The pair played together throughout their time in the Emirates and the Spaniard had been showing signs of where his future might lie.
An obsession with strategies, team spirit and an Arsenal Christmas dinner helped convince Robin van Persie that Mikel Arteta would become a head coach.
Arteta was appointed Arsenal boss in December following the Gunners had endured a miserable last few weeks under Unai Emery and interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg, where they won only one of 13 matches in all competitions.
The Spaniard has already had a direct impact on Arsenal’s fortunes. They haven’t lost a game since a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on December 29 and maintained three successive victories last week over Newcastle United, Olympiacos and Everton.
Van Persie played Arteta in 2011-12 prior to the former striker left for Manchester United, but that season was enough to convince the former Netherlands superstar his team-mate was a director in the making.
Van Persie, talking courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, told Stats Play:”Yes, I did [see Arteta getting a supervisor ].
“I played with him, if I am right, for one year. I was the captain for this year; he was our vice-captain. He was always talking about approaches, how we should perform. He was really good in that way.
“He was an excellent player, but he had been always busy with the group, busy with the air, the entire team spirit thing was important for him. He encouraged us all to his home for a Christmas dinner! He was then behaving like a coach.”
Arteta spent three seasons as an assistant to Pep Guardiola in Manchester City after retiring from playing in 2016, and Van Persie doesn’t think he could have had better preparation for the Arsenal job.
“What I enjoy about Mikel is that nowbeing a mentor at Arsenal, a big plus is that he worked with Pep for a couple of years,” he said. “There is no greater college.
“He’s been studying from Pep in the previous 3 years as a trainer, he played Everton, he played for Arsenal, he had a wonderful career, and then had three years with Pep. That gives him an edge for a coach.
“With him, you’ve got the impression that, when you look at Arsenal today, it is going somewhere. He needs time, of course, to bring his doctrine to the club. He comes across well in interviews, before and after the match, and I believe the Arsenal fans and everybody listening have the feeling he’s going places.”
Arsenal sponsor Olympiacos in the next leg of the Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday, holding a 1-0 lead in the first leg in Greece.