Robin van Persie was never offered a deal extension prior to his leaving the Gunners to join their rival, Manchester United, he told BT Sport. The controversial move took place in 2012 and it cost the Red Devils £24 million.
The former Dutch forward spent eight years at the Emirates Stadium after joining from his hometown club Feyenoord for £2.75 million in May 2004. He fit in well into the team and met the club’s expectations performance-wise. In total, he scored 132 goals in 278 games for the Gunners over eight seasons.
In 2009, with a year on his contract, he signed a new deal with Arsenal, saying that his heart was with the club and that he could not imagine playing for anybody else. He was made the vice-captain in 2010, and after Cesc Fabregas left to join Barcelona in 2011 he became the captain. However, in 2012, he made what he obviously felt to be a smart move in his career, one that infuriated many of his fans: he decided to leave Arsenal and join one of the Gunners’ biggest rivals of those days, Manchester United.
In one of his 2013 interviews following van Persie’s departure, Arsenal’s former boss Arsene Wenger admitted that he did not offer the Dutchman a new deal because at that time he was already 29 years old, had had plenty of injuries, was not on his best form yet expected to sign a long-term deal with the club, something that Wegner obviously did not think would be a wise thing to do.
Perhaps with a lot more time on his hands these days, Van Persie is now reflecting on his controversial move and is trying to give the public the impression that the sole reason for his departure was the fact that the club had got tired of him. He compares his relationship to Arsenal to a marriage in which his wife, not him, was the one who was looking for a change. He admits that being ambitious and wanting to win the Premier League was a great factor in his decision-making, but emphasizes that the club were to blame:
“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. We had loads of chats with [Arsene] Wenger, with [Ivan] Gazidis. They gave me no decision to make.”