“Arsene clearly knew what he was losing” – Former Manchester United CEO reveals how Arsenal made signing Robin van Persie difficult for them


Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill has claimed that Arsene Wenger made it difficult for them to sign Robin van Persie from Arsenal. He said that the former manager knew what he was losing and was not willing to give up easily.

Speaking to Rio Ferdinand on his Vibe With Five Podcast, Gill stated that Sir Alex Ferguson was clear that they lost the title to Manchester City in 2012 because they did not have a striker who could score 30 goals. He knew the addition of Van Persie would be perfect. Gill said:

“Going back to your point about Alex and players, we would analyze where we’d fallen short that year (2012). It was the number of goals, so we set out to get Mr Van Persie, and that was it, so we went out and got him that summer, and low and behold, he went and scored 30-odd goals that won him the league.”

He added:

“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. But Arsene clearly knew what he was losing and he had a difficult relationship with Alex when they were adversaries.”

Robin van Persie went on to play 105 matches for Manchester United and scored 58 goals. He had managed 132 goals in 278 games at Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex had a difficult relationship because of Arsenal and Manchester United’s rivalry

David Dill admitted that Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson had a difficult relationship but were now on getting on well. He added that the two were at their worst when the Van Persie deal was happening and added on the podcast:

“Now they get on well, but at the time, he had a difficult relationship with Alex. But in the end, we got it over the line. Alex spoke with Arsene, and [made] a little tweak at the end to give them [Arsenal] a bit more. It was difficult, but that’s the game. You know, clubs can’t be seen giving up their assets easily without a bit of a fight. And he [Wenger] knew what he was losing, and we got a great goalscorer out of it.”

Van Persie signed for Manchester United in 2012 for a reported £24 million fee. He left the club in 2015 for Fenerbahce.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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