Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has revealed he will fight for his first-team place at Old Trafford next season.
Van Persie, whose current contract at United is set to expire next summer, has been linked with a move to Italy in recent weeks, with reports suggesting Juventus and Lazio are keen on the Holland international.
The 31-year-old, who joined United from Arsenal for an initial fee of £22.5 million in the summer of 2012, tallied just 10 goals and two assists in 27 English Premier League appearances for the Red Devils last season.
However, with United destined for UEFA Champions League football in 2015/16, Van Persie will likely stay with the club despite reports to the contrary.
“Am I worried?” Van Persie said, according to the Daily Mirror. “No, I’m totally relaxed. I have a contract with this club until 2016.
“Things could change now, but that all depends on Manchester United, not me. Believe me, I’m relaxed – I’m not going to be part of a puppet show.
“In August I’m 32. But I still have the ambition to play for another eight years.
“In a few years’ time I may have to accept that I will no longer play at the very highest level. I don’t think that moment is coming now. I still feel very, very fit.
“Playing in the first-team is very important for me. This is why I will probably step down one level when I am 36 or 37. But not now.
“Whenever I have been fit at United I was playing in the first team all the time. People talk about my injuries, but I’ve only had one this season.
“I’ve seen too many players quit early. Most of them regret this soon after. I’ve seen those players in the national team and at my own clubs. Even big legends have regretted their retirement. Look at Paul Scholes.
“He did quit the game but he kept training and was missing football so much, because he knew he was still capable of playing at that level.”
Meanwhile, in other news, the agent of Manchester United target Roberto Firmino, Roger Wittmann, has confirmed the Brazilian star will move to the Premier League this summer.
“All I can say is that he’s moving to England,” Wittmann said.
Although previous reports had suggested United had already completed £13.1 million deal for Firmino, fresh speculation is suggesting the player is available for between £18 million and £22 million.
United are also the bookmakers’ favourites, at 6/4, to land Roma’s Kevin Strootman this summer.