In the past few days, Arsenal’s talismanic striker Robin van Persie has been strongly linked with Manchester United. The Mirror claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson has told close friends that he’s confident of getting his man, other major publications and media outlets confirmed that Manchester United have indeed bid for the Dutchman and Sir Alex Ferguson also took to the official website to confirm that Manchester United’s interest is real, however is his signature really necessary?
Robin van Persie is a world class footballer at the peak of his powers. Signing such a player has become somewhat a rarity at Manchester United; the last being wantaway Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov, and before that, the signings of Rio Ferdinand and Juan Sebastian Veron 10 and 11 years ago. 37 goals last season confirmed that Robin van Persie is currently one of the most prolific strikers in world football. At a price of around £20million, Robin van Persie will surely be one of the bargains of the summer.
The prospect of a Rooney and van Persie partnership is itself mouthwatering. Having last seasons two top Premier League goalscorers and two of the most prolific strikers in world football would be unparallelled to any team in Europe. Manchester United’s attack would be up there with the best of them. Question marks will be put as to how the two attackers as well as other strikers Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and attacking midfield new boy Shinji Kagawa will be accomodated however it’s hard to believe that Sir Alex Ferguson would be in the race to sign Robin van Persie if he didn’t have a plan to give each player a sufficient amount of football as to not hinder their progress.
Looking at the potential signing of Robin van Persie from another angle, the goalscoring burden on Wayne Rooney has been heavy in recent seasons. Last season Wayne Rooney scored 34 goals. Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez were 2nd top goalscorers with a return of just 12 goals each for the season. Having lost the Premier League title on goal difference, maybe this is a position that Sir Alex Ferguson feels strongly about strengthening; both in depth and reliability. For Manchester United this could be an important signing. Even in the absence of Wayne Rooney from matchday squads, if Robin van Persie was to be a Manchester United player, there would be a certain confidence going into each game that we can win.
Despite being 28 years old, having never really relied on his pace, Robin van Persie should have a very good 3 or 4 years with the sort of form he has been showing over the past 18 months. Manchester United had proclaimed that due to his age, Dimitar Berbatov would be the last signing of his kind, but with Sir Alex Ferguson confirming our interest in the Dutchman it’s clear that his age is not off-putting. Injuries have been a concern throughout van Persie’s time at Arsenal but with the goalscoring burden potentially being shared by two top strikers, keeping the Dutchman fresh shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
There haven’t been any substantial additions to Manchester United’s midfield since the summer of 2007, 5 years ago, when both Anderson and Owen Hargreaves joined the club. Hargreaves has since left the club and Anderson is yet to fulfill the promise he had shown when he joined the club as a teenager. Tom Cleverley’s first season as a regular saw him ruled out through ankle injury.
Robin van Persie Fact File
- Robin van Persie was born 6 August 1983
- He signed for Feyenoord, his hometown club, age 15 with whom he won the UEFA Cup in 2002
- He moved to Arsenal in 2004 for £2.75m
- He recently declared he would not extend his contract with Arsenal which has one year left to run on it
Darren Fletcher had also been ruled out through illness and there is still no definite date for a return to football. Manchester United last season had to rely on Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes who returned from retirement in the January window. This is the area which really needs to be improved both in depth and quality. With funds being limited in recent seasons it could be plausible to believe that signing Robin van Persie could mean that signing a top class central midfielder may not happen this summer. Is this a compromise that we could accept making?
Regardless, I still feel that the signing of Robin van Persie would be an important one for our club. Being a footballer of world class talent, a player like Robin does not become available on the transfer market too often. He is a player that will for sure improve whichever team he joins, and I’m hopeful the team he will be improving this summer is Manchester United.