by Matt Lawless
Juventus have sensationally pulled out of the race to sign Robin van Persie, leaving Manchester rivals United and City to battle it out for the wantaway Arsenal striker.
The Italian champions were keen to recruit the Dutch international this summer following his announcement that he wants to quit the Emirates.
But Arsenal’s demands for the 28-year-old have deterred the Serie A giants, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini in a two-way scramble for Van Persie’s signature.
‘Talk of our real interest in him seems excessive to me,’ said Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta, speaking to Sky Sports Italia.
‘Van Persie is a great player but Arsenal do not intend to lose him. And you cannot indulge in a player if the owners don’t want (to sell).
‘A top player is not only judged by how much he costs.
‘It can also mean a player who costs less but on the pitch shows an absolute value.’
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger remains hopeful that his captain will perform a Wayne Rooney style u-turn and stay at the north London club.
The Frenchman, whose Arsenal team take on Barclays Premier League champions City in Beijing today, is adamant that he will not to sell Van Persie to one of his rivals.
Speaking earlier this week, he said: ‘There is nothing to elaborate. The options are clear – we want to keep our players.
‘I would be happy for him to stay in the English Premier League – at Arsenal.’
Despite only 12 months remaining on the Holland star’s contract, Arsenal are demanding £20million to sell Van Persie – a fee Juventus deemed to high and both Manchester clubs are seemingly dithering on.
City’s faltering pursuit has frustrated manager Mancini who laid blame at the club’s football administrator Brian Marwood.
The Italian is yet to introduce a single new signing so far this summer and when asked why that was the case, he said: ‘For an answer to these questions you need to talk to the man in charge. I’m not in charge of these things.’
Mancini is desperate to strengthen his title-winning squad and has identified Van Persie as his top transfer target.
But it is understood he must first offload the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and one other striker before he can make a move for the prolific Dutchman, who scored 37 goals last season.
‘It’s important to get players in. After what we did last year its important this year that we continue to win. This year will not be easy. It will be harder than last year. For this reason we need to improve our team. But we have people to do this. I hope that they can do a good job.’