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 to 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 injuries in his eight years

at the club, Van Persie’s departure 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 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.

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.

”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

club.

”His movement, finishing and all-round ability are

outstanding.”

Van Persie’s departure provides further evidence that Arsenal

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

Chelsea.

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.