Robin van Persie comments show he may favour Man Utd over Arsenal
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Robin van Persie was at Manchester United’s training ground complex Carrington on Wednesday to conduct an interview with the Red Devils’ boss Erik ten Hag for BT Sport, over seven years since leaving the club. The ex-Netherlands striker moved to Old Trafford in 2012 as part of a controversial move from Arsenal that saw him link up with Sir Alex Ferguson to win the Dutchman’s only Premier League title in his first year at the club.
Arsenal fans expressed their displeasure with Van Persie, having moved to one of their rivals at a time when he captained the Gunners and spearheaded the attack after eight years at the club under Arsene Wenger. Van Persie left in search of more silverware, having picked up just one FA Cup and one Community shield during his time at north London and at the age of 29, he felt that it was necessary to make the switch to Manchester.
Despite suffering multiple injuries, Van Persie scored 132 goals in 278 games during his time at Arsenal but in his first season at United, he won the Golden Boot with 26 goals and won the club’s Player of the Year award. Gunners supporters struggled to forgive him, however, after running down his contract and forcing Wenger into a sale though Van Persie will have felt that his league title vindicated the decision.
Despite several enjoyable years at Arsenal and only a couple at United – having left in 2015 for Fenerbahce and then Feyenoord, Van Persie may have dropped a hint over where his allegiance stands. When asked by BBC Sport to name his most talented team-mate from the Premier League, he offered twice as many United players to Arsenal.
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“[It is] So difficult to name one,” Van Persie said in 2021. “I would go for Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy.”
Upon joining United, Van Persie claimed that the “little boy inside” of him was “screaming for Man United” in an interview that further angered his former side’s fans. “It is always quite difficult to find a perfect match but I do feel that this is perfect for me,” he said in 2013.
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“Manchester United breathe football and if you look at all the players, the stadium and the manager, my choice was made very soon in my mind if you were basing it on those two clubs.
“I always listen to the little boy inside of me in these situations – when you have to make the harder decisions in life. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Man United.”
Van Persie later admitted to The High Performance Podcast that he regretted how he handled his Arsenal exit and “could have done something differently” in regards to his open letter to the Gunners’ fans.
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