“After eight years at a great club, Arsenal, I’d always had a good feeling, right up until the last training,” he told Sky Sports. “After eight years, sometimes you feel like you need a new challenge and I found that challenge at Manchester United. I really feel like I am surrounded by champions. What I like about being here is that whatever the style of the opponent, we try to deal with it.”
Despite all the slagging off he’s received from Arsenal fans, Van Persie has remained respectful of his former club, but has no doubts he made the right decision in swapping Arsenal for United.
“I have huge respect for Arsene Wenger, he’s a great man,” he said. “Even with my move, he’s been a gentleman. I’m really thankful for that. I had a great time there and I don’t have any bad feelings towards the manager, club or fans. In those eight years we gave everything. Sir Alex said last week that ‘Robin is here at the right time, the right moment, at the right club.’ I do feel that this is exactly the right timing of being here. Since last summer I’ve wanted a big challenge and this was the biggest challenge for me. Every day tells me I made the right move.”
Van Persie famously said that he listened to the little boy inside himself when deciding to join United, and that little boy was screaming for him to join our club. Whilst some Arsenal fans foolishly claimed he was a mercenary that was leaving for the money (something he could have earned more of at City if he hadn’t rejected them for us), our number 20 has said this season has justified his move. United are top of the league, five points clear, whilst Arsenal were knocked out of the League Cup by League 2 side Bradford and are an incredible 22 points behind us.
“When you have a difficult choice to make in your life, you have to stay close to yourself,” he said. “I had to think what my heart wanted. I know why I went, it’s for good reasons, and if you look at the last couple of months I think it explains it all. I’m seeing things again that I didn’t see for a long time. When I first went to Arsenal years ago I saw things from Bergkamp and Henry which I’d never seen in my life before. Now I’m seeing those things again and that makes me really happy. It’s like a kid in a sweetshop. It’s like ‘Yes! This is good, this is nice.’ This is why I did it. I’m having fun.”
Made in Manchester is available for just £3. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.