Joleon Lescott admits he would love Manchester City to try to prise striker Robin van Persie away from title rivals Arsenal.

The Blues defender would be happy if City used their financial power to buy the Dutchman, who has just 18 months left on his contract at the Emirates.

With talks over a new Gunners deal for the 28-year-old on hold until later in the season, Lescott insists a player like Van Persie would only add to the quality already at the Etihad Stadium.

Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri have swapped Arsenal for Manchester in recent years and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be desperate not to let Van Persie leave North London.

Lescott told The Sun: "I wouldn't swap him for any of our strikers - but I'd take him as well.

"We'd welcome any great players here and he is one. He's the man for Arsenal at the moment and he's obviously their main goal threat.

"He's right up there with the best strikers around. As a forward you get judged on goals so at the moment he's the best in the league.

"He can score all sorts of goals, with either foot. His work-rate for the team is great as well."

While Lescott is a big fan of Van Persie, City skipper Vincent Kompany is not fazed at the prospect of facing the Premier League's top scorer on Sunday.

Van Persie heads to City with 15 league goals to his name, part of an overall tally of 19 for the season and 33 in 2011.

Kompany said: "It is not like it has been any different in the previous weeks.

"I have gone from Mario Gomez to Wayne Rooney to Edinson Cavani to Didier Drogba and now Robin van Persie. The list of names doesn't stop.

"It is a tough world for defenders sometimes but I enjoy it all the more when I play against strong opponents.

"We have played Chelsea, Tottenham, United and Liverpool, all away from home," he said.

"It doesn't come any harder than that in the Premier League. We still have Arsenal away but after that we will be the favourites in most of the games we are going to play. That is where we might have an advantage."

The squad manager Roberto Mancini has pieced together also helps.

For instance, this weekend, when Aleksandar Kolarov is missing with a groin injury and Gael Clichy is serving a one-match suspension following his red card on Monday, the return of Micah Richards allows Mancini to switch versatile South American Pablo Zabaleta into the left-back berth without any head scratching whatsoever.

It represents a depth of talent that goes far beyond any of City's rivals, and hints at the potential for those involved in the title race to be whittled down pretty quickly.

Not that Kompany bears a grudge against those desperate to see the Blues slip just to make life interesting.

"I don't blame anyone," he said. "I have no problem with it.

"It is good that the league has now got more than just two or three contenders. Maybe there are five or six and that is good for everyone.

"Everyone is speaking about the Premier League because they know there is so much at stake.

"But the way I have seen us behaving in these games so far this season, we really just need to look at ourselves and not think too much about who else there is.

"We have every reason to think we can go all the way."

Nevertheless, Arsenal represent a formidable challenge given their recent record of seven wins and a draw from their last eight fixtures following an atrocious start to the season.

"I have a lot of respect for Arsenal," said Kompany.

"They are going really well and definitely one of the best teams in the Premier League at the moment.

"But the bigger the challenge, the better we are.

"In that way, maybe it is a good game for us."