Thursday Kickoff: Van Persie interests City, Arsenal agree on Podolski fee, and more

Thursday Kickoff: Van Persie interests City, Arsenal agree on Podolski fee, and more

European Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Van Persie interests City, Arsenal agree on Podolski fee, and more

RVP - Getty
By CALEB SONNELAND

You figure it had to happen sooner or later.

Robin van Persie has reportedly caught the attention of big spenders, Manchester City. Manager Roberto Mancini told the press that he was keen on the Dutchman, who is enjoying the best season of his career at Arsenal with 32 goals in all competitions. 

Mancini was quick to point out that essentially every good team in Europe is "interested" in the striker and thinks he "will remain at Arsenal."

Still, the London club has be known to be somewhat strapped for cash in the past and an exorbitant offer from City might tempt Arsene Wenger into selling his prize asset.

Arsenal lost its talismanic midfielder Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona late last summer and watching van Persie exit behind him would be devastating to the Gunners.

Here are some other stories to get you through your Thursday:

PODOLSKI ARSENAL BOUND

It could be one striker in, and one out this summer as Arsenal has agreed a fee for Lukas Podolski of Cologne in the Bundesliga.

Believed to be in the realm of $17 million, the German striker is set to land a hefty contract of $158,000 per week on a four-year contract.

Podolski, who attracted interest from the cash-heavy Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala and Lokomotiv Moscow insists that money wasn't his primary goal in a move away from Cologne.

Still only 26 years old, Podolski could potentially join Robin van Persie this summer, should the Gunners hold on to the latter.

TOTTENHAM MARCH ON IN FA CUP

A double from Jermain Defoe on either side of half time saw Tottenham Hotspur into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup with a 3-1 victory over Stevenage FC.

After initially falling behind early from the penalty spot, Defoe leveled beautifully from 20 yards out with a left-footed effort in the 26th minute. The English striker completed the brace in the 74th after being played into the Stevenage area by Gareth Bale. Defoe jinked his way out of a challenge before curling a finish into the bottom right corner.

Adebayor helped himself to a goal from the penalty spot shortly after half-time after Bale was adjudged to have been brought down in the area, while Stevenage's Joel Byrom netted a penalty of his own to get the scoring started in the fifth round replay.

Highlights here.

JOHNSON REFUELS RACE ROW

The long drawn-out racial feud between Manchester United and Liverpool has yet to come to a close.

This time, Liverpool defender Glen Johnson has accused United's Patrice Evra of baiting Luis Suarez in the two clubs' Premier League clash last month.

Suarez received a flurry of negative feedback after his apparent refusal to shake Evra's hand prior to the match, but Johnson has lept to the defense of his team mate.

"Evra was clever at Old Trafford," Johnson said. "Luis didn't shake his hand because Evra's hand was down there. What else is Luis supposed to do? Would you go to shake someone's hand if their hand is way down there by their side? Course not."

Evra got some of his own criticism for his exaggerated post match celebrations deliberately in front of the Liverpool striker.

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What do you make of City's interest in van Persie? Is Podolski cover for the departing Dutchman? What did you think of the Defoe brace?

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