Manchester United are looking to secretly offload striker Robin van Persie without his knowledge, according to his former Netherlands and Feyenoord teammate Pierre van Hooijdonk.
The former Arsenal striker is entering the final-year of his contract at the club and has not been offered a new deal. The Red Devils are looking to offload him this summer rather than risk losing him for free at the end of next season.
Van Persie had a difficult 2014/15 campaign, where he struggled for form and fitness during the course of the campaign managing just 10 goals in the league which saw him lose his place in the starting lineup at the end of the season.
Turkish giants Galatasaray were initially linked with a move for the striker, but manager Hamza Hamzaoglu later ruled out a move for the forward in an interview with Spor 3, when he cited financial constraints as the reason for backing out.
However, the former Dutch forward believes that Van Persie was being hawked around as early as January with United sending officials to his former club Fenerbahce to "test the water" with regards to a summer move.
"As early as January of this year, I received information from Turkey about Robin and Fenerbahce. The minute this information came, you knew that United had sent people to test the water for a move," Van Hooijdonk said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"Agents and others were searching for big clubs who are prepared to pay the high fee involved for van Persie. Robin's contract expires next year, so this is the moment when United can still get money for him."
"Van Persie is in a difficult situation. To the outside world he says he is happy to stay and I can understand this. But Robin has the feeling that United want to get rid of him," the 2002 Dutch player of the year added.
Van Hooijdonk believes that the former Gunners skipper, who joined United in 2012, will prefer a move to one of the big leagues in Germany, Italy or Spain, but could be forced to move to a club that he is not keen on joining.
"A big club in England, Spain or Germany is a more attractive option. Until the player realises that behind his back the two clubs have done a big deal."
"That is the moment the pressure is put on. You are almost forced to go to the club where your employer has struck a deal. This is what I mean with games being played right now," the former Nottingham Forest forward explained.
"Of course the money is good, life is good in Istanbul, but it is not a big football league in Europe we are talking about."
The 45-year-old former Fenerbahce forward believes it is the right time for Van Persie to quit Old Trafford, and as the striker recently mentioned, Van Hooijdonk feels that he needs regular football for the next 10 months ahead of the 2016 European Championship in France.
"There is a lot at stake right now for Robin. He could be heading for his last Euro tournament in France next summer. So he needs to play a lot in the 10 months before the Euros."
"I have a feeling that his relationship with Louis van Gaal is not as good as it was when they were both having cosy chats looking at players in the stands in Holland," Van Hooijdonk added.
"I would advise Robin to leave United this summer. All the signals are there that the club wants to sell him. So he has to get out on time."