenal manager has placed a price of £30million (Dh172m) on the striker's head in an attempt to frighten off his three principal suitors in the hope of holding the player to the final year of a contract he has refused to extend.
Concerned of the financial impact of Van Persie walking out for nothing next summer, Arsenal's board have taken a more pragmatic view and are attempting to fuel a bidding war between Manchester City, Juventus and Manchester United.
They want a minimum of £20m for Van Persie, and believe they may be able to raise as much as £25m with such tactics.
"For me, 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," said Wenger after leaving his captain off Arsenal's tour of Asia yesterday. "For the rest I will do what is in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club, as ever. That, at the moment, is where we are. There is not a lot more to say than that."
Arsenal's internal turmoil over Van Persie carries echoes of their handling of Samir Nasri's transfer to City last summer. Then too, Wenger publicly stated his trenchant opposition to a sale at a time when his board had already made it clear to bidders - also including United - that Nasri would be allowed to leave for the right fee.
In Van Persie's case, United have sought to find out if the Holland international would accept a salary considerably lower than the £225,000-a-week contract he provisionally agreed with City early this year.
United now believe such a deal to be impossible, partly because Arsenal will not sell to them at a fee Sir Alex Ferguson considers realistic for a player who turns 29 next month. Instead they have offered €35m (Dh156.2m) for Brazil international Lucas Moura, but remain €15m short of Sao Paulo's asking price.
Juventus have been courting Van Persie for months, sending a director to meet the Dutchman in his London home during the second half of last season. While the Italian champions retain some hope that Van Persie can be swayed by the idea of playing in a less physically demanding league, they know they have been financially outmatched by City's proposal.
Ideally, City would like to make room on their wage bill by selling one or both of Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez before completing the Van Persie transfer. There is also a secondary issue of dispensing with Emmanuel Adebayor, whom the Dutchman does not want to even train with because of the poor relationship they shared at Arsenal.
Though City have agreed a fee of £5m with Tottenham for Adebayor, the transfer has been held up by a dispute over salary. The proposed deal has been structured in a way that Adebayor will suffer no loss of wages for his first two years at Tottenham, with City paying off the difference in financial terms. Adebayor, however, now wants a higher salary from Tottenham for the final two seasons of a proposed four-year White Hart Lane contract.
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