Former Arsenal forward Robin van Persie has revealed he tried to persuade Arsene Wenger to sign Giorgio Chiellini during his time at the Emirates Stadium.
The Dutchman spent eight years in north London – all of which were under the stewardship of Wenger – before departing for Manchester United 2012.
Having failed to pick up a Premier League winner’s medal in his eight years with the Gunners, Van Persie would achieve the feat in just his his first season at Old Trafford, with his 26 league goals firing Sir Alex Ferguson’s men to domestic glory.
Van Persie has revealed that during his time at the Emirates he tried to convince Wenger to sign Juventus centre-back Chiellini, after he endured a bruising encounter with the Italian while on international duty, and that he believes Arsenal’s fragile backline was the reason they could not compete for league titles.
“I played against him [Chiellini] a few times and that is real a winner. You saw that a few weeks ago against the Dutch national team,” the Dutchman said in a YouTube interview with Kaj Gorgels.
“He’s 36, but gives nine elbows smiling. He keeps smiling and doesn’t even get a yellow card. You need that kind of winners, killers, I thought we should have him.
“I came up with suggestions and names based on them, my own experiences. We were very good at the front and scored a lot, but your goalkeeper and your last line are the foundation of your team.
Following his departure from the Emirates in 2012, questions were raised regarding Van Persie’s relationship with Wenger. However, the retired frontman went on to add that he has no ill-feelings towards his former boss, and that they are still in contact with each other to this day.
“I still talk to him now and then,” he added. “He is a super intelligent man: professor of mathematics, professor of German, professor of English.
“Some people think I had a fight with Wenger in my last phase, but I never had a fight with the best man until today. Never thrown a door, none of that. Always respectful.”