Date: 12th January 2013 at 10:47am
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Arsene Wenger has lifted the lid on some of the preamble leading up to Robin van Persie’s summer sale to Manchester United this summer. With one year left on his contract and van Persie publicly criticising the club, there was little recourse but to sell and United were the only club van Persie wanted to go to.

Though some of Wenger’s comments around the sale are obvious enough, there are still some rather frank admissions in there for the manager of the team to be uttering publicly.

As detailed by Amy Lawrence in today’s Guardian, Wenger starts by cryptically describing the phonecall from Alex Ferguson which set the ball rolling, ‘It was a very professional phone call, and there was more than one. I will tell you the rest another day.’

Wenger went on to explain how van Persie has developed into one of the world’s most accomplished players, ‘What he has is a high level of confidence in his qualities. He knows his game well,’ his former manager said.

‘He knows how to exploit his qualities and he is more patient than he was five or six years ago. Now he stays up front. You maybe won’t see him for 20 minutes. But he knows he will get a chance and use it.

‘Before he used to come back into midfield. He uses his killer instinct much better now. He is at the peak of his game, 29 going on 30. He uses all his qualities in a calm and intelligent way.’

However, it was Arsene’s answer to the question as to whether watching van Persie succeed at United hurts him that has raised eyebrows, ‘But what is painful is to see United so far in front of us,’ he said. ‘We knew when we sold him to United that would be the case.’

Obvious, maybe, but still a big confession from the manager and one that makes January’s thus far plodding approach to the transfer market look even more strange.