By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger has given Robin van Persie perhaps the highest praise a striker can ever receive – by making comparisons to Marco van Basten.
The latter was perhaps the greatest all-round forward the modern game has seen. The Dutchman led his country to success in Euro 88 and AC Milan to a clutch of honours two decades ago.
Van Persie is hardly a carbon copy but, Wenger argues, the 26-year-old has strong technical similarities.
“I think he’s a Van Basten type,” he said. “By which I mean he’s a technical centre forward. He has that classy first touch, sharp movement and a short back-lift.
“I always thought he was more a first striker than second striker and I must say I love him there because he has a brain. He can play others in and he can score. His movement is intelligent around the box and if we score a lot of goals a big part is down to him.
“Look at the one he scored [against Birmingham on Saturday]. You can say it was a bit lucky but you need a specialist soft touch to control the ball in that situation. With a normal player, the ball goes five yards away but with his second touch he puts it straight back on his left leg and scores.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 20 Oct 2009