Arsenal won't sell RVP in the summer - even if he doesn't sign a new deal
Published 23:01 20/02/12 By John Cross
Arsene Wenger will refuse to be held to ransom over Robin van Persie.
Arsenal are determined to keep their prize asset this summer even if the Dutchman does not sign a new contract.
Gunners boss Wenger ended up selling Samir Nasri to Manchester City for £22m last summer because he only had one year left on his deal and Wenger feared he could end up leaving on a free transfer.
But Arsenal are prepared to take the risk of Van Persie running his current contract into next season before it expires in 2013.
The Arsenal board know selling their captain, talisman and star striker would cause fury among the fans.
Van Persie would be 30 in 2013, is four years older than Nasri and so it will be a different dilemma for Arsenal this summer making it increasingly likely they will take a gamble on his contract situation.
Arsenal will also offer Van Persie a new improved deal in the next few weeks but the basic contract is unlikely to top £100,000-a-week.
However, they persuaded Thomas Vermaelen to re-sign with a big signing-on fee and the pair remain close – that will give Arsenal a lot of hope and encouragement.
But Barcelona, one of the major clubs watching developments, have already made it clear they will not pay "mad" fees for players this summer even if they go for Van Persie or Gareth Bale.
Barca vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: "Those players are very good, but we always need common sense in any negotiations.
"We will not enter the madness market but it is impossible for Barcelona to pay 40 or 50 million Euros for any player.
"This is a decision of the club. We can't fight against every club. But we have an advantage in that players want to come and play for Barcelona."
Arsenal will also offer a new deal to Theo Walcott, 22, in the next few weeks and remain hopeful he will commit himself. Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky, 31, is likely to be offered a new one-year extension.