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  1. #1
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    Default Manchester United set to complete deal for Arsenal’s Robin van Persie

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    Arsene Wenger has reluctantly agreed to sell Robin van Persie to Manchester United for £23m. Arsenal confirmed on Wednesday that a deal had been agreed between the clubs and said that the striker will travel to Manchester on Thursday for a medical and to agree personal terms.

    The clubs reopened negotiations over the striker on Tuesday night, after which it was merely a question of when Van Persie became a United player. Sir Alex Ferguson feels that the 29-year-old could be the signing to help United wrest the Premier League title back from Manchester City.

    Wenger had done his best to persuade Van Persie to stay and he was loth to sanction his release to United, who have been a rival to him during his time in England. But he has admitted defeat as Van Persie has been adamant that he wants to leave.

    Van Persie made his intentions plain with his statement on 4 July, when he said that he wanted to win trophies and he and the club “in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward”. He has forced the club’s hand by refusing to extend his contract which has less than 12 months to run. Arsenal have not been able to consider losing him as a Bosman free agent.

    The full statement from Arsenal said: “Arsenal Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Robin van Persie to Manchester United.

    “Van Persie will travel to Manchester on Thursday in order to agree personal terms and complete a medical ahead of the proposed move.”

    Arsenal have dug in to get their minimum £20m asking price. Before they departed for their pre-season tour of Asia on 21 July, to which Van Persie did not travel, the club had received bids from United, City and Juventus, none of which was for more than £15m.

    Ferguson complained last Wednesday that United were getting nowhere with Arsenal in their negotiations, although he added that they would “persevere and hope things come our way”. United returned to indicate that they would pay rather more than their initial £15m bid.

    On Wednesday United posted a statement on the website, saying: 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.”

    It has helped United that Van Persie has been eager to join them. He is excited at the prospect of playing with Wayne Rooney, who himself spoke last week of his admiration for 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.”

    Van Persie, moreover, buys heavily into United’s tradition and playing style whereas he is less keen on how City have spent lavishly to accumulate under the Abu Dhabi United Group. He was receptive to the idea of going to Juventus, although he had reservations about Serie A.

    Arsenal may find it slightly easier to have sold their star player this summer as they have already signed reinforcements. The strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud have arrived for a combined £24m while the attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla has followed for £12m.

    Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive, described the capture of Podolski as “critical” while Cazorla’s signing has created a buzz in the dressing room. Last summer, the club did not plan adequately for the departures of Cesc Fábregas and Samir Nasri and when they happened in August, they were forced into a late sweep of the market.

    Van Persie has trained with Arsenal this summer and he played as a substitute in Sunday’s 4-0 friendly win away to FC Koln, even taking the captain’s armband when he came on. His involvement polarised debate among the travelling fans.

    He was in Brussels on Wednesday night for Holland’s friendly against Belgium.

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