London – Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says Arsenal are playing hardball on the sale of star striker Robin van Persie, but he remains hopeful of luring the Dutchman to Old Trafford.

Ferguson said Arsenal are negotiating with other clubs about Van Persie, with a perceived preference of selling to a non-English club, but said “we just have to persevere, hopefully it will come our way”.

Said Ferguson: “We're not getting any breakthrough with Arsenal. It's difficult to say why they're operating this way.”

United have lost out in their bid to sign Brazilian Lucas Moura, who is bound for big-spending Paris St. Germain. Ferguson said the reported transfer fee of €45 million for a 19-year-old shows “the game's gone mad”. – Sapa-AP