Robin van Persie has revealed that he tried to convince Arsene Wenger to sign Giorgio Chiellini for Arsenal.
Van Persie spent eight years working under Wenger at Arsenal, but failed to win the Premier League in that time. They did, however, win one FA Cup and Community Shield together.
Arsenal finished in the top four in every year that van Persie played for them, but were lacking a missing ingredient to become title winners.
Now, reflecting on his career, the 37-year-old has revealed that he felt they needed to improve their defence to make that jump – and he wasn’t afraid to suggest that to his manager.
The Dutchman even gave Wenger an ideal target whom they should have signed – Juventus star Giorgio Chiellini.
“At a given moment I felt called upon to say what Arsenal could do better in order to win the league,” van Persie told Kaj Gorgels on YouTube.
“I felt we lacked a winning mentality, and asked Arsene Wenger to sign Giorgio Chiellini.
“I have played against him a few times, and he is a genuine winner. You could see that when he played against Holland a few weeks ago.
“He is 36 years old, but he’ll dish out nine elbows every game with a smile on his face. He’ll keep smiling and never get a yellow card.
“You need those types of winners and killers in your side. I felt we should get him.”
Defence wasn’t good enough to win titles
Chiellini was not the only player van Persie thought could make a difference at the Emirates Stadium. However, his wishes were never answered.
Van Persie maintains that Arsenal were good enough at his end of the pitch, but that wasn’t reflected at the back – which led him to think of players who could improve them.
“I came up with suggestions and names on the basis of my own experience,” he said. “We were very good up front, and scored lots of goals.
“But your goalkeeper and your defence are the basis of your team. To my mind ours were not at the level needed to truly compete for the title.”
Ultimately, van Persie left Arsenal for Manchester United in 2012 – where he was finally able to become a Premier League winner.
The move was, and remains, somewhat controversial, but the striker insists he was only motivated by the chance to win more titles.
“My departure from Arsenal to Manchester United is still a sensitive topic in England,” he added.
“I wanted to win, I just wanted to win. And I had to take a risk for that.”