Arsene Wenger says that Manchester United’s former coach, Rene Meulensteen, played a big part in convincing Robin van Persie to leave Arsenal.
The toothy badger wrote a letter to fans, you guys, to make it clear he wanted to leave the club, and the Arsenal manager says conversations with the player convinced him he had to move him on.
In a not terribly subtle indicator that van Persie was prepared to make trouble if he didn’t get his way, Wenger said, “It is the head-to-head talks I had with Van Persie many, many times that convinced me that I had to sell him.
“Robin van Persie had been convinced by the Dutch coach who was at Manchester United, that played a big part. 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.”
Ferguson had claimed in his recent autobiography – a book which, in fairness, stunningly captures the noxious essence of the man –that he’d talked Wenger into selling the player.
Of course Ferguson has now gone, after telling van Persie he wouldn’t be leaving when he signed, and when David Moyes brought his own staff in, Meulensteen was jettisoned too. Asked if van Persie might now be regretting his move, the Arsenal boss said, “Only Robin van Persie can tell you that. I’m not in the position to do that.
“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 admitted it was still ‘strange’ to see van Persie wearing the wrong kind of red.
“Of course it’s strange because for me he is an Arsenal man. 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.”
Far be it for me to disagree so vehemently with AW, but he was an Arsenal man. Now he’s not. He’s a filthy, traitorous quisling who, I hope, lives his life without a moment’s happiness ever again.
I know, I’m too lenient.