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Van Persie: I want to join Juventus

WANT-AWAY striker Robin Van Persie came face-to-face with Arsene Wenger for the first time since declaring he wants out of Arsenal, with Juventus his preferred destination.

The Dutch ace reported back for pre-season training with the Gunners yesterday and indicated that of the three clubs chasing his signature, his preference is for a move to Turin.

He hasn't ruled out moving to either of Arsenal's Premier League rivals in Manchester but would rather leave England to avoid coming up against his old employers.

With Juventus having the least financial clout of the three clubs known to be in for Van Persie, the Gunners have been left with an unpalatable decision: Allow their star man to go to their biggest foes or Italy on the cheap.

It is understood that Van Persie will embark on Arsenal's pre-season tour that leaves for Malaysia on Saturday, arriving on Sunday ahead of the first game of their three-match pre-season tour of Asia, a week today against a select Malaysian XI, if no deal is done.

With just a year left to run in on his deal at the Emirates, Arsenal officials are left in a poor bargaining position but are determined to hold out for between £20-25m.



Stumbling

While the transfer fee may be attainable, RVP's salary request of in excess of £120,000 could be a stumbling block for any potential deal.

Manchester City are trying to keep their wage bill down to conform with FIFA fair play rules, while Alex Ferguson would have to break his salary structure to secure last year's golden boot winner. That leaves Juventus but there would be serious doubts over whether Juventus could formulate that kind of deal.

At 29 years old, with a less-than-perfect injury record and the prospect that he will be a free agent next summer, Van Persie, for all his qualities, is not a simple player to arrive at a price for.

He doesn't fit the profile of Alex Ferguson transfer targets who tend to be in their early 20s and United may view him as a risky signature.

MICK McCarthy has ruled out taking over at Nottingham Forest after holding talks with the club's new owners.

The Kuwaiti-based Al-Hasawi family took control of Forest last week, immediately deciding to sack Steve Cotterill.

Mick McCarthy was sacked by Wolves at the end of last season after six years in charge at Molineux.

Former Forest star Roy Keane remains in the running for the job along with Darren Ferguson, Glenn Hoddle and Gordon Strachan.