Arsene Wenger's latest Eurosport column is a glowing review of Robin van Persie brilliance as a footballer and a person. It's not the kind of thing you might expect a Premier League manager to write immediately after both being forced to sell the player in question to a major rival and watching that player instantly becomes that major rival's top scorer. But mixed in with all the superlatives and praise, Wenger also shares his unresolved feelings on the matter.
Now he's gone, don't ask the fans to understand what is not understandable. Even I do not understand, and I am deep at the heart of the decisions. You have to deal with it. That's life. We are here to help people to express their talents. A coach must have a positive influence on their players' lives.
I would have preferred Van Persie to sign for a club in a foreign country, in order to avoid playing against him several times per season, but it's a fine challenge for us to prove we can exist after such a move, to show we can score goals, play well and survive everything.
He puts a positive spin on the situation with those last lines, but its his dismissal of Van Persie's departure as something that is not understandable that's odd. Has Wenger already forgotten the statement from Van Persie himself that forced the move? In it, Van Persie clearly states "I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team" and "we [he and Wenger] in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward."
In Wenger's column, he describes Van Persie as a football obsessive who is on a "quest for perfection." So it would be reasonable to assume that a player on a quest for perfection and has stated his desire to win trophies would want to join a club that has won silverware more recently than seven years ago and has a manager who agrees with him on how a club should move forward.
Wenger says he doesn't understand even though he is "deep at the heart of the decisions." If it's true that he doesn't understand why his best players want to leave even when they put it in writing then that's very unsettling for Arsenal. But Arsene Wenger is, of course, a very smart man. He must know what is happening here, which means he just doesn't want to admit it and has somehow decided that portraying himself as confused is better than recognizing this indignity.
Anyway, Wenger is remaining positive (at least publicly) and it's easy to see why. While Man United had their attention on Van Persie, Wenger signed Own Goal away from them on a free transfer at the deadline. Plus Gervinho finally realized that Arsenal are paying to play football.