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17/08/2012 - 01:08 BST

Anyone But Manchester United – Arsene Wenger Wanted to Avoid Robin van Persie Landing at Old Trafford

Friday, 17th August, 2012

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that the club wanted to avoid selling Robin van Persie to a direct rival such as Manchester United, but insisted they were not left with any other choice.

Van Persie’s sale to the Red Devils was announced on Wednesday and the French tactician reacted to the move by saying that the Gunners tried their best to send the Dutchman abroad rather than to another Premier League outfit.

“We wanted to avoid it [the transfer] at all costs”, said Wenger to Telefoot.

“But we could not. Honestly, I’d have rather sold him abroad to a club like PSG for example, than to sell him to Manchester United”, added the Frenchman.

However, the Gunners boss also accepted that the Old Trafford outfit showed the most interest in Premier League’s top scorer last season, while foreign clubs did not chase the Dutchman intensely. Wenger also stressed that Manchester United appreciated the Dutch forward’s qualities as they have played against him in the Premier League.

“They have the advantage of having played against him and so they knew his class”, explained the 62-year-old.

“He’s an outstanding player in every sense.”

The North London club felt their hands were tied as far as the Dutch international’s transfer was concerned as the striker announced in July that he would not sign an extension to his contract, which was to expire next season.

Arsenal have now strengthened one of the side’s fiercest rivals however, in a move which has infuriated large sections of the Gunners support.

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