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Mancini plays down RVP interest

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has distanced himself from reports that the club will launch a summer bid for Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie.

• Podolski agrees Arsenal move - report

Earlier this week, Mancini described Van Persie "as one of the best strikers in Europe", leading to speculation that the Premier League leaders would try and sign the Netherlands international, whose contract expires in summer 2013.

Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Germany international Lukas Podolski - seen as a potential replacement for Van Persie - according to several media sources, fuelling speculation the Gunners might be about to lose their talismanic skipper.

Van Persie is the Premier League's top scorer this season with 25, and has almost single-handedly clawed Arsenal into the battle for a Champions League spot following a torrid start to the campaign.

However while he is an admirer of the forward, Mancini insists he was not attempting to publicly court Van Persie, amid claims his comments angered Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger,

"I never said that we want to buy Robin van Persie," Mancini said to Sky Sports News.

"Some journalist asked me about him, and I said we are interested in all good players - but also that I think he will stay at Arsenal for a long time, because Van Persie for them is the best player."

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