Robin van Persie turned down £300,000 Manchester City deal to join United, says Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager urges fans not to target former hero tomorrow despite decision to join rivals

Arsène Wenger confirmed yesterday that Robin van Persie turned down an offer from Manchester City – thought to be in the region of £300,000-a-week – to join Manchester United from Arsenal this summer.

The Arsenal manager also urged his club's fans to give their former captain a warm reception when he faces them, for the first time since he left the club, at Old Trafford tomorrow.

Van Persie's defection from the Emirates Stadium was the most protracted transfer of the summer, with the Dutchman making it clear that he would not sign a new deal at Arsenal following a season in which he scored 37 goals and was named double Footballer of the Year.

That left Arsenal with little choice but to sell their talisman, and Van Persie's destination was narrowed down to United, City or Juventus.

After a £24m fee was agreed the forward turned down City's huge salary offer and eventually decided to become the first player since Viv Anderson to move to Old Trafford from Arsenal in a deal that brought huge criticism of his former club.

But despite the acrimonious nature of his departure, Wenger believes Arsenal's fans will let themselves down if they abuse Van Persie as they have other former heroes such as Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor and Ashley Cole. "It is true that Manchester City [were] interested in him and he has chosen to go to United," said Wenger, who acknowledged the contract offer from City. "He could come out more on the reasons but I didn't want to know more about that.

"Does it hurt more that he left for another English club? That is not exactly what I wished! I hope the reception for him is a respectful one because he has played for us for eight years, he has done very well for us. You want him to be respected. We campaign against discrimination, it was still the case last week so why should it not be the case this week? I don't know [what the fans will do], I think he will get the reception I hope for."

Get Adobe Flash player

Van Persie's swift adaptation to life under Sir Alex Ferguson has been somewhat of a surprise. The forward tired towards the end of last season and endured a torrid European Championship but has been superb in his new surroundings, scoring seven league goals so far. Wenger can take some credit for that in the role he played in transforming van Persie from a tearaway to a consistently world-class player, and there was a rueful smile as he acknowledged his role in his former player's development.

"Am I surprised he has done so well at Manchester United? No, not really," said Wenger. "In Manchester you have good players around him, and Robin is very intelligent around the box. You would think that one of the parts of my job is to have a positive influence on people's [lives] as a player. When you do that, you are always satisfied. I think my influence (on van Persie) was not too bad."

Wenger has reiterated that Theo Walcott's contract dispute must be resolved by Christmas, with the England international's current deal expiring next summer.

"There is urgency, how much I don't know," he said. "But there is urgency. We want to sort it out before Christmas, one way or the other."

Related articles...

Robin van Persie has given 'everybody a lift' at Manchester United says Ryan Giggs

No fresh injury concerns for Manchester United ahead of visit of Arsenal

Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain faces fitness test ahead of Manchester United trip

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
film
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal