It’s confirmed. Robin Van Persie is now a Manchester United player. Having undertaken the decision to begin fasting earlier this week after watching the Horizon documentary, Eat, Fast and Live Longer I’m now sitting here wondering whether my mind has slipped off into some food-deprived state of non-reality. Just why have United bought Robin Van Persie?
Little about the transfer makes sense. The Dutchman is no spring chicken and fast approaching 30 with an infamously poor injury record. Considering the struggles United have had to keep players fit of late, RVP’s arrival will do little to banish the voodoo curse hanging over the treatment table at Carrington.
Secondly, Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad is overstocked with attacking talent with Rooney, Welbeck, Hernandez and Berbatov, the victim of United’s last tilt at purchasing an “established” Premier League striker, taking up four forward spots in the first team. Add to this prospects such as the newly purchased and highly hyped Chilean Angelo Herinquez, Federico Macheda and Will Keane and United’s striking options look wastefully oversubscribed and busy.
Perhaps Van Persie might take up a deeper role, or attack from the flanks, moving through channels? Considering the signing of Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney’s potency in the hole the former looks unlikely. Similarly, the presence of Nani, Young and Valencia out wide makes the latter sound absurd, especially considering both Kagawa and Rooney also have a propensity to drift out to the left when roaming.
At the reported £24million, he also isn’t exactly “value” considering his injury tally and age. If United can afford to spend £24million on a luxury player why do the purse strings appear so tight when potential midfield transfers are probed? With an increase in his Arsenal wages too, RVP is far from a Glazernomics signing.
So what does this all mean for United, Sir Alex and their short-term future?
The potential for link-up play between Rooney, Van Persie, Kagawa and Welbeck is mouth watering, even before the idea of Cleverley, Anderson, Nani and co bursting through and cutting in to add more verticality and width. Perhaps Sir Alex has decided that the reckless brilliance of United’s flying start last is something to be encouraged if the players required stay available.
Maybe the signings already made have been misread too. If Kagawa plays as a creative central midfielder, ala a young Paul Scholes, with Nick Powell being used immediately in the first team then United’s midfield problem will have at least had bodies thrown at it. Cleverley, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs and Scholes may not be short of class and ability, but without a fully fit Darren Fletcher, they certainly lack bite. Kagawa and Powell will add more quality but the midfield still feels underpowered. Perhaps Anderson’s physical attributes will see him used more and more as a tackling shuttling type player rather than the rampaging attacker many believe he should have become.
Robin Van Persie is a fantastic footballer, and one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League, but his switch to Manchester United looks bizarre considering the issues within the squad. With Scholes and Giggs another year older, this season Cleverley, Kagawa and Powell must have an immediate impact, gelling with and deputising for Michael Carrick who continues to be United’s overworked and under-loved midfield mainstay.
What do you make of Robin Van Persie’s move to United? Can the midfield cope?