Prior to Arsenal's visit to Old Trafford on Sunday, Arsene Wenger was once again prompted to discuss Robin van Persie, the golden goose he reluctantly gifted to Manchester United for £24 million. And once the topic was broached, Wenger insisted on fueling the pitifully romantic notion that footballers must carry a torch for their former clubs in the name of "#respect."
He said: "It will be strange to see him in a United shirt because for me he is an Arsenal man. I took him as a very, very young player and we came together through very difficult periods. He became a world class player and for me he is an Arsenal player."
So in the interest of helping Wenger come to terms with reality, here are all the signs that Van Persie is no longer an Arsenal man.
-After his first season as Arsenal captain, Robin van Persie publicly announced that he would not sign a new contract with the club. This corner Wenger into selling Van Persie to his oldest rival (both literally and figuratively), Sir Alex Ferguson, at a cut-rate price.
-He changed his default team in FIFA from Arsenal to Man United as soon as the deal was finalized.
-He didn't get Arsene Wenger anything for his birthday. Not even an e-card.
-In his first season with Man United, Van Persie played in all 38 Premier League matches, a feat he did not accomplish until his eighth and final season with Arsenal.
-He swapped shirts with Arsenal defender/saboteur/troll Andre Santos at halftime after scoring just three minutes into his first appearance against his former club.
-After helping Ferguson win his 13th Premier League title, he did not give his winner's medal to trophy deprived Arsene Wenger as a show of appreciation for all he had done for him. He was going to text "thinking of u..." later that night, but was too busy celebrating with his new friends.
-He still smiles.
-When Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil, he did not immediately apologize to Wenger for not believing in him and attempt to force a last-minute transfer back to north London.
-He didn't even add an umlaut to his name on the back of his Man United shirt the way Arsenal fans did on Twitter.
-Van Persie has now scored in each of the three matches he has played against Arsenal, including the only goal in Man United's 1-0 win on Sunday.
-When he scored that most recent goal against his old club, he did not mute his response. He celebrated as he would any other goal (the way any footballer should, regardless of his history with the opposing team).
-After the game, he hugged David Moyes even though Wenger was in the same building.
-He plays for Manchester United.
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