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Thursday 16 May 2013

On this day: Van Persie becomes a Gunner

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall when a Dutch striker signed for Arsenal

  • Robin van Persie had been with Feyenoord since 2001

  • Van Persie scores his first League goal for the Gunners against Southampton

  • Van Persie scored 30 goals for Arsenal in his final season at the club

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day: 16 May 2004 - Robin van Persie becomes a Gunner

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looked to the Netherlands as he aimed to build on his side's extraordinary achievement of going through the entire campaign unbeaten.

He delved into the transfer market to sign striker Robin van Persie from Feyenoord and the then 20-year-old officially became an Arsenal player the day after the club celebrated becoming 'The Invincibles'.

"I'm delighted to be joining a great club like Arsenal; this is a dream come true for me," said Van Persie. "The squad is full of players at the top of their game, which they have proved by winning the English Premiership last Sunday.

"He has a great left foot and is a great passer of the ball with excellent vision"
Wenger on Van Persie

"I'm looking forward to meeting all my new team-mates in the summer and helping the club to challenge for more honours."

He won the UEFA Cup with Feyenoord in 2002 and in the season before his Arsenal move, Van Persie had scored six goals in 27 league appearances to help the club secure third place in the league.

“Robin is a great young talent and a fantastic signing for the club," said Wenger. "He has shown great potential at both club and under-21 international level and will help strengthen our squad considerably.

"He has a great left foot and is a great passer of the ball with excellent vision. He is a versatile player and is comfortable playing as a striker or on the wing."

Van Persie was the first Arsenal signing of that summer while fellow forwards Francis Jeffers, Nwankwo Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord moved on to pastures new.

He began his Arsenal career as back-up to Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp but still scored five League goals and came on with four minutes to go as the Gunners won the 2005 FA Cup final.

His efforts in the early years at Arsenal were hampered by injuries but in the 2011/12 season he played in every League fixture and topped the scoring charts with 30 goals. His achievement was honoured when he received the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year award in April last year.

Van Persie's performances attracted the attention of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the Dutchman moved to old Trafford on 17 August 2012 after scoring 96 goals in 194 League appearances for Arsenal.

His impact at Old Trafford was immediate and his 25 goals played a key role in helping United win back the Barclays Premier League trophy.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember Arsenal signing striker Robin van Persie