Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has elaborated on his controversial transfer from Arsenal in 2012, likening his Emirates Stadium exit to a husband separating from his wife.
The ex-Netherlands international sparked outrage among the north London club’s fanbase when he switched to Old Trafford for a fee of £22.5 million ($27.3m) after an eight-year spell with the Gunners.
Speaking to BT Sport in his new role as an on-screen pundit, the 36-year-old finally opened up on the details of the move, insisting that then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had failed to offer him a new contract.
However, the Dutchman’s claims are in direct contrast to an open letter he penned at the time of deal, in which he said that, after much deliberation, he had chosen not to extend his contract in the English capital.
Van Persie went on to play a starring role at United during his first season in the north-west, scoring 26 goals in 38 Premier League appearances as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men lifted yet another title.
“You can compare me being at Arsenal to being married,” said the former Feyenoord forward. “Me and my wife - Arsenal - were married for eight years.
“After eight years, my wife, possibly got a bit tired of me. Those are the facts.
“If Arsenal are not offering you a new deal... you can have different views on things but the fact is Arsenal never offered me a new deal.
“Then you have a look around. I was ambitious. I still wanted to win the league. That is life.
“I ended up having three options. One option abroad disappeared quickly. Then it was City or Manchester United.
“What people don't know, during the transfer, loads of things are happening behind the scenes. You have to take a lot on and make a choice based on what your targets are but also deal with the facts.
“One of the main facts was that Arsenal got tired of me. That was the starting point - they didn't offer me a new deal.
“We had loads of chats with Wenger, with [former Arsenal chief executive Ivan] Gazidis. They gave me no decision to make.”
These fresh claims from the Rotterdam-born goalscorer, who netted 50 goals in 102 appearances for his country, fly in the face of the statement he made in the wake of his move to Manchester.
On July 4, 2012, he wrote on his personal website: “My goal has been to win trophies with the team (Arsenal) and to bring the club back to its glory days.
“It has again become clear to me that we, in many aspects, disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.
“I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.”
During his eight-year stint under Wenger, Van Persie lifted the FA Cup in 2005 and finished as a runner-up in the Champions League final the following season.