Patrick Vieira has taunted Arsene Wenger by claiming Arsenal have left it too late to keep Robin Van Persie, report Mike Walters and John Cross.
Gunners legend Vieira, who is now Manchester City’s football development executive, warned there will be a posse of big clubs chasing Van Persie because he is now down to the last 12 months on his contract.
City are favourites to land him, and after Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas quit the Emirates last summer, Vieira risked his old mentor Wenger’s wrath by claiming: “I think losing Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas last year was a big shock for Arsenal - and if they lose Robin this year, it will be a trauma.
“When Samir and Cesc left, you could say, ‘OK, but we still have Van Persie and Jack Wilshere at the club.’
“But if Robin leaves, that means next year it may be Theo Walcott, next year it’s Wilshere, and it’s going to be difficult for Arsenal to keep their top players.”
alks between Arsenal and Van Persie stalled this week, with the Dutchman telling the club he is not ready to sign a new contract, despite them offering £130,000-a-week on a three-year deal.
Newly-crowned Premier League champions City are prepared to double that by lining up a monster £12million-a-year deal to land the Dutchman.
Vieira added: “I’m quite surprised they have waited until he has only a year left on his contract to talk to him. It’s difficult to find players of Robin’s quality anywhere in the world with only a year left - especially strikers who can score 34 goals in a season. It’s difficult to understand.
“Robin wants to win trophies - and Arsenal have to prove he can do it with them.
“We know that Robin loves Arsenal. That is not the question - the real question is how Arsene Wenger will convince Robin they can win trophies.”
Read John Cross' latest column: If van Persie moves abroad he'll still be an Arsenal legend; go to Manchester and he'll be hated as a traitorVieira, promoting ITV’s Euro 2012 coverage in London, admitted: “I’m not the right person to tell him what he should do but, knowing Robin, I don’t think it will be only City who would like this kind of player.
“I don’t think you have many talents like Robin who have just one year left on their contracts - I think there will be a lot of teams who want a signing like him.”
Juventus are willing to pay £180,000-a-week but they fear Van Persie has already made up his mind about leaving Arsenal and that City will be his most likely destination.
Manchester United are also keen but City lead the chase and are desperate to get the deal done.
They have made Van Persie their number one target ahead of AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Athletic Bilbao target-man Fernando Llorente.
Van Persie had talks with Wenger and Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis on Wednesday and then left the UK to report for duty with the Dutch squad for the Euros.
“It will be as difficult (for Arsenal) as when they lost Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri last summer. And if they lose Robin now, who is left behind? That is a big question for Arsenal," added Vieira.
“Of course, it is going to be difficult to keep him or convince him to stay, but I don’t know what is the plan for them.
“From Arsenal’s point of view, I think this is something they should have closed a long time ago, but Arsenal don’t need me to tell them what to do. That’s the way it is and they will have to deal with it.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will fly to Sweden in the next 48 hours to undergo minor surgery on his knee.
Source : Mirror.co.uk