Wenger: Van Persie is still an 'Arsenal man'

The Frenchman insists the Netherlands international still retains an affection for the club he left for Manchester United in a controversial £24 million transfer
Arsene Wenger admits he is yet to come to terms with seeing Robin van Persie in a Manchester United shirt and still considers the striker an "Arsenal man".

Van Persie scored over 100 goals for the Gunners over the course of seven injury interrupted years under Wenger’s tutelage before his controversial £24 million move to Old Trafford the summer before last.

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The Dutch international has been a revelation at United where his goals, including two against his former club, helped cement a 20th league title last season while he has begun this campaign in equally devastating form.

And although Van Persie will be looking to put a significant dent in Arsenal’s title ambitions on Sunday Wenger believes the 30-year-old still retains a deep affection for the club at which he made his name.

"It will be strange to see him in a United shirt because for me he is an Arsenal man,” Wenger told reporters. "I took him as a very, very young player and we came together through very difficult periods. He became a world-class player and for me he is an Arsenal player.

"Sometimes it (the move) is linked with age and Van Persie was 29 and more impatient. We had gone through years where we had to be tight financially in a way that was logical and normal without fading too much at the top level.

"Some players saw the big clubs buying world-name players and of course they lost a bit their confidence that we could compete with them.

"It is understandable but some players have always been consistent in the way they thought the club has to be run. But at some stage we can turn the corner as we have seen this season."