He's not going to be staying at Arsenal, but he's also not going to Juve by the looks of things...
Juventus were hoping to announce their return to the upper echelons of European football with a big-name summer signing.
With the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva leaving AC Milan for PSG, the Serie A champion’s closest rivals looked to have sent out all the wrong messages that Italian football was no longer the lure for the top stars it once had been, but Juve have been out to buck that trend.
Robin Van Persie fitted the bill to perfection – a player of star quality and one of the dominant faces in the English Premier League. Apparently, the Dutch striker had paid an unofficial visit to Turin before Euro 2012 to get a feel for the city and no doubt to weigh up what the Old Lady had to offer.
Juventus had made no secret that they would have loved to have seen Edinson Cavani in a Bianconeri shirt but Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis immediately slapped a 100million euro price tag on his prized forward – which he then maintained he would only entertain from a foreign club.
However, Juve sporting director Giuseppe Marotta had been working diligently to put together an inciting package to present to Van Persie which included an 9.6million-euro-a-year salary and the coveted number 10 shirt vacated by Alessandro Del Piero.
Apparently, the Dutch striker had paid an unofficial visit to Turin before Euro 2012 to get a feel for the city and no doubt to weigh up what the Old Lady had to offer
Arsenal’s 25m-Euro asking price was not a problem, with Felipe Melo, Milos Krasic and Eljero Elia all ear-marked to be offloaded – the latter pair both left earlier this week for a combined 14m euro while Melo should raise a healthy 8m euros from Galatasaray.
The plan was to have Van Persie face Cavani in the Italian Super Cup this weekend but while the Uruguay frontman will be in Beijing in the light blue of Napoli, Juventus will have to do with Alessandro Matri attempting to get on the end of Andrea Pirlo’s pinpoint passes.
Events outside the club’s control may have played their part in ruining even the best-laid plans.
Having worked so hard to rebrand their image after Calciopoli, with a new hierarchy and modern purpose-built stadium capable of hosting a Europa League final, the spectre of wrong-doing has found its way to the Juventus door, with coach Antonio Conte now facing a 15-month ban for failing to report alleged match-fixing during his stint in charge of Siena.
Juventus were drawn into the ever-developing scandal by default and seemingly in something of a rush to put the matter to rest, the club’s lawyers persuaded Conte to accept a plea-bargain of a three-month ban, with persecutors .
However, the Italian Football Federation felt that there was an admission of guilt and will now make an executive decision on a longer ban by the end of the week.
A guilty verdict would see Conte banned from taking part in match-day preparations, leaving such an inspirational figure on the touchline on the outside looking in, to the determent of the team which could also lose defender Leonardo Bonucci and winger Simone Pepe to bans as the part of the ongoing investigation.
Such uncertainly over Conte - the driving force behind Juve’s charge to the title - will no doubt have the knock-on effect of raising doubts in the Van Persie camp that maybe Turin is not the dream destination after all.
An August 7th deadline for Van Persie and Arsenal to accept the offer has passed, hence the reports of Juventus targeting Luis Suarez, Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao, Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko and Inter’s out-of-favour Giampaolo Pazzini.
Suarez has signed a new contract at Liverpool which takes another big-name off the market, turning that early-summer belief that Juventus could compete on the transfer front with the rest of Europe’s elite into pre-season frustration.
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