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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Juventus cool Van Persie interest

Juventus have cooled their interest in signing Arsenal skipper Robin van Persie, having at one stage appeared favourites to secure the Dutchman's signature.

As the transfer saga surrounding 28-year-old Van Persie took another twist, Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta said: "Talk of our real interest in him seems excessive to me."

Arsenal are believed to want more than £20 million for Van Persie, who earlier this month said he would not be signing a new contract at the Emirates. He has also been linked with both Manchester United and Premier League champions Manchester City.

"A top player is not only judged by how much he costs," Marotta told Sky Sports Italia. "It can also mean a player who costs less but, on the pitch, shows an absolute value.

"Van Persie is a great player, but Arsenal do not intend to lose him. And you cannot indulge in a player if the owners don't [want to sell]. Talk of our real interest in him seems excessive to me."

On Thursday, the Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood underlined the club's determination not to let Van Persie leave on the cheap.

He said he was "mystified" by the striker's desire to leave the North London club, adding: "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.

"He is a world-class player and we don't want to give him away. If he is determined to leave, that is up to him - but giving him away is not on our agenda.

And Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "He has one year left and is in demand - but our desire is to keep him. He is a world-class striker and I am a big supporter of him. I have supported him through his whole career."

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