Both clubs released statements on their websites on Wednesday saying personal terms still needed to be finalized and that a deal was subject to a medical examination.
No financial details were disclosed by either United or Arsenal, although British media has reported that the London club wanted 20 million pounds ($31.3 million) for its captain, who has one year left on his contract.
“Arsenal Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Robin van Persie to Manchester United,” the Arsenal statement said. “Van Persie will travel to Manchester on Thursday in order to agree personal terms and complete a medical ahead of the proposed move.”
The Dutchman, who joined from Feyenoord in 2004, was the Premier League’s top scorer last season with 30 goals. But he has refused to sign a new contract with Arsenal, saying he wasn’t happy with the direction the club was heading.
Arsenal hasn’t won a trophy since 2005 and has been unable to keep hold of its leading players in recent seasons, with midfielders Cesc Fabregas joining Barcelona and no fewer than four players have left for Premier League champion Manchester City – Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy – since 2009.
If United complete the signing of Van Persie, he will join a star-studded strikeforce that already includes England internationals Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, Mexico forward Javier Hernandez and former Bulgaria international Dimitar Berbatov.
Berbatov would be the player likely to make way for Van Persie, as United looks to regain the English title from City after missing out on goal difference last season.
“It is a great boost going into the new season,” said United midfielder Michael Carrick, speaking after playing in England’s 2-1 win over Italy in a friendly on Wednesday. “He is a world-class player and we have always been about bringing in players of that ability.
“Can it make the difference between second and first? There wasn’t much difference (last season) so hopefully we can go that step further.”
Since announcing on his personal website last month that he wouldn’t be signing a new contract with Arsenal, the 29-year-old Van Persie has also been linked with City and Juventus. But United has emerged in the past two weeks as the club most likely to come forward with a bid.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has already planned for a future without Van Persie by signing France striker Olivier Giroud and Germany forward Lukas Podolski in the close season.