Arsenal have seemingly lost the battle to hold on to star striker Robin van Persie following confirmation that he will not be extending his current deal, but who will win the race to secure his signature this summer?
By Tim Clement - Twitter: @SkyTimClement. Last Updated: July 6, 2012 2:12pm
Robin van Persie: Top transfer target
Manchester City - 4/7 favourites with Sky Bet
City's bottomless kitty of cash makes them the obvious front-runners to secure the services of last season's Premier League top scorer. They have already snared the services of Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy from Arsenal and are an even more lucrative suitor after piping neighbours United to the title. If trophies are the main motivation behind the Dutchman's exit then the Etihad looks the safest bet, but competition for a starting place is likely to be fierce. Sergio Aguero headed a star-studded attacking line-up, with Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez also already set to be vying for starting places next term.
Barcelona - 4/1
The money has flooded in at Sky Bet for Barca to get their hands on Van Persie with punters seemingly expecting a repeat of the Thierry Henry situation. Like with the French legend, the Gunners will hold preference with seeing their star head abroad rather than to a direct domestic rival. The Catalans have based their recent success on youth development but may be tempted to move for the Dutchman after failing to retain their La Liga and Champions League titles.
Juventus - 9/2
Juve seem to have been linked with half of the Premier League during their re-emergence since the Calciopoli scandal and are a far more attractive proposition after landing the Serie A title. Manager Antonio Conte is now looking to put together a side capable of competing with Europe's finest next season with some of game's biggest stars linked. Napoli's Edinson Cavani and Liverpool's Luis Suarez have also be touted as the Old Lady's targets as they search for a replacement for ageing hero Alessandro Del Piero. While further domestic titles look likely for Juve next season, it is hard to foresee even the addition of Van Persie enabling them to compete for Europe's top tier competition.
Manchester United - 8/1
After seeing rivals claim bagging rights with their title triumph, United will not want to see City also lay claim to the Premier League's leading marksman. Unlike Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson has never shied away from splashing out for a big name if deemed necessary, but whether the Old Trafford outfit can compete with their neighbours' financial package remains to be seen.
Real Madrid - 12/1
If there is any substance behind speculation surrounding Gonzalo Higuain's future then Jose Mourinho is likely to be on the look-out for a new marksman this summer. The appeal of the Bernabeu hardly needs stating while Real have never been afraid of opening the chequebook with president Florentino Perez at the helm.