ESPN FC Extra Time
Arsene Wenger would not be drawn on the possibility of Robin van Persie making a return to Arsenal, ahead of his side’s clash with Manchester United at Emirates Stadium.
Media reports suggesting Van Persie is unsettled at United have sparked speculation that the Netherlands striker could make what would be a remarkable return to the club he left in the summer of 2012.
When asked about the rumours at his prematch news conference on Tuesday, Wenger said: “I don’t think that’s an ideal subject for us to treat today. I think it is best we don’t talk about that at the moment.
“Robin van Persie is a great player. We know that. It doesn’t mean he has to score [against Arsenal on Wednesday]. It depends how we defend against him.”
Van Persie had won the Premier League in his debut campaign at Old Trafford but has found life tougher since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes, has come under fire, with United currently nine points behind fourth-placed Liverpool in the Premier League, but Wenger has insisted the former Everton boss is the right man to take the club forwards.
“You need time and patience,” he said. “You need to be in a strong club and I think he will be given time to do it. When a person has been at a club for such a long time, there is always a void is created when he goes. I believe that Moyes, if given time, will do that perfectly. They continue the same style of play.
“We consider them as a strong side and a team that has quality. Their season is difficult to judge. We consider we play against a good team and we want to beat them.”
Arsenal will be looking for a response to the shock 5-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday when they host United, but Wenger maintains his squad has the necessary strength to cope with a testing run of fixtures that will see them face Liverpool again in the FA Cup at the weekend before hosting European champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week.
“I don’t believe that on Saturday the players we missed in the transfer market would have saved us,” he said. “We would not have bought defenders. What we have to consider is how well we have done until now. We are in a fantastic position with this group of players, so let’s just come back to our normal level.”
Wenger reported no fresh injuries worries ahead of the match with United, but Thomas Vermaelen and Aaron Ramsey both remain unavailable.