Typically here at The Short Fuse, we shy away from using tabloids as sources for news. This is mostly because a lot of what they print is made up or poorly reported or just generally dumb. But sometimes we have to make exceptions, and this is one of them.
The Daily Star has an interview with Arsenal's chairman, Peter Hill-Wood, because for some reason that's yet to be revealed to me, that's the only paper he'll talk to. And typically he has some idea of what's going on at the club, since he works there and such. But in addition to the quotes from PHW, the Star reports (in the same article) that the club is strongly considering holding Robin van Persie to his contract for the time being, rather than acquiescing to his demands and selling him now.
According to the Star's report, Arsenal want to make an example of van Persie in a way by refusing to meet his demands, as they have in the past with players like Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. This is probably at least in part because the situations are different, while the mode of leverage used by the players is similar: Fabregas had a "home" to return to in Barcelona, and Nasri wasn't as crucial to the team as van Persie. Hill-Wood goes as far as to say that he thinks the RvP situation makes no sense.
To be honest I do not understand him at all. I understood Cesc Fabregas wanting to go home to Barcelona last summer. I had sympathy with that. But I thought Robin was happy at Arsenal, especially after the season he had with us.
The club believe that a good first half to the season could convince van Persie to sign a long-term deal, and if not, the January transfer window would allow them a chance to move the player when demand is high for goal-scoring talent. In the interim, it would give Arsenal more bite to the attack while new signings are integrated with the rest of the squad, perhaps preventing an awful start to this season akin to that of the last one.
If this is all accurate reporting, it's quite an interesting turn in the van Persie saga. I'm surmising here that the reason it's all in one place (rather than two separate posts, to increase page views or something like that) is because Peter Hill-Wood is the source for the claim that the team may keep van Persie, but went off the record for that part of it. If that's the case, there must be some serious weight behind the claim - that doesn't mean that Arsenal will certainly keep van Persie, but it's a stronger claim than if it was simply coming from "an unknown source."
Honestly, the more I've thought about this, the more I've felt like this should be a legitimate possibility. The chances of Robin van Persie refusing to play, or of him tanking while on the field, are slim. If he really wants out, he'll want to have a good audition for teams rather than come off looking like the kind of guy who'd disrupt whatever a team has going at that point. That increases interest and increases the number of offers, and that's the best way to get the best contract (and for Arsenal, the best way to get a legitimate bid for him). So we'd still bring in some cash, but probably also get a few extra goals in the bargain. Additionally it lets the club look tough and sell him "on their own terms" to save some PR grace. Granted this is all very cynical, but it's basically where we are now.
On the other hand, ESPN and the Mirror (yes, I know) claim that if Arsenal don't act soon, Juventus will move on from their interest in van Persie and make a move for Manchester City's Edin Dzeko instead. This goes directly against something we shared earlier this week, and one has to consider the source - but it's not out of the question, and it's something that Arsenal need to be wary of.
One way or the other, as we've said, the sooner a final decision is reached and announced, the sooner we (fans and club) can move on to the business of making the team ready for the new season.