Robin van Persie has insisted his visit to Barcelona's team hotel this week was perfectly innocent.

Arsenal captain Van Persie was pictured at the London hotel of Barca on Tuesday night, fuelling speculation he could be set to join them this summer. But the 28-year-old, who is refusing to make a decision about his long-term future until the end of the season, wrote in the Gunners' official matchday programme: "The explanation is really very simple.

"My very good friend Ibrahim Afellay plays for Barcelona. After a bad long-term injury, he was finally back with the team - and during his absence I had been in contact with him a lot, but I hadn't seen him. This was an opportunity for me to go and visit a close friend, show him my support and catch up."

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