Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has insisted that he did not mean to unsettle Robin van Persie after describing the Dutchman 'as one of the best strikers in Europe.'
Mancini was believed to have angered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after publicly declaring his interest in signing the Premier League’s top scorer.
However, the City boss has back-pedaled, insisting that he was not trying to unsettle the Arsenal man. Should Wenger lose Van Persie to City, it would be another blow for the Frenchman, extending the list of Gunners players to have jumped ship to the Eithad Stadium over the past few seasons.
Van Persie, who has scored 32 goals already this season, has said he will not consider signing a new contract until the summer, fueling speculation that his planning a move.
His present deal runs out in 2013, although Arsenal would most likely sell the striker before then were he refuse to sign a new contract.
There would be no shortage of suitors should Van Persie signal his desire to leave, but Mancini believes the Dutch international is likely to stay at the Emirates.
“I never said that we want to buy Robin van Persie,” insisted the City boss when speaking to Sky Sports News. “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.”
Arsenal have been good form and recent wins over Tottenham and Liverpool have put them back in the hunt for fourth place. There was more good news for Gunners fans as the signing of German international Lukas Podolski was claimed earlier in the week. However, Wenger played down the reports earlier today.