By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Arsene Wenger has explained that Benik Afobe did not get his chance at Arsenal because of competition from the likes of Robin van Persie.

The former Gunners youth product has begun his Bournemouth career in sensational fashion as he prepared to face his old club on the south coast on Saturday.

Striker Afobe, who joined Bournemouth from Wolves for £10million in January just 12 months after leaving Arsenal in a £1.8million deal, has scored three goals in just four matches for his new club.

Afobe, 22, was sent on loan six times by Arsenal between 2010 and 2015 before his Wolves move and did not play a single match for Arsene Wenger’s team.

When asked why it did not work out for Afobe at Emirates Stadium, Wenger said: “He was very young, he had big competition in front of him.

“We had Robin van Persie, players like that, so I gave him authorisation to go somewhere and play, which he did.

“Overall you educate people to influence their lives and give them success, that is what we do.

“When they do not manage to play for us, if they do it somewhere else, we are, of course, very happy for them.

“I believe Benik has done extremely well, even beyond expectations of many people and that’s great; that’s down to him and congratulations to him.”

Robin van Persie could be heading back to London

Striking figure: Van Persie blocked the path of Afobe during his Arsenal days

Speaking at his media briefing on Friday about he was planning to stop the in-form striker, Wenger said: “I think the best way to stop your opponent being dangerous is for us to have the ball and dominate the game, and being aware that Benik is quick, strong and has good movement in the box.

“We are used to facing these kind of strikers in the Premier League because in every single club there are top-quality strikers.”

Bournemouth, who were promoted to the top tier of English football last season, are 15th in the league with 28 points from 24 games.

Asked if they will remain in the top flight next term, Wenger replied: “Yes, I’ve always said that since the start of the season when I saw them play. They have enough substance in their game to stay up.”