Lazio president Claudio Lotito has moved to rubbish claims that his club are lining up a deal for Robin van Persie, while links between the Manchester United striker and beaten Champions League finalists Juventus continue to gather pace.
Former Arsenal favourite Van Persie became an instant hit during his first season at Old Trafford after firing Sir Alex Ferguson's side to a 20th top-flight title and winning his second consecutive Golden Boot award, yet his influence has notably declined over recent months.
The Dutch captain, who featured for his country for the first time in seven months during the eventful 4-3 friendly defeat to the US in Amsterdam on 5 June, scored 10 times in 26 total appearances for Manchester United in 2014/15 and was sidelined for almost two months after sustaining damaged ligaments in his right ankle during the 2-1 defeat to Swansea in February.
With Van Persie's latest deal currently set to run until June 2016 and Louis van Gaal having already moved to strengthen his forward options with the addition of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven, reports have suggested that the 31-year-old could be allowed to move on this summer.
Indeed, the player himself has claimed to be in the dark over any possible contract extension and recently described the situation as 'difficult' while stressing the need to play regularly in future ahead of the 2016 European Championship.
After Van Persie was supposedly photographed at an airport in Rome yesterday (6 June), the latest speculation suggests that he could even be used as a potential make-weight as part of Van Gaal's attempts to complete a deal for highly-rated Lazio playmaker Felipe Anderson.
Lotito has given short shrift to such unfounded gossip, however, emphatically dismissing it as "total bull".
"Van Persie? Haven't you figured this out yet? It's all rubbish. Total bull," he reportedly told Corriere dello Sport before suggesting that such rumours had merely been peddled by an agent.
Lazio are not the only Serie A club to have been mentioned in connection with Van Persie of late. Reigning champions and domestic double winners Juventus, who lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the final of Europe's elite club competition in Berlin last night, are said to be preparing a £5m ($7.6m) offer to take him to Turin.
While Van Persie is yet to drop any sizeable hints regarding which clubs he might consider joining in the event of leaving Manchester United, he revealed in a recent interview that he has received positive reviews from former teammate Patrice Evra regarding the positive work ethic that exists at Juve under Massimiliano Allegri.
"I still speak to my old mate Patrice," he told The Mirror. "He has told me stories about how Juventus train, how hard they work, and how they manage to be successful.
"They have a fantastic spirit in their team. They have a totally different approach from English or Dutch players before games. They grab each other by the head, they shout at each other to pump each other up. And they also have big running sessions after games.
"Patrice has told me that there are so many ways to be successful and that you can't say one way or another is perfect."