Arsenal boss Wenger reveals Meulensteen key to van Persie transfer

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that his telephone chats with Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2012 played no part in his decision to sell Robin van Persie to rivals Manchester United, ESPN has reported.

It was rumoured that the Scot’s influence was key to Arsenal deciding to sell their star striker, but Wenger has rubbished these reports ahead of Sunday’s big clash between the two sides.

The French boss insisted that it was the influence of assistant manager at Manchester United Rene Meulensteen that was the deciding factor for the Dutch striker to move to Old Trafford. The 64-year-old spoke of the painful process of losing van Persie ahead Arsenal’s trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Robin van Persie has been convinced by the Dutch coach [Meulensteen] who was at Manchester United and that played a part in that,” Wenger said. “I think in the end I had to decide do I do this or not knowing that I would get huge criticism. At the end of the day, I felt it was the best thing to do.

It’s strange [to see him in a United shirt]. For me he is an Arsenal man. I took him when he was a very, very young man and we have gone together through very difficult periods. He became a world class player and for me, he is an Arsenal player.

He added: “Robin van Persie was 29 when he left and he was impatient. Some players saw the other big clubs buying world name players and they lost a little bit of confidence we can compete with them. It’s understandable, but we have always been consistent with how the club should be run and hopeful that we could turn the corner.

The Gunners boss also moved to calm the early season excitement surrounding the clubs excellent start to the Premier League and Champions League, by saying it will mean nothing unless they can keep it up for the duration of the season.

He said: “There is a lot to do. We cannot come to the conclusion that we are in the position where we can relax. We have done well in the last two games, but we have won nothing yet.

We have matured. We are not rushing in our play, we are not panicking. The confidence level is not set certain forever and it goes up and down with the results of the team. Because our recent results are good, the confidence is higher.

Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League and are unbeaten in the league since the opening day, whilst Manchester United have started the season slowly and sit eighth, despite being on an unbeaten run of eight games in all competitions. The pair meet on Sunday at Old Trafford.

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