The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that a phone call to the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could have been one of the reasons for ensuring that the Dutchman Robin van Persie ended up at Old Trafford rather than at Manchester City or Juventus. The 29-year-old was subject to transfer rumours linking him with Manchester United, Manchester City, and Juventus. However, it was United who managed to steal the signing in the last moment for a reported value of £ 24 million. Even more than the transfer value, it was a phone call to the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that helped smooth the deal according to Ferguson.

He said that with the advent of agents in football, the old art of speaking with managers has disappeared. Ferguson would rather prefer not being involved in the transfer negotiations unlike in previous years. He has recalled how he would be calling up the managerial counterparts in order to discuss his transfer targets including the transfer fees. It was one such famous call that brought the enigmatic Frenchman Cantona to the club in 1992. It has changed the face of Manchester United forever, and it was a similar action that helped bring van Persie to the club.

“It was the first time I’ve had to speak to a manager personally for a long while. When I first came down, the old way of doing things was I’d phone the manager to negotiate and the two chairmen or secretaries would get together to finalise it. Those days are gone now. Our chief executive David Gill does all that now but, in this situation, I think the phone call to Arsene helped,” said Ferguson. Ferguson has already had a nice return on his investment, as Robin van Persie has scored 11 goals in 14 appearances for the club this season.

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