Sunday 4 December 2016

'I could see Manchester United exit coming' - Robin van Persie joins Fenerbahce

Published 14/07/2015 | 17:47

Netherlands striker Robin van Persie walks during his contract-signing ceremony with Turkish club Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie walks during his contract-signing ceremony with Turkish club Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Supporters of Turkish soccer club Fenerbahce attend the contract-signing ceremony of Netherlands striker Robin van Persie with Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie poses for the media during his contract-signing ceremony with Turkish club Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie poses for the media during his contract-signing ceremony with Turkish club Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie (R) poses for the media during his contract-signing ceremony with Turkish club Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie poses for the media during his contract-signing ceremony with Turkish club Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie greets supporters during his contract-signing ceremony with Turkish club Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie greets supporters during his contract-signing ceremony with Turkish club Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Robin van Persie has been unveiled as a Fenerbahce player on Tuesday afternoon at a signing ceremony for his move from Manchester United.

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The 31-year-old arrived in Istanbul over the weekend to finalise the transfer and was introduced at the club's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium where he signed forms in front of thousands of fans.

"I'm humbled to see that so many great fans came today to greet me and to welcome me to your family," the Dutchman told the crowd.

"I promise you one thing; I will do everything in my power to help Fenerbahce win as many trophies to make you guys happy because if I see today, I can only imagine how it would be if you win the league what kind of party that would be.

"I hope I can share that with you guys. Let's do it together."

Van Persie will depart Old Trafford after scoring 58 goals over three years, with 30 of those coming during his maiden campaign in 2012-13 when he fired United to an unprecedented 20th top-flight title in Sir Alex Ferguson's last season in charge.

He was the Barclays Premier League's leading marksman in back-to-back seasons between 2011 and 2013, swapping Arsenal for United in-between in a £24million move.

The Dutchman was seen as the missing piece for United when he joined in 2012 and his goal-laden first term at Old Trafford helped provide Ferguson with a fitting send-off.

However, Van Persie's role gradually diminished under first David Moyes and then his old Holland manager Louis van Gaal as a series of niggling injuries hampered him.

And, having signed Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin in recent days, Van Gaal has continued to shake up his squad by offloading the man who was his captain when he took Holland to the World Cup semi-finals last summer.

Van Persie's exit appears to leave Van Gaal light of options in attack, with only Rooney, James Wilson and the injured Javier Hernandez - out with a broken collarbone and not in the pre-season squad out in the United States - in the squad.

Van Persie will link up with his former United team-mate Luis Nani, who joined Fenerbahce earlier this summer, in Turkey while Raul Meireles is also in the Istanbul club's ranks.

The finer points of Van Persie's transfer are yet to be confirmed but he hinted he had agreed to terms on a three-year contract at a press conference.

He also confirmed he spoke with other clubs about a move and that while he knew the writing had been on the wall for his United future, he held no grudge against the club.

Van Persie was asked if there was any parting message from Van Gaal but only disclosed his farewell meeting with his team-mates before praising United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for his role in pushing the deal through.

"It was a situation where I could see it coming, if I'm really honest," he said of his Old Trafford exit.

"I could get used to the idea for quite a bit. It was not a situation where it was just happening from day to day so I could get used to the situation - that is football.

"From my side, there are no hard feelings with how it went. It's part of football, it's part of life. I had a good moment with the players the day before I came to Istanbul so that was special. Then you see that everyone really appreciated my time there, that was important for me.

"I highly appreciate the work of Ed Woodward, the CEO of Manchester United. The way he dealt with this transfer is from a high level, it's very classy, he proved he's a true gentlemen in the way he dealt with the whole situation. Ed, if you're listening, thank you!"

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