Ian Wright says Robin van Persie had to leave Arsenal to win Premier League

Last Updated: 19/05/13 2:11pm

Ian Wright says Robin van Persie was totally justified in leaving Arsenal because he never had team-mates good enough to win the Premier League.

The Dutchman scored 37 goals in his final season in North London, but the club went without a trophy for the seventh straight season and he moved to Manchester United in the summer.

Van Persie once again ended this campaign as the Premier League's top scorer, but this time he also claimed a title-winners medal and Wright - who won the league with Arsenal in 1998 - told Goals on Sunday it's all down to the calibre of players in the United team compared to those in Arsene Wenger's squad.

"We're talking about eight years at Arsenal and he'd won nothing," said Wright of Van Persie, whose only major honour at Arsenal came as a substitute in the 2005 FA Cup Final.

"He's gone to Man United, a club that are winners and breed winners. He's a winner and he's got a Premier League trophy in his first season. All questions answered.

"He scored less goals for United and he's won the Premier League. At Arsenal I don't think he had the calibre of players around him with the mentality of winning to do that.

"He's proven that. He had the season he had at Arsenal and then had the same season at Man United and won the Premier League and that comes with the players he's got around him.

"The fact is, if you get the right players around someone like that then you are going to win the Premier League and that's what he's shown at Man United."


Arsenal signed Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski last summer, but Wright believes the perfect replacement for Van Persie was already at the club.

He says Theo Walcott is a dangerous centre-forward and has been frustrated by Wenger's insistence on playing the England international on the wing instead of through the middle.

"I've said it for years," Wright said.

"He's always been a good finisher. When you've got that kind of pace and you're running through the middle you are going to be hard to be stopped when you can finish with that kind of aplomb.

"I can't believe how long it's taken. I've been saying for years he should be playing down the centre. Wenger put him in the centre when he was in contract talks and he did well and then as soon as he signed the deal he put him back out wide. I don't understand it.

"I was delighted that he signed the new deal and hopefully Wenger will see that he is somebody who can score. You don't want him on the wing taking people on, getting doubled up and running into people.

"He's a centre-forward and if you teach him how to make the runs in and around the centre-halves you're not going to catch him because he's a good finisher.

"I would have him up front without a shadow of a doubt. He's the solution. I don't know what Wenger's thinking is in that respect, but for me it makes perfect sense for someone with an obvious amount of pace and finishing ability.

"You would not put Michael Owen on the right wing. Theo's maybe got some skills and can take people on, but he's not a winger."