ManU Gets Their Man, Snatching Robin Van Persie From Arsenal For $35M
Robin van Persie will join ManU "in a projected £24M ($35M) deal" after Arsenal gave its "unsettled" star forward permission to move to Old Trafford, according to Oliver Kay of the LONDON TIMES. Van Persie had spent the last six weeks "agitating for a move" from Arsenal and he told Manager Arsène Wenger last week that he wanted to join United. Van Persie was given the OK to fly to Manchester Thursday, having been with the Holland squad for a friendly match in Belgium. He will undergo a medical examination and complete the formalities of "one of the most extraordinary transfers of the Premier League era." A four-year contract has already been agreed on, with Van Persie joining "on a basic wage of £160,000 ($251,000) a week, which could rise to £200,000 ($314,000) a week including bonuses and image rights" (LONDON TIMES, 8/16). In London, David Hytner wrote Wenger "reluctantly agreed" to the deal. Wenger "had done his best" to talk Van Persie into staying and "he was loth to sanction his release to United. But he has admitted defeat as Van Persie has been adamant he wants to leave" (GUARDIAN, 8/15). Also in London, Martin Hardy wrote ManU Manager Alex Ferguson "was last night celebrating a major transfer market victory over his biggest rivals" and called the move "the biggest coup of the summer transfer window so far and firmly re-establishes United's position in English football after surrendering their title to Manchester City in such dramatic circumstances last season" (INDEPENDENT, 8/16).
A STRONG MESSAGE: In the GUARDIAN's Sport Blog, Amy Lawrence wrote "this episode provides yet more evidence for those who slam Arsenal as a selling club. It pours fuel on to the debate about how ambitious they can ever wish to be with the self-sustaining model they believe in so vigorously. They know their place in football's economic table. They know under the current ownership, who believe in running a tight ship, that they cannot compete with the clubs who are bankrolled by oil." He continued: "They know that, despite Manchester United's controversial financial arrangements with the Glazers, Van Persie's new club make the most of their marketing potential in a way that they currently cannot" (GUARDIAN, 8/15). Also in London, Paul Wilson wrote that the deal "answers a couple of questions, the two big ones that have been worrying Manchester United supporters all summer. Yes, the club is still ambitious and does not plan to sit back and let Manchester City have everything their own way. And yes, the Glazers do have some money to spend and are willing to let Sir Alex Ferguson invest a considerable amount of it in a player who played like a dream last season but at the age of 29 may not have a significant resale value" (GUARDIAN, 8/15).