Manchester United announced on Wednesday the transfer of Arsenal superstar Robin van Persie to the Red Devils, subject to a medical. Terms of the deal were not announced but sources tell FOX Soccer the deal is in the range of $35million. The announcement was made on Manchester United's official website.
The 29-year-old Dutch forward had a career year with Arsenal last season, scoring 37 goals across all competitions. He is widely felt to have saved Arsenal’s season, with a series of clutch performances. And his departure – long anticipated – is seen as a major blow to the Gunners and a coup for the Red Devils.
United had long been van Persie’s preferred landing spot. The Gunners’ captain announced after the European Championships that he would not be extending his current deal with Arsenal in spite of the $70m of reinforcements that the club purchased in the summer transfer window. Those moves, including the signings of Santi Carloza and Lukas Podolski, were not enough to hold to their number one asset, much to Arsenal’s consternation.
The team’s relationship with their one-time captain had degenerated to the point that reports from London also suggested that van Persie and manager Arsene Wenger were no longer on speaking terms.
The move is a classic one for United, who have now made a bold statement that they intend to win the Premier League this coming season. In van Persie, United have gained a legitimate game-changing player and proven scorer. Moreover, it is another thumb in the eye from Ferguson to his old nemesis Wenger, a man he has enjoyed taunting over the past decade.
For Arsenal, it is a statement of a far less flattering kind: the Gunners have been stripped of some of their prime assets over the past two years; with Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and now van Persie departing Emirates for greener pastures.
Arsenal have been widely criticized for failing to keep their top talent and are under great pressure to win a title – any title – after seven long and barren seasons. The last silverware Arsenal hoisted was the 2005 FA Cup.
The only doubts over the Holland international are whether he has peaked and whether or not he can maintain his fitness – an issue that has dogged him in the past. Nonetheless, United are now expected to let Dimitar Berbatov leave and there will be added pressure on Mexican star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to perform.