ARSENE WENGER has described how he REJECTED Robin van Persie after the striker attempted an audacious Arsenal return.
Gunners fans were left irate at the Dutchman leaving for Manchester United in 2012.
With a year left on his contract, Van Persie forced the switch to Old Trafford, following in the footsteps of stars such as Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor to leave in search of glory elsewhere.
But having won the Premier League title in Manchester, he soon sought a return, according to Wenger.
In his new autobiography, as quoted by the Mail, the 70-year-old wrote: “In 2012, [van Persie] announced his intention not to extend his contract.
“All the big clubs were courting him. I sold him to Manchester United.
“The supporters were angry with me for this but we could not match the offer. I managed to negotiate his departure for £24million, which was a huge amount at the time for a player with a year left on his contract.
“I had only the interest of the club in mind.
“My relationship with Alex Ferguson and Manchester United had improved by then, but every transfer is a polite game of poker where you attempt to not give anything away.
“Van Persie had a fantastic first six months at Old Trafford: he put the team on track for the Premiership title and made it even more difficult for us.
He called me because he wanted to come back, but it was impossible.
“But after three years of the four that he signed for, he was injured and [Louis van Gaal] sold him to the Turkish club Fenerbahce.
“He called me because he wanted to come back, but it was impossible: he was at the end of his career and we were investing in young players.”
That summer, Wenger signed youngsters Ismael Bennacer, Mohamed Elneny, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Donyell Malen – although the majority of those players have found success elsewhere.
And Van Persie, 37, has since given his side of the story and insisted Arsenal were happy for him to leave.
In eight years at the club, he bagged 132 goals including 37 in the season before his exit.
He told BT Sport last year: “You have to take a lot on and make a choice based on what your targets are but also deal with the facts.
“One of the main facts was that Arsenal got tired of me. That was the starting point – they didn’t offer me a new deal.”