The World Cup winner left Marseille for Highbury yesterday 17 years ago.
Pires told arsenal.com: "He called me one day, so I was really surprised.
"It was very impressive to talk with Arsene Wenger because I'd known him since a long, long time and he said 'Robert, I know you since you used to play for Metz and now you play for Olympique Marseille, but next season, I need you'.
"I asked 'why do you need me?' He said because Marc Overmars left to Barcelona with Emmanuel Petit, so I think you can replace Overmars on the left flank and I said 'yes, okay, no problem'.
"For me, at this moment, I think it was a very good chance and a very good opportunity to play in another country, especially in the UK. Of course, Arsenal is a great club in England so for me it was a very good decision.