Istanbul move for van Persie

United striker set to join Fenerbahce, City can target big names with sanctions lifted

LONDON • Striker Robin van Persie is edging closer to a move to Fenerbahce after reaching an agreement in principle with the Turkish side yesterday.

It is understood that the Manchester United player's agent, Kees Vos, has been in Istanbul for the past two days, involved in negotiations to secure a contract over four years.

Former Fenerbahce winger Dirk Kuyt has reportedly been key in convincing van Persie to make the move. The former Liverpool player had spent three seasons in Istanbul winning the Super Lig, the Turkish Cup and Turkish Super Cup during his time.

Van Persie, who was Louis van Gaal's captain when the Dutchman coached the Netherlands at last summer's World Cup Finals in Brazil, has seen his stock plummet dramatically at United.

Even Colombian Radamel Falcao, who suffered a dismal campaign while on loan at United, kept van Persie out of the side.

TIME TO FLEX FINANCIAL MUSCLES

We dealt with the pinch last year from financial fair play, whether you agree with it or not. It's behind us and we are out of it now.

KHALDOON AL-MUBARAK,
Manchester City chairman

For the pivotal visit to Chelsea on April 18, Falcao started against Jose Mourinho's team and van Persie was an unused substitute.

For a player who fired United to their last championship in the 2012-13 season, his exit, if confirmed, will prove muted.

Since that season, van Persie has been injury-plagued and his goal return has fallen away.

Last season, he managed only 10 in all competitions for United.

Van Persie's United team-mate Nani is also on his way to Fenerbahce and will have a medical check with the club today.

If van Persie joins the winger in Istanbul, he will be the club's seventh signing of the summer.

While United contemplate losing van Persie, their city rivals Manchester City can start thinking about big-money signings, after Uefa lifted financial sanctions imposed on them and Paris Saint-Germain on Friday.

City will now be in a stronger position to raise their bid for Raheem Sterling closer to Liverpool's asking price of £50 million (S$105 million).

Manuel Pellegrini is also confident of being able to sign Kevin de Bruyne, who is likely to cost £35 million, despite Bundesliga club Wolfsburg wanting to offer their Belgium midfielder a new deal.

The City manager has also not given up hope of bringing in Paul Pogba, the Juventus midfielder.

That trio could cost City - who failed to put up a strong defence of their league title and ended up without a trophy last season - an estimated £150 million.

City accepted Uefa's punishment in May 2014 after having breached the rules for accruing cumulative losses of £149.5 million in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

They were permitted to have a total loss of £37.2 million.

The Uefa restrictions curtailed City's transfer spending to £49 million last summer and also effectively caused the club to freeze their wages as punishment for breaching the Financial Fair Play (FPP) regulations.

There was also a threat of further sanctions being levied.

"We dealt with the pinch last year from financial fair play, whether you agree with it or not.

"It's behind us and we are out of it now," City chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak said last month.

City and PSG will also be free to name a full 25-man squad for the Champions League.

Last season, they were forced to name a reduced line-up of 21 players, five of whom had to be home-grown players.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2015, with the headline 'ISTANBUL MOVE FOR VAN PERSIE'. Print Edition | Subscribe