Arsenal prepared to lose Van Persie for free

Arsenal are willing to allow captain Robin Van Persie on a free in the summer of 2013 as they prepare to reject all bids for the striker this summer.

The Dutchman has a little over 12 months left to run on his contract and recently expressed his desire to postpone all talks regarding a new deal until the end of the season.

Manchester City have been heavily linked with a big money move for the 28-year-old, while the player’s representatives yesterday insist they are willing to discuss a possible transfer to AC Milan.

The risk remains all too similar to that of Samir Nasri last season, who had entered the final year of his contract and was unwilling to extend his deal at the Emirates.

While manager Arsene Wenger opted to sell the Frenchman to City, bringing in £24m to the club’s coffers, the Gunners manager is willing to see Van Persie leave on a free rather than sell up in the summer.

Wenger came close to doing the same with Nasri, but felt recouping the money from his sale was more justifiable than missing out on £24m, an expediential amount considering the midfielder was in the final year of his contract.

However, if Van Persie does indeed opt against extending his stay in North London, the club may be wise to bringing in some additional funds that could go towards sign his replacement. Following reports that Arsenal and Cologne have agreed a fee for Germany international Lukas Podolski, the club now need to follow this up with a big money signing in order to convince the Dutchman his future lies at the Emirates.

Podolski isn’t the arrival that will persuade the former Feyenoord ace to extend his stay in North London and Wenger should be looking to substantially larger targets if he is to keep hold of Van Persie. However, the increase in the budget from his possible sale could see the club bring in a more than viable replacement for the high-flying front-man.

The likes of Edinson Cavani and Karim Benzema are the possible targets that can replace the Van Persie, but even if he isn’t sold, the club should be looking to the calibre of the aforementioned duo to convince their captain to stay. Of pivotal importance in the summer is for Wenger to ship some of the deadwood out of the club. Marouane Chamakh, Abou Diaby and Sebastian Squillaci are just three of the players that will free up transfer and wage funds which can go towards significantly improving the squad.

It is a big risk for the Gunners boss to insinuate that he would rather allow the Dutchman to leave on a free if he doesn’t extend his stay with the club. If Van Persie looks to force a move in the summer, should he decide against extending his contract, then it could create a major disharmony within the dressing room which could have a detrimental effect on the team. Coupled with the loss of funds, Wenger opting against selling him could have a worse effect than cashing in on the striker.