By Nick Ames
Robin van Persie has poured cold water on reports linking him with a move to Barcelona.
The Arsenal captain was seen at Barcelona’s team hotel in London on Monday, prompting speculation in some sections of the media - but Van Persie has revealed that there was nothing untoward about his visit.
Speaking in his notes for the Official Matchday Programme, he said: “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.
“Unfortunately this had to be at the hotel, because he was not permitted to leave it. I was wearing my Arsenal tracksuit and we sat down by the reception to have a chat and some food - everyone could see us and there was nothing to hide. I can’t imagine anyone conducting transfer negotiations in these circumstances!”
Van Persie emphasised that the visit had no bearing on his future - and that his plans in that regard remain unchanged.
“The visit to the hotel was a social one and had nothing to do with the future of my career,” said the captain.
“I do have a social life next to football, even if my wife tells me that it sometimes doesn’t seem that way! Nothing has changed in the sense that my intention remains to discuss my future in the summer.”
- Read Robin's captain's notes in Saturday's Official Matchday Programme. Click here to subscribe