Arsene Wenger was forced to sell Robin van Persie against his will(Picture: Getty)
Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill has revealed the level of upset Arsene Wenger felt about selling Robin van Persie in one of the most contentious transfer in Premier League history.
Having already lost the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Kolo Toure and Samir Nasri to rival clubs, Wenger was ill-prepared to part company with his last remaining crown jewel in the summer of 2012.
Van Persie, who had one year left on his contract, had other ideas and, at the peak of his goalscoring powers, had other ideas and was intent on a move to Old Trafford where he felt his ambitions would be met.
Arsenal eventually succumbed to selling a player who scored over a century of goals during an injury-ravaged eight years in north London, but only after Si Alex Ferguson intervened and persuaded his old rival to do business.
‘Going back to your point about Alex and players we would analyse where we’d fallen short that year (2012),’ Gill told Vibe.
‘It was the number of goals so we set out to get Mr Van Persie and that was it so we went out got him that summer and low and behold he went and scored 30-odd goals that won him the league.
‘Yes (it was difficult) because Arsene didn’t want to sell him. Dealing with Arsenal wasn’t too bad. I was dealing with Ivan Gazidis and things like that and the player wanted to come and his agent so that was all OK.
The striker-turned-coach watched Man Utd’s win over West Ham (Picture: Getty)
Van Persie is currently in charge of Feyenoord’s Under-18 side (Picture: Getty)
‘But Arsene clearly knew what he was losing and he had a difficult relationship with Alex when they were adversaries, clearly they get on now.
‘But in the end we got it over the line and Alex spoke to Arsene and Arsenal and tweaked it at the end to give them a bit more.
‘It was difficult but again club can’t be seen to give up their assets easily without a fight. He knew what he was losing and we got a great goalscorer.’
Van Persie was welcomed back to the United fold this week and was a guest in the directors’ box from where he watched Sunday’s convincing 3-0 home win over West Ham.
A day later, on Monday evening, he spent four hours at a restaurant with United manager Erik ten Hag and his agent Kees Vos in the evening.
Now The Athletic have revealed that Van Persie will spend the rest of the week at Carrington to complete a mandatory element of his UEFA Pro License.
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