“He called me because he wanted to come back.”
Arsene Wenger has provided an interesting insight into Robin van Persie’s famous transfer from Arsenal to Manchester United in 2012.
Arsenal supporters were distraught when the Dutch star signed for their bitter rivals after Van Persie had scored 96 goals across 194 appearances for The Gunners in eight seasons.
Arsenal received a good fee for Van Persie, £24m, but that was little consolation to the supporters of the north London club who soon had to watch the former fan favourite thrive at Old Trafford.
Van Persie would go on to retain the Premier League golden boot award in his first season with Manchester United as his goals helped the club to another league title in what was Alex Ferguson’s final season as manager.
Wenger, writing in his new book, ‘Arsene Wenger, My Life in Red and White’, opens up on Robin Van Persie’s transfer to United and also reveals that the Dutch striker requested a move back to The Emirates as his United career came to an end.
“The supporters were angry with me…”
“In 2012, he announced his intention not to extend his contract,” Wenger said. “All the big clubs were courting him.
“I sold him to Manchester United. The supporters were angry with me for this but we could not match the offer.
“I managed to negotiate his departure for £24million, which was a huge amount at the time for a player with a year left on his contract. I had only the interest of the club in mind.
“My relationship with Alex Ferguson and Manchester United had improved by then, but every transfer is a polite game of poker where you attempt to give not anything away.
“Van Persie had a fantastic first six months at Old Trafford: he put the team on track for the Premiership title and made it even more difficult for us.
“But after three years of the four that he signed for, he was injured and Ferguson (sic) sold him to the Turkish club Fenerbahce.
“He called me because he wanted to come back, but it was impossible: he was at the end of his career and we were investing in young players.”