Van Persie explains Barca hotel visit

Robin van Persie has insisted his visit to Barcelona’s team hotel this week was perfectly innocent.

Arsenal captain Van Persie was pictured at the London hotel of Barca on Tuesday night, fueling speculation he could be set to join them.

The Dutchman is out of contract in the summer and refusing to make a decision about his future until the end of the season.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has revealed he wants a resolution before his captain joins up with the Holland squad at a training camp in Switzerland on May 17 – just 72 hours after the final Premier League game at West Brom.

Van Persie wrote in the Gunners’ official matchday programme for their clash with Chelsea: "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!"

The Holland star, who has just over a year left on his Arsenal contract, added: "The visit to the hotel was a social one and had nothing to do with the future of my career. 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."

Van Persie also hit back at Gary Caldwell’s claim that he refused to shake the Wigan captain’s hand after Arsenal’s shock 2-1 defeat on Monday night.

He said: "I was quite surprised by his reaction, and the fact that it made such news in the media.

"If you look properly at what happened, I offered him my left hand but he refused it and acted like the innocent party – so all the reaction has been a little over the top.

"There were no bad intentions on my side. In football, you can win and lose – that is part of the game, and of course I will always be disappointed with a defeat, but not to the point that I refuse to shake my opponent’s hand. Not everything is always as it looks."