Van Persie said early last month that both he and United were ‘evaluating his situation’ at Old Trafford, and the striker has since been linked with several clubs across Europe.
Besiktas are the latest club to express their interest in signing Van Persie, and Van Hooijdonk claims United have been sounding out interested parties for months.
“As early as January of this year, I received information from Turkey about Robin and Fenerbahce,” Van Hooijdonk told Voetbal International. “The minute this information came, you knew that United had sent people to test the water for a move.
“Agents and others were searching for big clubs who are prepared to pay the high fee involved for van Persie. Robin’s contract expires next year, so this is the moment when United can still get money for him.”
Although Van Persie is likely to know he is not in Louis van Gaal’s plans for the future, Van Hooijdonk believes the 31-year-old may be reluctant to move to Turkey.
He added: “Of course the money is good, life is good in Istanbul, but it is not a big football league in Europe we are talking about.
“Van Persie is in a difficult situation. To the outside world he says he is happy to stay and I can understand this. But Robin has the feeling that United want to get rid of him.
“A big club in England, Spain or Germany is a more attractive option. Until the player realises that behind his back the two clubs have done a big deal.
“That is the moment the pressure is put on. You are almost forced to go to the club where your employer has struck a deal. This is what I mean with games being played right now.”
Although Van Persie is yet to have been offered the chance to join a club in one of Europe’s major leagues, Van Hooijdonk believes his compatriot should look to get out of Old Trafford this summer to protect his place in the Netherlands side ahead of Euro 2016.
“There is a lot at stake right now for Robin,” Van Hooijdonk added. “He could be heading for his last Euro tournament in France next summer. So he needs to play a lot in the 10 months before the Euros.
“I have a feeling that his relationship with Louis van Gaal is not as good as it was when they were both having cosy chats looking at players in the stands in Holland.
“I would advise Robin to leave United this summer. All the signals are there that the club wants to sell him. So he has to get out on time.”