Robin van Persie reveals who convinced Arsene Wenger to sign him for Arsenal

Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal in a £3.5m deal (Picture: Getty)
Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal in a £3.5m deal (Picture: Getty)

Robin van Persie has revealed Arsenal head scout Steve Rowley convinced Arsene Wenger to sign him for the club within a 24-hour window.

The Dutchman was attracting interest from across Europe due to his performances with Feyenoord but there was also question marks over his temperament with scouts noting his fiery temper.

Wenger was seeking a long-term replacement for Dennis Bergkamp and head scout Rowley was dispatched to watch van Persie in Feyenoord’s clash against rivals Ajax.

Sparks flared in the clash in Amsterdam with Van Persie being the subject of a torrent of abuse from supporters, who threw beer bottles and other objects at him when he took set pieces.

However, Van Persie refused to react to the supporters and instead scored a vital goal against the Dutch giants which impressed the onwatching Rowley.

Van Persie spent eight years at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)
Van Persie spent eight years at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

The only problem was that Van Persie had already verbally agreed to join PSV Eindhoven and the Dutchman has revealed that a fortunate meeting at a hotel allowed Rowley to convince Wenger to complete a deal for him in the next 24 hours.

Asked about when he first heard of Arsenal’s interest, Van Persie told Premier League productions: ‘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.

‘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.

Dutch Eredivisie - Ajax v Feyenoord
Van Persie impressed against Ajax (Picture: Getty)

‘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% 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 4m Euro 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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