Manchester United are ready to throw their hat into the ring and trigger a high-stakes bidding war with rivals Manchester City for Arsenal star Robin van Persie.
Sir Alex Ferguson is determined to land the Holland international who stunned Arsenal by revealing he will not be signing a new contract at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, according to the Daily Mail.
Ferguson wants to wrest the Barclays Premier League title from Manchester City and does not intend to lose out on a player who scored 30 League goals last season.
The United boss is buoyed by the fact that the club's US owners plan to reduce debt with a New York flotation that should free up funds for top players after a barren season.
The Red Devils are lining up a bid for Porto duo James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho while they are still hopeful of capturing Croatia playmaker Luka Modric from Spurs.
Ever since City boss Roberto Mancini expressed interest in Van Persie, Ferguson has been put on alert and will fight tooth and nail from losing out to his neighbours again.
Champions City will formalise their interest soon with Mancini desperate to land Van Persie, 28, according to the report.
City are prepared to offer a whopping £225,000-per-week, which is beyond United’s pay structure.
It remains to be seen whether Ferguson could urge his club to push their financial boundaries and beat City.
Gunners are resigned to the fact that Van Persie has played his last game for Arsenal though they were taken aback by his sudden announcement.
In a damning statement, Van Persie questioned Arsenal’s ambition, saying he wants to win trophies but that he and the club "disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward".
His shock declaration was met with fury by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, who face yet another summer of losing their stars.
The striker’s statement on his own website read: "As announced earlier this year, I had a meeting with the boss and Mr Gazidis after the season.
"This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
"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.
"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 FC should move forward.
"I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.
"I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC.
"I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years. As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments."
Wenger and Gazidis both contacted the player’s agent, Kees Vos, to read the riot act over what they perceive to be a blatant attempt to force a move.
They are convinced Van Persie has a move lined up and view the player’s statement as an attempt to speed up the process.
A club statement read: "We have to respect Robin’s decision not to renew his contract.
"Robin has one year to run on his contract and we are confident that he will fulfil his commitments to the club. We are planning with ambition and confidence for next season."
Nevertheless the prospect of losing a player worth £20 million for free in 12 months time is something Arsenal cannot afford.