Sir Alex Ferguson Praises Arsene Wenger's Poker Face During RVP Deal

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2012

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 29:   Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger gestures as he walks off with Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on April 29, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has marvelled at the negotiating prowess of his Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger.

With the deal to sign Robin van Persie now officially confirmed via Sky Sports, Ferguson provided a moment of wry humour when describing his dealings with Wenger during the whole saga. UK newspaper the Daily Mail picked up the quotes from United's press conference, which reveal how tough a negotiator Wenger can be.

The real gem is Ferguson's grudging and colourful praise for how Wenger had wrangled a hefty fee for a 29-year-old in the last year of his contract:

"He (Wenger) could run a poker school in Govan."

At a time when Arsenal have again been rocked by player defections on the eve of a new season, it is encouraging to learn that Wenger himself remains as formidable as ever. The club need him at his most defiant and determined if they are to prove wrong the doubters, who will signal van Persie's departure as the precursor to a disastrous campaign.

Ferguson revealed that the canny Arsenal manager ensured the Gunners got a great deal to let van Persie join a fierce rival:

"He got a great price but we are also happy the matter is concluded. From the starting position when we first started negotiating, Arsene has done well."

Wenger's insistence on adhering to the value he sets on players and not being held hostage by crazy demands is admirable. However, Arsenal have lost out on more than one player over the years due to apparently haggling over the minutiae of a deal.

Ferguson's witty analysis of negotiating with Wenger does perhaps hint at why so many deals involving Arsenal seem to be prolonged.

If Wenger intends to further boost his squad following van Persie's exit, he may not have time to indulge his habit of wringing the maximum from a deal. With only two weeks remaining in the transfer window, Arsenal must act fast if they plan on spending any of the bounty they received for van Persie.

Losing yet another star player has inevitably left Wenger exposed to another dose of criticism for everything from frugal business practice to the dreaded "lack of ambition."

However, what is clear is that Wenger remains as shrewd an operator as any when it comes to securing a great deal for his club.



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