Van Persie raid on cards to fill Argentine's boots


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Manchester City are ready to return to Arsenal – the club whose manager, Arsène Wenger, has been subjected to more approaches from the Abu Dhabi owners than any other – with Robin van Persie (right) a possible recruit next summer when the gap soon to be left by Carlos Tevez is eventually filled.

City appear to be in no hurry to prepare an immediate replacement for Tevez in the probable circumstances of his departure for a fee the club feel may dip to below £20m and it is impossible to make any firm predictions three months away from the next window.

But the idea of adding Van Persie to a side already including Samir Nasri and Kolo Touré – former Wenger employees – is one that intrigues Mancini. An approach for a player likely to cost the club £30m is unlikely to be made in the January transfer window but the prospect remains a dreadful one for Wenger, who could find himself in a repeat of this summer's futile battle to retain Nasri.

It is not yet clear how City's spending will be affected next summer by the Financial Fair Play regime (FFP), which will be introduced from next season. Working on the assumption that Tevez was signed for £45m – neither City nor his representative Kia Joorabchian has been prepared to reveal the figure – his value on the club's balance sheet has already dropped by £18m.