BEIRUT

Football

Juventus plan to pair van Persie and Suarez

Uruguay's Luis Suarez (L) vies for the ball with Panama's Alberto Quintero during their friendly football match in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic football tournament. (AFP PHOTO / Miguel ROJO)

BEIRUT: Juventus have told Arsenal’s Robin van Persie they plan to partner him with Liverpool’s Luis Suarez should the Dutchman join the club.

The Italian champions had a bid for the Arsenal captain turned down by the club, who also rejected an offer from Premier League rivals Manchester United. United’s bid, reportedly 10 million pounds ($15.62 million), fell well short of the London club’s 25 million pound valuation and was dismissed out of hand.

Arsenal were left reeling last month after the Dutchman, who has 12 months on his current contract with the club, announced that he would not sign an extension to his deal.

The 28-year-old scored 41 goals in 53 games for club and country last season and won both the Professional Footballer’s Association and Football Writers’ player of the year awards.

The Turin-based side are willing to offer the player in excess of 190,000 pounds a week in order to seal a switch to Italy.

Juventus are keenly aware that the forward is not motivated by money alone, with club director Giuseppe Marotta and president Andrea Agnelli having revealed plans to pursue Suarez should a deal for van Persie be secured.

The Italian side’s hierarchy are hoping that this move will give them the edge over rivals United and Manchester City in the race to sign the player.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has repeated his desire to hang on to van Persie, but has conceded that he will ultimately make a decision based on what’s best for the club.

“For me, Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world, if not the best, and I want to keep him at the club,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“If transfers happen, they happen. As long as you are at the club you give your best for the club and that is the only pride you can have as a football player and as a manager.

“As long as you are somewhere you give your best every day for that club. If it changes, it changes.

“As for the rest I will do what is in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club. That, at the moment, is where we are. There is not a lot more to say than that,” Wenger said.

Suarez is currently under contract at Anfield until 2016, with the Merseyside club hoping to tie the 25-year-old down with an improved deal.

Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken with the player about the prospect of extending his deal with Liverpool, with the club having held negotiations with Suarez’s representatives.

Juventus are determined to land the player, and are confident that a bid of almost 28 million pounds would be enough to turn Liverpool heads.

Tottenham will fine Croatian midfielder Luka Modric more than 80,000 pounds after the player reportedly refused to train with the club.

The 26-year-old is desperate to force through a transfer to Real Madrid, yet is believed to have boarded a flight to Los Angeles as the team head off on a pre-season tour of the United States.

After weeks of speculation Modric is set to finally hand in a written transfer request, although Spurs are refusing to countenance offers less than 40 million pounds for the playmaker.

After Modric had refused to train with his teammates Friday, Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas will now fine the player two weeks wages.

Real had suggested a willingness to meet the north London club’s valuation but have so far only offered 27 million pounds.

Attempts to offer Ricardo Carvalho and Nuri Sahin in part exchange have fallen on deaf ears at Tottenham, who are said to be eager to pursue other transfer targets ahead of the players offered.

After announcing their interest in Fulham forward Clint Dempsey, Liverpool are considering a bid for the player which would include midfielder Charlie Adam.

Adam has failed to impress since joining the club last summer from Blackpool, and Liverpool are hopeful that the offer would encourage Fulham to consider parting company with the American player.

Dempsey enjoyed a career-best tally of 23 goals last season, and has publicly declared his intention to leave the west London club should the opportunity arise.

New Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has revealed he will not prevent midfielder Joe Allen from leaving the club should a club come in with a sizeable offer for the Welsh international.

The former Barcelona and Real Madrid player has not spoken to Allen since joining Swansea due to the midfielder’s participation for Britain at the Olympic Games.

Liverpool announced last week their interest in the player, who last season had impressed at the heart of the Swans midfield.

“I haven’t spoken to Joe since I have taken over,” said the Swansea boss. “I haven’t spoken to any of the three Olympics players and we have not had any contact from Liverpool.

“I am in contact with the chairman every day. We agree that if there will be an approach then we will have to talk to the player.

“We cannot just answer 100 percent yes or no without having talked to the player. That’s a problem because he has to concentrate on the Olympics but we will have to deal with that if and when it comes to that.

“You can force players to stay but how does that help? It doesn’t work like that. It’s better to find a solution that suits both parties.

“You always have to be one step ahead so we have to be prepared for everything. It’s not only in this case, but with each position in the team.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 23, 2012, on page 14.

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