Dutch international striker Robin van Persie has completed his move from England’s
Manchester United to Turkey’s Fenerbahce on a three year deal.
The Istanbul giants have confirmed the move and is one of most significant
transfers by a Turkish Super Lig side in recent years.
An estimated 18,000 fans clad in the iconic navy blue and yellow stripes of
Fenerbahce turned out at its Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul to witness
van Persie’s signing ceremony, chanting his name and letting off flares.
The former Feyenoord and Arsenal player will be paid 4.9 million euros ($5.4m/£3.5m)
a year on his three-year contract, excluding match bonuses, Fenerbahce said
in a statement.
His transfer fee is reportedly 4.7 million euros (£3.4m, $5.2m) although
this has yet to be officially disclosed.
“I am now part of the Fenerbahce family,” van Persie told fans in
comments barely audible amid the deafening atmosphere in the stadium.
“I promise I will do everything in my power to make Fenerbahce win as
many trophies as possible to make these fans happy.”
Van Persie said at a news conference later that it was the “passion”
of Turkish football that had helped attract him to Istanbul.
“You have seen just now 17-18,000 fans, it’s unbelievable, it’s the first
time in my life I experienced anything like that.”
“I am very humbled,” he said.
Van Persie’s signing draws the curtain on three up-and-down years at Manchester
United which began in a blaze of promise but ended in injury problems and faltering
Van Persie, 31, made 105 appearances and scored 58 goals at Manchester United
after joining in August 2012 following his eight-year stint at Arsenal.
But last season was marred by an ankle ligament injury and rumours of tension
between himself and Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, who had guided van
Persie and his countrymen to third place in the World Cup finals.
Yet Van Persie said he had “no hard feelings” about the manner of
his exit from Old Trafford.
“It was a situation where I could see it coming and I could get used to
the idea (of leaving Manchester United) for quite a bit,” van Persie said.
“That is football.”
Fenerbahce — runners up to hated Istanbul rivals Galatasaray last season in
the championship — have gone on a spending spree in a bid to dominate the Super
Lig and be a real contender in Europe.
A huge priority will be making an impact in the Champions League, where they
will start in the third qualifying round.
Last week they signed Portuguese star Nani also from United for six million
euros (£4.26m, $6.7m) and in June bought Danish centre-back Simon Kjaer
from French side Lille.
Fenerbahce’s flurry of transfer market activity is being masterminded by its
well-respected new Italian sporting director Giuliano Terraneo who arrived in
May on a mission to make the club a European football force.
But the passion shown towards van Persie on his arrival is also indicative
of the pressure he will be under to prove to impatient fans he is still at the
top of his game and not a falling star.
“I am used to pressure, it only excites me to see the passion of the fans,”
“Of course they expect high performance from me. What I have just seen
is only the start.”
Once the Super Lig gets underway, Van Persie will lock horns with Dutch teammate
Wesley Sneijder who plays for Galatasaray.
“He is a very good guy, a friend and a colleague. I am looking forward
to the challenge,” said van Persie.
He also revealed that another Dutch national teammate, Dirk Kuyt, who left
Fenerbahce last year after a hugely successful spell, had also passed on to
him his own passion for the club.
Unlike many foreign players in Turkey, van Persie said he, his wife, young
son and daughter would make a priority of learning Turkish as a “first
“Hopefully by next year we can have a conversation in Turkish,” he