Manchester United striker Robin van Persie appears set to join Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbahce this summer, with reports suggesting that his agent Kees Vos had been in Istanbul for two days discussing terms of the transfer. It would end a 10-year association in England for the Dutch international, and sees him exiting Old Trafford off the back of a miserable two years.
While the striker leaving Manchester United this summer was largely expected, his next destination is a surprise to many given the interest in Europe. A host of clubs from the Italian Serie A were keen on his signature, and Van Persie’s ageing limbs would surely suit the slower- paced division perfectly. But Fenerbahce’s financial muscle sees them capturing a talented striker who should still have many years left of a career.
Van Persie, 31, has endured high and lows at Manchester United since his £22M move from Arsenal back in 2012. He was outstanding in his debut campaign at Old Trafford, leading the Red Devils to the Premier League title, but has since fallen down the pecking order at the club, and now manager Louis van Gaal considers him surplus to requirements. He scored just three goals in 2015 for United, and endured another injury-hit campaign.
The former Arsenal hitman netted more league goals in his first season at Old Trafford than he has in the two following seasons combined, and his overall performances were a cause for concern. He failed to strike up a partnership with the equally disappointing Radamel Falcao under their new manager, and both strikers have now been let go.
Fenerbahce are embarking upon a big gamble, with reports suggesting the Turkish outfit are tying the injury-prone Van Persie down for four years. His record at Arsenal (274 games, 131 goals) and Manchester United (105 games, 58 goals) is impressive, but it’s believed his best days are now behind him. And given how much he’s struggled staying fit for a campaign, it’s unlikely he will be a regular by the end of his contract.
For a player who has shown such quality in his pomp, leaving Old Trafford for Fenerbahce is not the way he perhaps envisioned bowing out of the club, but Robin van Persie is now set for a new chapter in his career, and Manchester United are moving in a different direction. Why he was virtually unopposed to join Fenerbahce is a question many sides will be asking, but his high wage demands are likely to have been a factor.