Arsene Wenger has revealed it was former Manchester United assistant Rene Meulensteen that convinced Robin Van Persie to make the switch from Arsenal to Old Trafford just over 12 months ago.
The Gunners hitman completed his controversial £24 million move in August 2012 and fired United to the Premier League title. Despite Van Persie starting his second year in Manchester, Wenger admits it is still strange to see the Dutchman wearing the United shirt.
“Of course, it’s strange because, for me, he’s still an Arsenal man.”
“I took him when he was a young player and we’ve gone together through difficult periods.”
“He became a world-class player and, for me, he’s an Arsenal player.”
However, Wenger has lifted the lid on Van Persie’s exit insisting that Meulensteen had a big influence on the transfer rather than a phone conversation between Wenger and then United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I think what part of that was is that Robin Van Persie had been convinced by the Dutch coach who was at Manchester United. That played a big part in that.”
Following conversations between Wenger & RVP also convinced the Frenchman to cash in.
“It was more the fact that I had the conversations I had with Robin Van Persie that convinced me.”
“It’s not the talk with Alex Ferguson that convinced me to sell Robin Van Persie to Man United.”
“It’s the head-to-head talks I had with Van Persie, many times that convinced me that I had to sell him.”
Since his departure, the striker has scored two goals in two games against the Gunners and will be looking to extend that run to continue United’s progression, however Arsenal a different team this season and will offer the current champions a lot of threat.
Van Persie left the Emirates to win trophies but the Gunners look to show the Dutchman he was wrong to leave by claiming the title this season, victory on Sunday will carry on that belief.