Robin van Persie reveals Arsene Wenger’s ‘crucial’ words of advice at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger warned Robin van Persie that he would need to be patient at Arsenal
Arsene Wenger warned Robin van Persie that he would need to be patient at Arsenal (Getty Images)

Robin van Persie has revealed that some words of wisdom from Arsene Wenger were ‘crucial’ at the start of his Arsenal career.

The Dutch striker joined the Gunners at the age of 20 in a £3 million deal from Feyenoord in 2004.

Van Persie was competing for a place with Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp after arriving at Arsenal.

But Wenger warned Van Persie that he would need to accept a bit-part role for his first two seasons at Arsenal.

‘Sometimes you have the feeling you’re in the right place. Just to be able to train with the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Pires,’ Van Persie said in an interview with DAZN.

‘To compete in training with Campbell, Toure…. even then in training was a dream for me.

Robin Van Persie says Arsene Wenger's belief was key during his early stages at Arsenal
Robin Van Persie says Arsene Wenger’s belief was key during his early stages at Arsenal (Getty Images)

‘I could earn more at PSV, because the deal at Arsenal was my worst deal in my career but it didn’t matter because I believed Arsene and myself that I was at the right club.

‘Arsene told me, ‘Robin you’re not here to be a starter in next two seasons so take your time, believe the process and learn. Ask as many questions as you want. Express yourself and be open and patient’.

‘Those words were crucial to me, I believed him. I took my time, he said, ‘you’ll make your minutes in Carling Cup and FA Cup and the process will make you a starter at Arsenal’. And that’s exactly what happened.’

Van Persie also revealed that Arsenal’s former chief scout, Steve Rowley, played a major role in convincing Arsene Wenger to agree to his transfer from Feyenoord.

‘That was six months prior to when I actually went to Arsenal. In that period I wasn’t playing anymore, I was on the bench, I wasn’t happy. I was playing my games in the reserves, the second team, in that period,’ said Van Persie.

‘Actually we had to play against Ajax and it was a bad experience for me because the fans came to the pitch and it wasn’t very nice but actually from a bad day something really good happened because the chief scout of Arsenal, Steve Rowley, was there watching the game.

‘I had beer thrown at me, spit at me when I was taking a corner, it was a bad day.

‘But I kept my cool and I was mature, scored a goal, played really well but I was about to sign for PSV, I was close to PSV.

Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal at the age of 20 in 2004
Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal at the age of 20 in 2004 (Getty Images)

‘My dad and a couple of friends were there [at the game] went to get a beer close to the hotel in Amsterdam.

‘In the same hotel, Rowley was staying and he heard about the news – this is 100 per cent true this is not a fairytale – he went to have a beer at the bar and they sat next to each other. They started talking because they knew each other from before.

‘My dad said, ‘listen if you want something, if Arsenal want to buy Robin, you have to be quick because he’s about to sign for PSV in the next few days’.

‘Steve got on the phone to Arsene and Steve made sure he said, ‘listen I know it’s a gamble’, but I wasn’t expensive, I was like €4 million back then.

‘Steve told Arsene, ‘listen take the gamble, it’s on me. He’s good, he played in a difficult game and he’s ready for his chance’.

‘The following day I wasn’t on my way to Eindhoven but I booked my trip to London and within a couple of days I signed and everything was done.’

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