Arsenal striker Robin van Persie looks set to move to Manchester City this summer rather than Manchester United, Juventus, Chelsea or Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
That is the view of the bwin bookies, who make the Dutch hitman an even-money shot to join the Premier League champions before the transfer window closes.
Van Persie threw the Gunners’ preparations for the new campaign into turmoil last week by revealing that he will not extend his contract, which has just 12 months to run.
The announcement put big-spending City on red alert and the former Feyenoord man is now expected to follow the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy by departing Arsenal for the Etihad Stadium.
Punters joining bwin.com today can claim a free £20 bet and placing it on Van Persie to be a City player by September 4th, 2012 would offer a return of £40 if the transfer does materialise.
Arsenal, for their part, were surprised by the timing of the announcement and boss Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis will seek further talks with Van Persie when he has returned from his post-Euro 2012 holiday.
A three-year deal worth £130,000 per week and a £5 million signing-on bonus remain on the table for Van Persie and Wenger has not entirely given up hope of persuading his skipper to sign a new contract.
Alternatively, the club could choose to hold him to the final year of his existing agreement and then allow him to leave at the end of the 2012/13 season on a free transfer under the Bosman ruling.
Gooners who believe Van Persie will still be strutting his stuff for Arsenal next season can back this eventuality at 5/2, which would return £70 for anyone using the free £20 bet upon registering.
Meanwhile, several reports this morning suggest United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is keen on bringing Van Persie to Old Trafford and the Red Devils are rated as 15/2 fourth-favourites to get their man.
Italian champions Juventus, who recently had a cheeky £8 million offer for the Golden Boot winner turned down, are a 4/1 shot to lure him to Turin.
Elsewhere in the market, Barcelona (9/1), Real Madrid (14/1) and Chelsea (16/1) could attract some interest from punters who are looking for longer prices on Van Persie’s potential future employers.
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