Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson confident Arsenal will sell Robin van Persie for £20m

 

Manchester United will hold firm on their valuation of Robin van Persie but remain convinced the player will join them before the transfer window closes at the end of this month.

Arsenal's insistence on placing a £30m price tag on the 29-year-old Dutch forward has so far stopped any deal taking place. A phone call from Alex Ferguson to Arsène Wenger has helped the situation, but it will not lead to a significant increase in the price United are prepared to pay.

Instead, Ferguson and United will hold firm and offer around the £20m mark that they believe will be enough to land such a key figure from one of their rivals. Van Persie has 12 months remaining on his contract at the Emirates and the possibility remains that he could see out the next six months and then sign a pre-contract with either Manchester United or Juventus, who retain an interest.

However, Ferguson is eager to do the transfer now and hopes that a deal can be concluded before his side begin their Premier League campaign against Everton on Monday evening.

Van Persie's profile does not hold with Manchester United's transfer policy in recent years. They moved closer to completing the signing of the 18-year-old Mexican forward Angelo Henriquez yesterday for a fee in the region of £4m. The Universidad de Chile forward, who scored 11 goals in 2012, underwent a medical in Manchester ahead of his proposed move to Old Trafford.

That would add the kind of development player to his forward line that Ferguson wants as back-up to Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, but he remains convinced that Van Persie would have such an impact that his age and a lack of any major sell-on fee become largely irrelevant.

Van Persie was the Premier League's leading scorer last season with 30 goals, but it was the first time in his career in England that he has played more than 30 top-flight games in a campaign. That appearance record, and the fact he has so short a period of time left on his contract, are why United will not go beyond a £20m fee for the player. Van Persie is on international duty with the Netherlands tonight when they play Belgium in Brussels.

Ferguson has already signed Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell and there was a further boost last night when Darren Fletcher was involved against Aberdeen in Neil Simpson's testimonial game. There had been fears about the Scotland international's future following a bowel condition.

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