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Ferguson admits United in the race for Van Persie

Alex Ferguson has confirmed Manchester United have made a bid for Arsenal captain Robin van Persie, which has been rejected out of hand.

It had been reported earlier yesterday that United, Manchester City and Juventus had all made offers for the Dutch forward.

And Ferguson, speaking on the eve of a pre-season encounter with Ajax Cape Town in South Africa, confirmed there had been contact with the London giants.

"Obviously Arsenal have given out the fact that we've made a bid for him," said Ferguson. "We try to keep business as close as possible to us until the moment we conclude a deal. There's no point talking about something that might not happen.

"There are other clubs interested in the player. We've shown an interest and that's where we're at at the moment."

Ferguson refused to expand on those comments. "We try and do business before we announce anything," he said. "That is what we are going to do. There is nothing more to add."

The qualities of Van Persie, who was named player of the year both by the media and his fellow professionals in recognition of his phenomenal 36-goal contribution for Arsenal last season, are obvious, but United's most pressing needs do not appear to be in attack.

With England duo Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck at his disposal already, in addition to Javier Hernandez, Ashley Young, new-boy Shinji Kagawa, plus, for now, Dimitar Berbatov, Ferguson seems to have plenty of firepower. However, midfield is the area where United looked short last season. Despite Ferguson's assertion, Arsenal have not in fact made a public statement regarding any bids they may have received for Van Persie. United, City and Juve are said to be happy to pay somewhere in the region of £15million but Arsenal are thought to be demanding in excess of £20m. United's opening bid is believed to be a paltry £10m.

The Van Persie saga is shaping up to be a repeat of those that saw Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri both sold last summer.