Arsene Wenger admits he preferred selling Robin van Persie to foreign club rather than rival

Updated: Aug 17, 2012, 15:14 PM IST

London: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he wanted to sell striker Robin Van Persie to a foreign club rather than a Premier League rival like Manchester United.

Wenger described Van Persie is a great striker, and added that his loss would leave a big void in the Arsenal team.

The fee from the Van Persie deal will be made available to Wenger but, having already spent 35 million pounds this summer on recruiting Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla, he will give his new signings their chance to impress before deciding whether to buy another striker.

“It’s sad because Van Persie played for us for eight years. He’s 29 now. It’s another bitter pill to swallow,” The Telegraph quoted Wenger, as saying during an interview with a French television channel.

“The economic part of it is the only satisfaction. But money doesn’t go out on the field and play, players do. It will give more chance to Giroud. When Van Persie is here, his name is the first on the team sheet, and the others follow. So, there’s a void to fill. It’s up to whoever wants to seize their chance,” he said.

Of the decision to sell a player to rivals Manchester United for the first time since becoming Arsenal manager in 1996, Wenger said: “That is the other negative point that we wanted to avoid at all costs, but we couldn’t. Honestly, I’d rather sell him abroad, to Paris St-Germain for example.”

“Manchester United know him and know his qualities. He’s an exceptional player in the pure sense of the term. I haven’t seen many in my life who have that quality in the first touch, are so technically gifted, and have that intelligence of movement in the final 20 metres,” he added.