The Sun says City will open up with a £15million bid for the want-away Arsenal star.
But a Barca source said: “We expect a very hot summer in the transfer market.”
Van Persie, who scored 37 times last season, has decided against signing a new deal with the Gunners. Premier League champions City are favourites to land him, but will not pay more than £20m for a player who is 28 and injury prone.
Barca are hopeful that Van Persie’s friendship with Cesc Fabregas will swing the deal their way.