BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger reveals Robin van Persie rejected Man City move
A little more than 24 hours before his Arsenal side face Manchester United at Old Trafford, manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Robin van Persie rejected a move to Manchester City after announcing he would not be renewing his contract with Arsenal which was due to expire next summer. He said in his pre-match press conference:
“He could come out more on the reasons but I didn’t want to know more about that. Does it hurt more than he left for another English club? That is not exactly what I wished!”
Van Persie sensationally moved to City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United, and has already begun to showcase the red-hot form he was known for at Arsenal which won him the Golden Boot last season. He now pairs up with Wayne Rooney, who was second in the Premier League goalscoring charts last season.
The Netherlands international, 29, moved to Old Trafford a few weeks after his country’s elimination at the 2012 European Championships. The Dutch exited Poland-Ukraine with just two goals and no points to their name, with van Persie’s consolation goal against Germany being one of them.
Arsenal fans still react with much angst when van Persie is mentioned, and the small section of away fans that will go to watch the Gunners at the Theatre of Dreams tomorrow afternoon will definitely treat their former captain with disdain. Wenger, however, hopes this will not be the case.
“I hope the reception for him is a respectful one because he has played for us for eight years, he has done very well for us. You want him to be respected.
“We campaign against discrimination. It was still the case last week so why should it not be the case this week? I don’t know, I think he will get the reception I hope for.”
Arsenal moved to replace van Persie with the attacking trio of Germany international Lukas Podolski, France striker Olivier Giroud and European Championship Winner Santiago Cazorla. Despite making a promising start to the season, the Gunners have already suffered three losses this season, against Chelsea and Norwich City in the Premier League and Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League. Despite this, they have the joint best defensive record in England along with Chelsea.
United have developed a reputation for leaking goals, but have shown determination to come from behind this season in five out of their nine league games.
United face off against Arsenal tomorrow at 1245 GMT (1815 IST) at Old Trafford, and van Persie will be meeting his former team mates for the first time since moving up North. But Wenger is not surprised at the form the Dutchman is showing, saying:
“Am I surprised he has done so well at Manchester United? No, not really. In Manchester you have good players around him, and Robin is very intelligent around the box.
“You would think that one of the parts of my job is to have a positive influence on people as a player. When you do that you are always satisfied. I think my influence was not too bad.”