RvP snubs new Gunners deal
Arsenal are confident of Robin van Persie playing out the final season of his contract, despite the captain turning down a new deal.
Holland international Van Persie issued a carefully worded statement on his official website on Wednesday revealing he would not be penning a new deal with the Gunners.
The 28-year-old netted 37 goals in all competitions as Arsenal eventually secured third place, and manager Arsene Wenger recently declared the club must retain their talisman "at all costs".
However, despite meeting with Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis at the end of last season and the signings of German striker Lukas Podolski as well as France forward Olivier Giroud, Van Persie remains unconvinced he can fulfil his ambitions with the club he joined as raw talent from Feyenoord in May 2004.
Van Persie will turn 29 in August, and the next contract he agrees could well be his last at the highest level.
Both Serie A winners Juventus and Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City are said to be ready to test Arsenal's resolve with a £20million-plus bid.
However, the Gunners - who last summer saw both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri sold - could also look to hold Van Persie to the terms of his deal.
A brief statement on the club's official website read: "We have to respect Robin's decision not to renew his contract.
"Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfil his commitments to the club.
"We are planning with ambition and confidence for next season with Arsenal's best interests in mind."
Arsenal are set to tour Asia at the end of the month, and will also play a game in Nigeria.
Whether or not their captain will now be part of the travelling squad remains to be seen.
Van Persie, though, made it perfectly clear disagreements over the direction of the club means he does not want any part of Arsenal's long-term future.
In an open letter to fans on his website, www.robinvanpersie.com, he wrote: "I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.
"I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr Gazidis and Mr Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys (fans) to know what's really going on at the moment.
"As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the boss and Mr Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club's future strategy and their policy.
"Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don't want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward."
Van Persie added: "As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments."
The Dutchman maintained he would always "love" Arsenal, where he had "become a man", but insisted a fresh start was needed to fulfil his own ambitions.
"Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all," said Van Persie, who would be offered huge wages in the region of £200,000 per week at City.
"I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days."
Former Arsenal winger Paul Merson believes Van Persie has in effect made his position untenable.
"He has burnt his bridges. If he comes back and they don't sell him the fans are going to slaughter him," said Merson.
Ray Parlour - who won the double twice under Wenger in 1998 and 2002 - feels Arsenal must look to quickly put the saga to bed.
"Van Persie knew three or four months ago that he wasn't going to stay," said Parlour.
"That's football these days. People move on quickly. Arsenal have to accept it and move on."