Robin van Persie joins Man United on 4-year deal

Robin van Persie became the latest big-name player to slip from

Arsenal’s grasp when the Netherlands striker completed his move to

Manchester United on a four-year deal on Friday.

Van Persie agreed personal terms and passed a medical

examination to complete a transfer that is believed to have cost

United about 24 million pounds ($38 million).

”I am looking forward to following in the footsteps of so many

great strikers, bringing my experience and playing my part to help

the team compete for the biggest trophies in the game,” Van Persie

said. ”I can’t wait to get started.”

While Arsenal will be happy to have recouped such a big fee for

a 29-year-old player who has had many injury problems in his eight

years at the club, Van Persie’s departure nevertheless deprives

manager Arsene Wenger of his captain and the league’s top scorer

last season with 30 goals.

In fact, Van Persie becomes the fifth Arsenal captain to leave

the club since 2004, after Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, William

Gallas and, in the preseason of 2011, Cesc Fabregas.

Van Persie’s future at Arsenal has looked bleak ever since he

issued a statement on his personal website last month saying he

disagreed with the direction the club was heading. The London team

hasn’t won a trophy since 2005, when it beat United on penalties to

capture the FA Cup.

”Let me make one thing clear, I don’t want things to get

twisted,” Van Persie said. ”From my side and Arsenal’s side now,

there are no hard feelings. It’s just certain elements are vital

for me and we had different views.”

The Netherlands international also spoke of his excitement at

playing alongside players such as Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and

Ryan Giggs.

”Of course I’d love to play with Wayne,” Van Persie said.

””I’ve said many times before he is a world-class player


”Scholes and Giggs are world class and have been proving it for

20 years now. That had a big impact (in my decision), definitely.

I’d like to say we are all in it together to achieve


Manchester City and Juventus initially showed interest in Van

Persie, but Ferguson maintained his pursuit of the Dutchman, who

could now make his debut against Everton in United’s Premier League

opener at Goodison Park on Monday.

Van Persie’s departure provides further evidence that Arsenal

can no longer compete with the likes of City, United and


In the past three years, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel

Adebayor and Kolo Toure have all joined big-spending City, which

won the English title last season. Fabregas left to join Barcelona,

widely seen as the best team in world football, and now a

disillusioned Van Persie has departed.

Wenger has already brought in Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski

in anticipation of Van Persie being sold, meaning there is no need

for the last-minute signings that happened on transfer deadline day

last August after the reluctant sales of Nasri and Fabregas.

Van Persie will join an attacking unit at Old Trafford that

already includes Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez.

Dimitar Berbatov is also still at United, but is likely to leave to

make way for Van Persie.

He is United’s third signing of the preseason, after Japan

playmaker Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund and midfielder Nick

Powell from English lower-league team Crewe Alexandra.

”Robin is a world-class striker with a proven record in England

and in European football,” United manager Alex Ferguson said.

”His talents need no introduction to our fans – he has scored a

number of goals against us in some classic battles with his former


”His movement, finishing and all-round ability are