Selling Robin van Persie to Manchester United a 'massive gamble' admits Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

 

Arsene Wenger accepts sanctioning the sale of captain Robin van Persie
to Manchester United was a "massive gamble", but has faith his team can
recover to mount a successful Barclays Premier League campaign.

Holland international Van Persie today finalised a £24million switch to Old Trafford, having earlier in the summer announced he would not be signing a new deal with the Gunners.

Van Persie is the latest of Wenger's key men to move on following last summer's departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri - with Alex Song the next possible transfer amid reports of a £15million bid from Barcelona.

While the manner of Van Persie's exit may not sit well with many Arsenal fans - following his carefully worded summer statement questioning the direction of the club which stood by him during injury-plagued spells on the sidelines - Wenger maintains it is now time for everyone to look to the future as he prepares for tomorrow's season opener against Sunderland.

"The reality is when the player doesn't want to stay you have two ways: you either force him to stay or you accept the reality and you let him go. I have chosen the second solution," said Wenger.

"I know it is a massive challenge and a massive gamble I took but we have the quality to deal with the problem we have, and at the end of the day I can talk and talk and talk but we can only show it on the pitch now.

"Time heals all things and of course at the moment people are hurt, which I understand, but what is important for us is to focus on the season in front of us.

"Players have gone, life goes on and the football club is 125 years old and other big players have left this club and we have always gone from season to season in a strong way."

While Wenger may not want to go on the record over his personal thought on the saga, there remains a sense of having been let down by the Dutchman, whom he brought to Arsenal as a raw talent in May 2004.

Publicly, though, the Gunners boss maintains people should remember what Van Persie contributed on the pitch, plundering 30 league goals last season to fire them into third place.

"We lose a great player, a world-class player, I don't deny that, it is a massive challenge to replace him, so we have to be even more of a team and work even more together to compensate that loss," he said.

"However, we have lost world-class players before and we always survived.

"Now it is down to performances on the pitch, how well we play.

"I believe in ourselves, I believe in our quality and spirit and we have to show that."

Wenger believes the summer additions of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Spain midfielder Cazorla will go someway to offset Van Persie's departure.

Arsenal could yet add more new faces, with long-time target Yann M'Vila still on the radar, as Rennes hold out for a £17m fee, along with Real Madrid's Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin, who is also interesting Liverpool.

There are also likely to be more departures with the futures of Russian captain Andrey Arshavin and Denmark forward Nicklas Bendtner still to be resolved.

"We have already invested the [Van Persie] money because we bought three players - we bought Cazorla, we bought Podolski and we bought Giroud," said Wenger.

"If needed we will invest more, but if you look at the number of players, we have a massive squad.

"We have plenty of players who have no chance to play at all.

"At the moment I believe we have what is needed to be ambitious and to play our game."

Arsenal will assess the fitness of England forward Theo Walcott (thigh) ahead of tomorrow's game, but midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle) and France defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) both miss out having withdrawn from the midweek internationals.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum