While apologizing for an open letter he wrote to Arsenal fans when leaving Arsenal for Manchester United, Robin van Persie also revealed why things didn’t work out well with Arsenal.
Van Persie had spent eight years with the Gunners before leaving the Emirates Stadium in 2012, scoring 132 goals from 281 games in all competitions.
After signing United, Van Persie wrote an open letter, which was released in the newspaper, outlining the reasons for his divisive transfer to one of Arsenal’s biggest rivals, despite the backlash he faced when he decided to move to Old Trafford. This letter did not play out well with football fans.
Looking back, the Dutchman admitted that he was sorry for how he wanted to interact with the fans. Speaking to The High Performance Podcast, the 36-year-old said, “It wasn’t just between me and Arsene Wenger, of course there was more going on with Ivan [Gazidis], the way he acted and the way he treated the whole situation. If I look back at that whole situation, I have to look at myself as well, where I could have done better or could have done something differently. If I look back, that open letter I shouldn’t have done that.”
He reasons that all the complex reasons behind leaving Arsenal could never have been surmised in a short open letter- that writing it was a decision that backfired. “If I look back at that, in such a delicate, difficult situation of making a transfer after spending so much time at Arsenal, to make a decision to write an open letter to tell my truth in two pages was impossible. I think back then it went to the newspaper because there was not social media. So I did that, and that was because I was disappointed with Ivan and his behaviour.
“But I could not go into detail about what exactly back then, because it’s just impossible to tell the whole story behind it. And partly it was the fact that Arsenal did not offer me a new deal. So if I look back at that, I should have done that better.”
Van Persie scored 26 times for United in the season following his exit, helping United retain the Premier League trophy.