LONDON, England, August 14- Sir Alex Ferguson has held private discussions with Arsene Wenger over Manchester United’s attempts to complete a dramatic swoop for Robin van Persie the DailyMail exclusively reports Tuesday.
Sportsmail understands Arsenal are expecting an improved offer following personal contact between the two managers which took place recently.
Sources say that a deal to take the Arsenal captain, who got 30 goals to win the golden boot last season, to Old Trafford could be completed by the time the season kicks off this weekend.
It is understood the Arsenal manager repeated his insistence to Ferguson the 29-year-old would not be allowed to leave for United for a penny under £30million – but the Gunners will listen to offers starting at £20million with add ons.
Ferguson’s personal intervention into the proposed deal to sign Van Persie underlines the club’s determination to land the Holland international.
However, the Old Trafford club would not be willing to meet Arsenal’s inflated asking price, placing serious doubt over the protracted move.
The Gunners are willing to listen to offers starting at £20million, but Wenger is desperate not to sell his talisman to a Premier League rival – hence the sky-high price quote.
United were quoted £30million during initial talks between the two Premier League heavyweights earlier in the summer and it seems Arsenal’s stance has not changed despite Ferguson’s private chat with Wenger.
A shock move to Old Trafford now seems the only viable option for Van Persie in his attempts to leave the Emirates Stadium this summer after Manchester City and Juventus both stalled on their interest.
And it seems Wenger is facing a fight to keep hold of another one of his stars after Alex Song said Barcelona are interested in signing him.
Sources in Spain have indicated that Barca will attempt to open talks with the Gunners this week.
And when asked about interest from Barcelona, Song said yesterday: ‘I am not going to lie if I said there is no interest, but I am at Arsenal and I am happy at Arsenal.
‘Barcelona are the best team in the world, and speculation will always continue until the window closes.’
The La Liga club’s interest in Song is another unwanted headache for Wenger in the build up to new season – though the club are growing increasingly confident of signing Theo Walcott to a new contract.
Meanwhile, the ankle injury that has ruled Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of England’s clash against Italy is not understood to be serious.
The midfielder withdrew from Roy Hodgson’s squad yesterday, but his removal is precautionary. Gunners winger Ryo Miyaichi has joined Wigan on a season-long loan.