Robin van Persie informed the footballing world earlier today that he has no intention of signing a new contract with Arsenal.
With just 12 months remaining on his current deal at the Emirates Stadium, many now expect the Gunners to sell the Dutch international during the ongoing transfer window to avoid losing him on a free transfer.
Taking that into consideration, Sports Mole has examined five potential destinations for the 28-year-old striker.
The Premier League champions are currently regarded as the favourites to land Van Persie's signature. While City can provide the centre-forward with the opportunity to challenge for major trophies that he craves, he may not be the automatic starter that he is at Arsenal. With the likes of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli already at the Etihad Stadium, he would face a real fight to get into Roberto Mancini's starting lineup every week.
Some reports towards the end of the season linked City's bitter rivals United with a move for Van Persie. The Red Devils would not be able to compete with City financially, just as they couldn't when Samir Nasri was swapping North London for Manchester last year. However, it is almost certain that he would feature every week for United alongside Wayne Rooney.
The Italian champions reportedly submitted an £8m bid for Van Persie earlier this week. While they will have to pay a considerable amount more to make the transfer happen, Van Persie is believed to be attracted by a move overseas. The Turin-based club will be able to offer him the chance to battle for domestic honours, something Arsenal haven't been able to consistently offer. Where they fall down more though is their recent record in European competitions.
With all the attacking options at Tito Vilanova's disposal, it may be hard to see where Van Persie would fit in at the Nou Camp. However, Barca were criticised at times last season for lacking a centre-forward, particularly with David Villa being forced to sit on the sidelines with a broken leg. It remains to be seen how 30-year-old Villa will recover from that setback, which could lead to Vilanova courting the Arsenal captain. The chance to play with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi is also likely to appeal to the Dutchman.
Staying at Arsenal
We've seen it before where the modern-day player insists that he is leaving and the next minute he is staying. Only two years ago Wayne Rooney made his intention to leave Manchester United known. However, days later Sir Alex Ferguson had talked his star striker around and a new contract was signed. Whether Van Persie's relationship with the Gunners has deteriorated beyond that point remains to be seen.
Sports Mole's verdict: Manchester City - Nobody is doubting that Van Persie is an ambitious footballer who wants to play every week. Nevertheless, money talks in football and rumours have already circulated suggesting that City will offer him £225,000 per week to join them. That and the fact that they are now considered to be one of the best teams in Europe will probably prove too much of a temptation.
What next for Robin van Persie?
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