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Arsenal gets tough on van Persie

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LONDON — Arsenal are ready to make Robin van Persie stay at the club until the January transfer window.

There is a growing feeling at the Emirates that the club needs to make a stand after the loss of several key players.

Refusing to sell Van Persie now would send a strong message to fans that the Londoners have had enough.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus all want the Dutchman, but are unwilling to pay anything near the £30m Arsenal are demanding for their skipper. United’s bid is understood to have been less than £10m.

If Arsenal keep him for the first half of the season they know they could still command a decent fee in January when clubs could be desperate to land a top striker.

The Gunners have talked tough before, most notably when they insisted they would not let Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas go to City and Barcelona respectively.

Both did move, but it appears there is a feeling at the club that “enough is enough”. Keeping Van Persie (28) for another six months could help them to persuade him they are in a position to challenge for trophies.

The Holland international does not expect to have wrapped up a move by the time the Gunners return from their tour of the Far East from which he was omitted, supposedly over fitness concerns.

Last night Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood confirmed the club would not be bullied into letting Van Persie go on the cheap.

And Hill-Wood said he was puzzled why the Gunners skipper wanted to quit the club.

“He is a world-class player and we don’t want to give him away,” said Hill-Wood.

“If he is determined to leave that is up to him, but giving him away is not on our agenda.

“To be honest I do not understand him at all. I understood Cesc Fabregas wanting to go home to Barcelona last summer. I had sympathy with that.
“But I thought Robin was happy at Arsenal, especially after the season he had with us.”

Van Persie scored 37 goals and won the Player of the Year and Footballer of the Year awards.

But he announced this summer he would not be signing a new deal with the Gunners, with his current one having just a year left on it.

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