Morning SportsFlash:

Dirty Tackle

Arsene Wenger doesn’t understand why Robin Van Persie left Arsenal

Dirty Tackle

Wojciech Szczesny tries to prevent RVP from walking to Manchester. (Getty)

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.

Wenger writes:

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.

  • Ibrahimovic backs Mourinho but tightlipped on future

    Ibrahimovic backs Mourinho but tightlipped on future

    Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said on Wednesday that Jose Mourinho would be the manager to bring the Premier League title back to Manchester United, but he declined to comment whether he had received an offer to play at the club next season. … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 47 seconds ago
  • Russian firm cuts order for Swiss trains needed for 2018 World Cup

    By John Miller ZURICH (Reuters) - A Russian rail company has cut its order for Swiss trains that will help ferry visitors to the 2018 World Cup by more than half because of pressure from Western sanctions, low oil prices and the weak rouble, Swiss … More »

    Reuters - 37 minutes ago
  • Ancelotti hoping for some stability at Bayern Munich

    Carlo Ancelotti's next managerial assignment soon begins at Bayern Munich, and he still hasn't mastered German. Given how clubs casually dispose of managers, Ancelotti could be forgiven for focusing his studies on the Bavarian team's players rather … More »

    AP - Sports - 54 minutes ago
  • Rosicky determined not to let injuries wreck his career

    Rosicky determined not to let injuries wreck his career

    Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky has said he still has plenty to offer and is keen to continue playing, even though a series of long-term injuries limited the midfielder to just a few minutes of playing time last season. Despite his lack of game time, … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 17 minutes ago
  • Everton veteran Barry dismisses retirement talk

    Everton veteran Barry dismisses retirement talk

    Everton's veteran midfielder Gareth Barry has scotched any notion of imminent retirement, saying his commitment to top-level soccer has not waned as he looks ahead to a 20th campaign in the Premier League. The 35-year-old, Everton's player of the … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 20 minutes ago