Manchester City have admitted Arsenal captain Robin van Persie could join rivals Manchester United.
City, United, and Italian champions Juventus all tabled bids for Van Persie earlier this month after he announced he had no plans to sign a new contract at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal are refusing to let Van Persie leave without their valuation - thought to be close to £25million - being met, but are keen for the saga to be resolved before the new Premier League season kicks off on August 18th.
Weekend reports had suggested City's bid to sign the 28-year-old was in danger of falling through, and now manager Roberto Mancini has admitted that the Premier League champions face losing out to their rivals in the race to sign the Dutchman.
"I don't know what will happen with van Persie," said Mancini.
"Now he's an Arsenal player.
"They are a top team, even though they've lost some good players in the last year.
"For me they are one of the best teams in the world, so it's not easy for van Persie to leave a club like this."
"When you are talking about Manchester City, United and Juventus it's difficult for any player to choose between these three teams.
"But if we have a chance to take him, we will try. He is a top striker like the other strikers we have." .
According to widespread newspaper reports on Sunday, Van Persie - who it is believed would prefer a move to Juventus to avoid damaging his reputation with Arsenal fans - is interested in joining United providing he is given the same wages as top earner Wayne Rooney.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed his interest in the player, but whether the club are ready to offer him a deal in the region of £200-000-a-week remains to be seen.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to hold another round of talks with Van Persie in the coming days.
The Gunners are thought to have offered Van Persie a £130,000-a-week deal in addition to a £5million signing-on fee, with Wenger still hopeful his skipper will perform a U-turn.
AC Milan, Barcelona, and Real Madrid have also shown interest in Van Persie in recent weeks.