So Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that his eyes are on Robin Van Persie. He wants to sign the Dutchman but the deal has hit a snag because Arsenal do not want to sell their target man on the cheap. He gave them 38 goals and 10 assists in all competitions last season and it would be crazy to let such a player go. Unless Arsenal receive an offer they can’t refuse and Van Persie remains intent on not signing a new contract.
For Manchester United, it would be a huge signing and another response to the “we need big name signings” calls by a lot of the Red Devil faithful. However, it is important to take a pause and put all of the issues surrounding this move in proper perspective.
First, from a purely objective point of view, ( and I state this because I am a Man United fan myself and as a fan, I support the club’s quest to buy players and improve the squad), signing RVP could turn out to be a decision that feels and looks unsure. He has had one stellar season in his 8 or so years in the English Premier League. Of course, you must admit that about 3 to 5 of those years of that period were spent growing and developing his skill as the likes of Henry and Bergkamp were in their prime at Arsenal. Van Persie has had more than enough time to grab the limelight and , to a large extent, he has not done so. However, he became a “man” in footballing terms last season but can he replicate the same form?
Secondly, RVP’s age makes the move look a tad unwise from a business point of view. He is 29 years and he will therefore not have a high resale value after, say, 3 years. This makes no sense especially when you consider the transfer fees being thrown about in the various media reports. In addition, RVP’s injury record casts a little gloom over the wisdom of the deal. Of course, he went virtually went injury-free last season and that gave him his high scoring return but this deal cannot be done without casting strong glances of this injury record. It will set the team back as it happened in the Owen Hargreaves episode. The team had to bear his knee problems but only got 39 appearances for the estimated £17 million paid to Bayern Munich in 2007.
Thirdly, what would the signing of RVP mean for the likes of Hernandez, Welbeck and even Berbatov? Welbeck and Hernandez have made good cases for themselves over the last 2 seasons and they are building themselves up for brilliant careers at Man United. Why disrupt that with the introduction of Van Persie? Certainly, the Dutchman is top quality but his presence will mean that the playing time offered to Hernandez and Webeck will be limited. Some might counter this argument by saying that the season is long and Van Persie cannot feature in all the games. But both Welbeck and Hernandez have gone past learning from the bench. They are full internationals with European Championship and CONCACAF Gold Cup experience under their belts. To further spice things, there is the undecided situation of Dimitar Berbatov. He was frozen out of the team for the greater part of last season and this looks like continuing in the coming season. Surely, adding RVP to all of that would cause a lot of disturbances in the dressing room.
One cannot overlook Van Persie’s current form as a world-class player. He is a brilliant goal scorer and a committed team player. He is someone who will help Rooney and the team in terms of goal scoring. Rooney has had to bear that sole responsibility of a huge goal haul ever since Ronaldo left for Real Madrid and Van Persie can certainly score goals.
However, the gaffer must take a second to look at these possible implications for the team and find ways of addressing them. There is an English title to be won and a continent to conquer. Besides, if we have the money, why not spend it elsewhere? Central midfield and fullback are good places to start, Sir Alex. Think about it.