Every time Robin van Persie scores for Arsenal, his list of suitors grows by at least one. AC Milan is the latest European soccer giant to be linked with van Persie. The Mirror reports the Italian club plans to sell Pato to fund a transfer for the Gunners’ hitman.
“Corriere dello Sport claims today that Pato, who has suffered his 13th injury since 2010 and is set to miss the Champions League second leg match at Arsenal next week, will now be sold,” the Mirror report says. “And Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has told the club he wants the Arsenal captain as his replacement.”
Pato is the key to any potential Milan approach for van Persie. He reportedly has a frosty relationship with Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri, and it’s uncertain how long the two of them can co-exist at the club. He was believed to be on his way to French club Paris Saint-Germain in January, but the clubs could not come to an agreement before the close of the window.
But the 22-year-old Brazilian could push for a move in the summer. If he joins the mega-rich French club, Milan would likely net over £35 million ($55.8 million) from the sale.
Arsenal is determined to hold on to van Persie, and might even risk losing him for free when his contract expires in June 2013.
The two clubs play each other next week in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 series. Milan holds a commanding 4-0 lead, and Arsenal needs a miracle to remain in the elite competition. It could be the Dutch marksman’s final Champions League game in Arsenal colors.