Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that the loss of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United in 2012 hurts more than Alexis Sanchez’s decision to swap the Emirates for Old Trafford.
Van Persie moved to Arsenal in 2004 for just £2.75m, originally as a winger, but was converted to a striker by Wenger over the years.
He spent eight years with the Gunners, making 278 appearances, scoring an impressive 132 goals. Despite his impressive goalscoring record, van Persie only had one winnners medal to his name, after he won the FA Cup in his first season at the club.
Then, in 2012, and with van Persie at the peak of his powers, Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson came calling, and with just one year remaining on his contract (sound familiar?), Arsenal agreed to sell their star striker to one of their oldest rivals for just £24m!
Van Persie was an instant hit at United, scoring 30 goals in 48 games in his first season with the Red Devils. To rub salt in the wounds of Gunners fans everywhere, the Dutchman would go on to win the Premier League title in his first season at Old Trafford. Arsenal were even forced to give Van Persie and his new teammates a guard of honour when they met at the Emirates towards the end of the 2012/13 season after United had already wrapped up the title with games to spare.
Fast forward a few years and Alexis Sanchez is seemingly set to make the same move from North London to Manchester. However, despite being about to lose one his his best players again, Arsene Wenger has revealed that it hurt far more seeing Van Persie leave the club than it will do when Sanchez departs.
Speaking before his side’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace on Saturday, the Frenchman said:
“We took Van Persie when he played in the reserve team at Feyenoord.
“We made a long work with him. When you get them there and, after they leave, that is the most painful.”