Arsenal fans are still licking their wounds, trying to get over the betrayal by former captain and striker, Robin Van Persie who swapped the Emirates for Old Trafford but instead of allowing the sleeping dog to lie, the Dutch striker has further stalked up the fire, opening healing wounds by declaring he had his heart set on joining Sir Ferguson’s gang from the outset.
‘It was [difficult] because it wasn’t only me who decided where I went to play,’ the Holland striker said, in an interview with MUTV. ‘I also depended on my former club as well and how they saw it. And then of course you always have these games that the directors play. It’s a bit like a rollercoaster. Some days it is looking good and other days it is worse. You don’t really know what to expect because things can change so quickly. It normally depends on the player and the two teams, but in my case, there were two other teams involved as well.
‘One was City and the other one was Juventus. So it was a bit hectic but I always wanted this transfer from day one. Me and Sir Alex knew that it would be a bumpy road but I think that it shows that if you really want something then nothing is impossible. I am glad it happened.’
I have always maintained Van Persie’s exit from Arsenal to Manchester United transcended a hunt for trophies. Even if he believed Arsenal stood no chance of winning trophies, there were other clubs that did. If he had moved on to another league, he would have attracted the empathy and sympathy of Arsenal fans rather than their vituperations. He cannot say he didn’t have options outside the Premier League as was evident in the interview. He had the choice of a switch to Juventus and had he taken it, he would have been crowned Italian champions and that is akin to Premier League Champions.
By saying he also wanted the transfer from day one, he made it crystal clear that he had always longed to play for Manchester United. Why then did he move to Arsenal? Apparently, he knew he wasn’t good enough and could not be trusted, hence, he sought for a manager that would believe in his hidden potentials rather than obvious frailties (injuries) and at the sudden appearance of light (fitness), he jumped ship. A clear case of deceit, ingratitude and betrayal.
He also said ‘Me and Sir Alex knew’ that it would be a bumpy road …. This is a lucid show of disrespect to Arsenal; the club, his ex-teammates and the fans. While he was negotiating with Arsenal and giving the fans false hope of contract renewal, he was already cavorting with an enemy (Ferguson) to thrash out a deal. This also gives credence to what Mancini said that he had made an offer to Van Persie. Isn’t it risible that a player still under contract was mulling over offers from rival clubs. The law says a player can start negotiating with other clubs if his contract has just 6 months to run. Then Van Persie still had a full year to run. I still don’t know why Arsenal didn’t take on the Manchester clubs for tapping up.
With the interview, it is obvious that Wenger was not to blame for Van Persie’s switch to Manchester United. He tried everything within his power to sell him abroad but the ‘Judas’ preferred a local rival. In some quarters, it was suggested that Wenger should have forced him to honour the last year of his contract and by then, he would be 30, maybe that would dissuade other top clubs from pursuing him. I don’t think so. If we had forced him to see out his contract, he would have spent his last season chasing personal glory (goals haul) which would have seen him move to Manchester United at the end of the season for free.
Wenger boxed himself into a corner by sticking with an injury prone player at the expense of the club’s success. I sincerely hope he has learnt his lessons. Diaby is another critical case, I hope he handles him with care while Wanyama is another player that wants Manchester United but wants a stepping stone to get there ( the quotes attributed to his agent is true ). Wenger mustn’t allow our great club to be used and dumped again. Wenger is still the best scout in England but certainly not working for Manchester teams anymore. I sincerely hope so.