Arsene Wenger talked about Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie ahead of their Premier League meeting, saying “for me he is an Arsenal player”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that Robin Van Persie’s transfer to Manchester United did not happen how Sir Alex Ferguson claimed in his book – and intriguingly claimed that he felt Van Persie was still “an Arsenal player”.
Former Red Devils boss Ferguson claimed that Wenger failed to convince Van Persie to stay at Emirates Stadium in face to face talks, but the wily French manager says that it was actually Manchester United’s Dutch coach Rene Meulensteen who was the critical influence.
“It was the head-to-head talks I had with Van Persie, many, many times that convinced me to sell him,” said Wenger to the Guardian.
“I think what was part of it was that Van Persie has been convinced by the Dutch coach who was at Man United. That played a big part in that.”
“Robin van Persie had been convinced by the Dutch coach who was at Manchester United, (so) that played a big part,” Wenger said. “It was more the fact that I had the conversations I had with Robin van Persie that convinced me, it is not the talk with Alex Ferguson that convinced me to sell Robin van Persie to Man United.
“It is the head-to-head talks I had with Van Persie many, many times that convinced me that I had to sell him.”
Wenger was then asked whether Van Persie would likely regret his move to Man Utd, given that both Ferguson and Meulensteen have left Old Trafford, and Arsenal are comfortably ahead of them in the Premier League table, but was reluctant to speak for the Dutchman.
“Only Robin van Persie can tell you that. I’m not in the position to do that,” said Wenger.
“I think in the end I had to decide ‘Do I do it or not?’ knowing I will get huge criticism for doing it. But I just decided because at the end of the day I felt it was the best thing to do.”
Wenger also said that he still felt strange about seeing Van Persie in a Manchester United shirt a year after his move.
“Of course it’s strange because for me he is an Arsenal man,” said the Gunners manager.
“I took him when he was a very, very young player.
“We have gone together through very difficult periods and he became a world-class player and for me he is an Arsenal player.