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Aug 17, 2012

Robin van Persie, Man U ink 4-year deal

Dutch striker Robin van Persie on Friday completed his move to from Arsenal to Manchester United in a four-year deal, saying the "little boy" inside him "was screaming for Manchester United.

"In these situations, when you have to make a hard decision in your life, I always listen to that little boy inside me. What does he want?," said van Persie. "That boy was screaming for Manchester United.

"I am looking forward to following in the footsteps of so many great strikers, bringing my experience and playing my part to help the team compete for the biggest trophies in the game. I can't wait to get started," he said Friday.

United confirmed the club had agreed on a fee with Arsenal on Wednesday evening, and the Dutch striker underwent a successful medical exam on Thursday before the final elements of the transfer were wrapped up. The deal, reportedly worth 24 million pounds ($38 million), has been done in time for Van Persie to go straight into Sir Alex Ferguson's squad for Monday's opening Premier League clash at Everton (ESPN2, ESPNDeportes, 3 p.m. ET).

"Everyone knows me by now. I love football. I am quite principled in that perspective," said Van Persie. "It is always difficult to find the perfect match but I do feel this is the perfect match for me.

"Manchester United breathes football. If you look at all the players from Manchester United, the stadium and manager, my choice was made very soon."

Van Persie's persistence helped force through the transfer Ferguson never thought was possible, the first player Arsene Wenger had ever sold to United.

"We never thought we could get Van Persie," said the Red Devils chief. "If you go back six months ago, I couldn't see us getting him.I thought Arsenal are not going to let him go. When I read he had refused a new contract, that is when we acted. It has been a long haul."

Even so, it took a personal intervention from Ferguson to get the deal moving last week after it had apparently stalled permanently. Wenger had made it clear he did not want to sell last season's Golden Boot winner to a rival club.

"I can't elaborate but it was amicable," said Ferguson. "Arsene knew the boy wanted to leave. He knew he wanted to join us. That made it a bit easier but not in terms of trying to reduce the fee.

"He (Wenger) could run a poker school in Govan. He got a great price but we are also happy the matter is concluded. From the starting position when we first started negotiating, Arsene has done well.

"Robin is a world-class striker with a proven record in England and in European football," Ferguson said. "His talents need no introduction to our fans -- he has scored a number of goals against us in some classic battles with his former club.

"His movement, finishing and all-round ability are outstanding."

The news brings to an end one of the longest-running transfer sagas of the summer. Ferguson has fought off competition from Manchester City and Juventus to land Van Persie.

Even a week ago, Wenger had not given up hope of persuading the 29-year-old to stay. Van Persie was booed by Arsenal fans at a pre-season game in Germany on Sunday.

Van Persie's departure provides further evidence that Arsenal can no longer compete with the likes of Manchester City, United and Chelsea.

Van Persie will join an attacking unit at Old Trafford that already includes Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez. Dimitar Berbatov is also still at United, but is likely to leave to make way for Van Persie.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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