Arsenal boss admits striker’s departure to United is not ideal.
Arsene Wenger has admitted that he’d rather have sold striker Robin van Persie to a foreign team, like mega-rich PSG, after watching the Dutchman join Manchester United.
The Arsenal boss reluctantly agreed to let van Persie leave the Emirates after the 29-year-old publicly refused to sign a new contract at the club.
The talismanic forward had just 11 months remaining on his existing deal in north London and Wenger could not risk losing him for free next summer.
Wenger, however, concedes that strengthening one Arsenal’s rivals is not ideal and he’d rather van Persie had moved abroad.
“To strengthen an enemy is the other negative point of this loss,” Wenger is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“We wanted to avoid it but we couldn’t. Honestly, I’d rather sell him abroad, to Paris Saint-Germain for example.
“Manchester United know him and know his qualities. He’s really an exceptional player, believe me.”
While Wenger was sorry to see another key player leave Arsenal, the Frenchman said he had no choice but to sell van Persie, who scored 30 Premier League goals last season and led from the front as the Gunners recovered from a poor start to finish third.
“Van Persie is a great player so it’s always sad to lose such a player. But we must consider the economic reality and the will of the player.
“When you can’t succeed in extending the contract of a player that is in its last year, there is no other way but to let him go. It’s sad because he played for us for eight years. He’s 29 now. He was 21 when he came and it’s another bitter pill to swallow.
“A lot has happened before and we survived it all, but this is a real challenge because Van Persie scored 30 (Premier League) goals in a year, almost one per game. It’s a tough challenge for our new forwards to replace him.”
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