Robin van Persie is set to complete a £24 million move to Manchester United on Thursday after Arsène Wenger sanctioned the sale of the Arsenal captain to Old Trafford following a day of haggling over the final terms of the transfer.
The Dutch forward, last season’s double Footballer of the Year, will fly from Brussels to Manchester this morning after being with the Holland squad for Wednesday night’s friendly against Belgium and will undergo a medical before signing a £220,000-a-week deal with Manchester United.
United have overcome opposition from neighbours Manchester City and Italian champions Juventus to sign the 29 year-old, who had made it clear to Arsenal that he would not be extending his contract at the club beyond its expiry next June.
Van Persie’s defection from the Emirates to Old Trafford, a rarely trodden path, will see him become the first direct transfer from Arsenal to United since England defender Viv Anderson completed a £250,000 move in 1987 to become Sir Alex Ferguson’s first signing as United manager.
United released a brief statement on Wednesday night to confirm the agreement between the two clubs. The statement said: “Manchester United is pleased to announce it has reached agreement with Arsenal Football Club for the transfer of Robin van Persie. The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms. A further announcement will be made in due course.”
The capture of Van Persie is regarded as a major coup by Ferguson and senior figures at Old Trafford, who regard the signing as a response to City’s recent dominance of the transfer market and a sign of the club’s ambition to recapture the Premier League title.
It is understood that Ferguson’s determination to sign Van Persie convinced the Dutchman that his future lay at Old Trafford, rather than at City, who failed to match Arsenal’s asking price or United’s salary offer.
Van Persie is also believed to have placed high importance on playing for a club steeped in tradition and with a long history of success and United, along with Barcelona, who failed to join the pursuit of the player, were the forward’s favoured options when he announced his decision not to extend his Arsenal contract.
Speaking last week, United forward Wayne Rooney admitted his excitement at the prospect of playing alongside Van Persie.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Rooney said. “He’s been amazing for Arsenal over many years. If he does come here, he would be a great addition to the squad.”
WELCOME TO MANCHESTER..!!
Copyright 2012 by Daily Telegraph