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Friday, July 6, 2012

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Ready to move on: Arsenal star Robin van Persie says he will not re-sign with Arsenal when his contract expires after the coming season. AP

Van Persie fed up, says he won't renew contract with Arsenal

AP

LONDON — Disillusioned with Arsenal's recent form and fearful of the club's immediate future, Robin van Persie announced Wednesday he will not extend his contract that has just one year left to run with the Premier League side.

In a decision that is likely to spark a scramble for his signature among Europe's leading clubs, the Netherlands striker said he was unhappy with the direction Arsenal was taking as it attempts to end a barren spell stretching back to 2005.

"I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days," Van Persie wrote on his official website.

"I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract."

Van Persie, who scored 37 goals in all competitions for Arsenal last season, said he held talks about his future with chief executive Ivan Gazidis and manager Arsene Wenger before going to the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

"Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans, I don't want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward," the 28-year-old striker said.

The Dutchman, who is the club captain, said more meetings were planned with Arsenal once Gazidis returned from holiday in the United States.

A number of the continent's top teams have been linked with a move for Van Persie, including new English champion Manchester City and Italian champion Juventus.

Van Persie carried Arsenal for large chunks of last season, during which he scored a Premier League-high 30 goals to help the team qualify for the Champions League.

However, he endured a poor Euro 2012 by his high standards, scoring one goal as the Netherlands exited at the group stage.

Perhaps with the departure of Van Persie in mind, Wenger has signed two strikers — Olivier Giroud from Montpellier and Lukas Podolski from Cologne — in the offseason.

The French coach must, however, decide whether to cash in this summer on his captain and sole world-class player or risk losing him for nothing when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The scenario is nothing new to Wenger.

Last summer, Arsenal accepted an offer of $39 million from City for France playmaker Samir Nasri, who also had a year left on his contract. Gael Clichy, a left-back, also had 12 months to run on his Arsenal deal before moving to the Etihad Stadium for $11 million.

Arsenal has lost a string of top players in the last few years, with Cesc Fabregas departing to Barcelona last year and both Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure leaving for City in 2009.

Rangers deal setback

AP

GLASGOW, Scotland — Scottish soccer was thrown into disarray on Wednesday after indebted Glasgow giant Rangers was barred from competing in the Scottish Premier League following a vote by top-tier clubs.

The decision to reject the bid by a new Rangers ownership to play in the top division following the club's financial meltdown could threaten the economic well-being of teams around Scotland.

Rangers chief executive Charles Green said the 140-year-old club was "deeply disappointed" with the result of the vote and will be applying to join the Scottish Football League, which is made up of three divisions.

Rangers has won a record 54 national titles.



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