Manchester City might be the richest club in the world, or at least one of them, but that doesn’t mean that Roberto Mancini can still spend as much as he’d like. The Robin van Persie situation demonstrates the power struggles at the club’s highest levels, as football administrator Brian Marwood is denying Mancini the opportunity to get the Arsenal striker.
First of all, Arsenal do not want to sell Van Persie to Manchester City. That’s the last thing they want to do, after City have already taken away more than one player from the club. If Wenger could have his way, it’d be selling Van Persie to Juventus. The Italian team might not be able to afford the minimum £20 million asking price Arsenal are setting, but knowing he’s not going to play for a Premier League team might give Arsenal an incentive to sell Van Persie for less money.
Juventus, however, do plan to make quite a generous contractual offer to Van Persie, ready to make the Dutch striker the highest paid player in the club’s history with a reported £190,000 a week on a five year contract. How will they be able to afford that kind of salary if they can’t afford a big bid that’ll beat both Manchester United and Manchester City? That’s not for us to answer.
In any case, Arsenal weren’t impressed with the initial stage of bidding from all three clubs, knowing they got £24 million for Samir Nasri last season in a similar situation, selling him to Manchester City after the season already had begun. Nasri was also on the final year of his contract, but you can’t forget the age factor that the teams are considering, with Van Persie a month away from his 29th birthday.
The real interesting thing to see is how City suddenly tightening up the wallet as the FIFA fair play stuff wait over the horizon. Marwood wants Mancini to sell quite a few players, slim down the squad and the wage bill - Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Edin Dzeko. Before he sells at least one or two players from this bunch, he’s not getting a shot and the proper funds to land Robin van Persie.
City have yet to complete a signing this summer while both Manchester United and Chelsea have and continuing to move in on transfer targets (Brazilian youngsters Lucas and Oscar, respectively). Maybe there’s a feeling up there, above Mancini, that the current squad is enough to retain the league title and make a more impressive run for the Champions League title. Usually, without any kind of change, it isn’t enough.