Robin van Persie has detailed what his first conversation with Alex Ferguson was like when he signed for Manchester United from Arsenal in 2012.
The highly publicised transfer from United’s bitter rivals Arsenal made headlines around the world but it would prove to be a shrewd move by Ferguson as Van Persie would go on to play a key role in the 2012/13 season where Manchester United lifted the Premier League title.
The Dutchman also secured the Golden Boot award that season with 26 Premier League goals but Van Persie reveals that the legendary manager never gave him a target to hit, he simply wanted him to play his own game.
“He was fairly clear,” Van Persie said of his first conversation with Ferguson in an interview with the UTD podcast.
“He said he wanted to use me as the main striker and occasionally behind it, but he didn’t really put a lot of pressure on me. He said ‘listen, this is the reason I am buying you, because I believe in you’ and I believe he told me I was the missing link to winning the league.
“He said ‘I will help you because the players need to get to know as well, because of the way you run and the way you play, but I will make it work’.
“And those words were enough, you know, because you can talk for hours but if you just hear those couple of sentences then you know this will be ok.”
The striker has also spoken about his concerns of joining United and in the same interview, Van Persie also delved into the differences in training between Arsenal and his new club with the latter resulting in him putting on more muscle.
“It was like the training sessions were different – because it is different with every coach, it is not better or worse, it is just different.
“But what I noticed with myself, if you look at my body for example, of course during the first couple of years with Arsenal, when I was 25 and 26, if you compare that body physically to the body I had after a year in Manchester, there was more muscles, it was stronger, you could see it from my upper body, from my bum, there were a couple more kilos there and it was all muscle, which must be – because I sometimes I ask myself the question why that was – because of the training sessions and the gym sessions that we did.
“That was in a different way and for the first time I was getting to know those gym sessions – it was basically exercise after exercise after exercise, for about 12 times, and then a couple of rounds, so it just give you extra body.”
The full interview with Van Persie on the UTD podcast will be released on Monday.