As the Gunners prepare to face their former star at Old Trafford on Saturday, the manager reveals that the Dutchman turned down a lucrative move to United's local rivals
The Dutchman moved to Old Trafford for £24 million during the summer and has since notched nine goals in 12 appearances but his former manager revealed that the Premier League champions offered him more money, a reported £300,000-a-week salary package.
"It is true that Manchester City [were] interested in him and he has chosen to go to United," Wenger disclosed, as quoted by The Independent.
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"Does it hurt more that he left for another English club? That is not exactly what I wished!"
The Frenchman managed Van Persie for eight years at the Gunners and is hopeful that his experience of working with the striker has been helpful, knowing the task that awaits his defenders in trying to keep the Dutchman quiet when the two teams meet on Saturday.
"Van Persie has a great quality in the fraction of a second that he understands where to go," Wenger observed, "and you can 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 know him 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.
"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."
|"You cannot play with Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta and say: 'Look, we only defend'"
- Arsene Wenger
Wenger dismissed suggestions that Arsenal will go to Old Trafford with a defensive mindset as they look to avoid the 8-2 drubbing that took place in last season's corresponding fixture, insisting: "I want to do what gives us the best chance to win games.
"When you make teams, you cannot go against nature. You cannot play with Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta and say: 'Look, we only defend'. They would say: 'What are we doing on the pitch, then?'
"Somewhere, your style is dictated by the players you pick. Sometimes, when you don't win, you have to learn not to lose.
"So you give a bit more security to the team and I have done that as well. But still our basic philosophy is to attack."