Alexis Sanchez moving to Manchester United brings back bad memories for Arsenal fans of Robin van Persie doing similar.
Arsene Wenger has also mentioned the Dutchman when speaking about Sanchez’s exit, saying for him the departure of Van Persie was worse. The striker made his name at Arsenal and Wenger helped shape Van Persie as a player, there was more of a connection between the manager and his star, and it was probably the same for fans too.
Van Persie has now returned to the Netherlands with Feyenoord and has been speaking to De Telegraaf.
Wenger’s comments came up, and the former Arsenal player was keen to send praise back: “I owe so much to him. He has been crucial for my development as a footballer and as a person.
“He made me think. I remember that I was 21 years old and in my second season I thought it was time to play more. He noticed that and said that I wasn’t an absolute top player yet.
“‘But I want to be, so I have to play’ I said.
“Wenger replied: ‘You have to ask yourself why you are not the absolute top player yet. Write for yourself what you do well and what can be done better’.
“So he let me think about things. He is a very intelligent man and is so patient.”
Van Persie also revealed he had deep conversations with his Arsenal manager and felt a special connection: “Not spiritual or something, but very human. He really took the time for his players.
“A trainer can’t do that with every player in his selection, but we did have a real connection. I have learned an incredible amount from him. He is just a world class trainer. That’s why I still want the best for him and Arsenal.”
It’s fair to say Arsenal fans didn’t take Van Persie’s exit well and, perhaps understandably, most turned against the player, but there wasn’t any fall out with Wenger: “You sometimes hear from other transfers that players leave with banging doors. That has never been the case with us. We have spoken to each other quietly. On a few things the club and I didn’t agree. That’s life. I have so much respect for him.”