MANCHESTER (Sporting Alert) — Arsene Wenger has revealed that Robin van Persie turned down a big money offer from Manchester City to join Manchester United in the summer.
Van Persie, who received multiply offers from several top European clubs when deciding not to extend his contract with Arsenal opted for Manchester United in his quest to win trophies and Wenger says Manchester City offered him a bid pay day, which the striker rejected.
“It is true that Manchester City [were] interested in him and he has chosen to go to United,” the Arsenal boss said.
“Does it hurt more that he left for another English club? That is not exactly what I wished!”
Van Persie will come up against his former employers when Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday and the scoring machine has been backed to score against his former club.
The Dutchman has continued his healthy goalscoring form at the Red Devils since his move and Wenger isn’t surprised by his quick adjustment in Sir Alex Ferguson’s setup.
“In Manchester you have good players around him, and Robin is very intelligent around the box,” the Frenchman said.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Wenger has warned his defenders to remember how he punishes the oppositions during his time with the Gunners and urged his players to keep a watchful eye on the Holland international.
“Van Persie has a great quality in the fraction of a second that he understands where to go,” Wenger said on Arsenal official website at www.arsenal.com .
“And you can talk and talk and talk but defenders have to read that at the same time. His speed of analysing those little pockets around the box is absolutely exceptional.
“They [my defenders] know him as well because they have played against him in training. In the game it’s a question of timing, how quickly will they read it as well as he reads it?”
Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna are all in line for starting roles as Wenger looks to bring back a strong team after resting his stars in the Capital One Cup win over Reading in midweek.
Nani is in Manchester United squad for the game is he is expected to lose his place to Antonio Valencia, while Wayne Rooney and Van Persie will lead the attack.
David De Gea will return in goal, while Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra will all return to the side.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN, as well as live online stream on ESPN3.com.
Manchester United vs Arsenal Full Teams:
Manchester United (squad): De Gea, Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Buttner, Valencia, Nani, Anderson, Giggs, Scholes, Cleverley, Fletcher, Carrick, Young, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck, Van Persie.
Arsenal (squad): Mannone, Santos, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Sagna, Ramsey, Cazorla, Arteta, Wilshere, Podolski, Giroud, Martinez, Jenkinson, Walcott, Arshavin, Koscielny, Coquelin, Chamakh, Oxlade-Chamberlain.