Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hinted for the first time that the club could sell star striker Robin van Persie.
Wenger has seemingly gone back on his initial stance, admitting that the much-coveted striker could depart north London amid interest from Manchester United and City
Arsenal had previously been on confident the Dutchman would stay at the club despite the 28-year-old has saying he wants to leave at the conclusion of his current contract, which expires at the end of next season.
However, Van Persie has been omitted from the squad’s pre-season tour of Malaysia and Wenger has now conceded that the Netherlands international could leave the club.
“Robin van Persie is a world-class striker,” Wenger said.
“You know I am a big supporter of him. Our desire is to keep Van Persie.
“At the end of the day, we will do what is in the best interests of the club.”
Arsenal are thought to be holding out for a fee of around 30 million Euros for the player, with Manchester United believed to be leading the chase for his signature after having had a bid already rejected.
The saga will remind Gunners fans of the protracted transfers of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and Samir Nasri to Manchester City last summer, two losses from which the club were left reeling at the beginning of the campaign.
And Wenger has insisted that, however the Van Persie situation is resolved, the club will not allow a similar downturn in form to reoccur.
“We know how much we had to fight to come third last year because we missed out the start of the season,” he said.
“After seven games we had lost four and we have learned that for us it is vital for us to focus on the start of the season rather than on any transfers.
“If the transfers happen, they happen. As long as you are at the club you give your best for the club and that is the only pride you can have as a football player and as a manager. I am convinced that Robin is like that.”