A sight United fans became accustomed to; Robin van Persie scoring the winner
Ohh Robin van Persie. A booming chant that would have Old Trafford rocking, right from the start with that beautifully taken left footed strike against Fulham on his home debut right up to his last for the club, in the 3-1 victory over Burnley in February. The Dutchman has been a wonderful signing for Manchester United and his time at the club will be looked back on fondly by all who saw him in a United shirt. His debut season was one of the best I’ve ever seen for a player joining the club and although he would never reach the same heights again, his £24million move from Arsenal was well worth the investment.
As a deal with Turkish club Fenerbache looms large, it appears van Persie has played his final game for the club.
The scorer of 58 goals in 105 appearances for the club, van Persie is up there as one of the best strikers the club has had in the modern era. That debut season was spectacular. The hattrick against Southampton, the goal against Arsenal and that wonder strike against Aston Villa in the championship clinching game were all breath taking moments from the Dutchman. He became the focal point of United’s attack and was able to hold play up, spin defenders and to score goals from anywhere. It would be hard to argue that he was technically the best player at the club in that season.
The retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson obviously hit the club hard and Robin van Persie in particular. To go from working with the greatest manager the world has ever seen to the, reportedly, archaic training regime of new boss David Moyes frustrated the outspoken Dutchman and scoring the winner against old club Arsenal, was probably the stand out moment for United’s number 20 in 2013/14.
Reaching the heights or 2012/13, where he scored 26 goals in the league and was by far and away United’s best player, was always going to be a tough ask. There was a significant argument that he should have picked up the PFA Players player of the year award ahead of the two other stand out performers, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale, with the Welsh man picking up the award before departing to Madrid.
The Dutchman had an impressive World Cup finals, where he scored one of the most spectacular diving headers the tournament has ever seen, before impersonating a boozed up teenager, running up to his equally sozzled uncle at a wedding and embracing with a ridiculously embarrassing and uncool “high five”. However, his three goals in Brazil should have set him up for comeback season, but in reality – it never really got going under his fellow countryman.
His first goal of the season came in the barmy 5-3 defeat to Leicester City and of course, he picked up that ankle injury in the 2-1 defeat away at Swansea City. A stuttering, stalling final two seasons, hampered by injuries and strops, ensured that van Persie wouldn’t come close to that dazzlingly excellent first season. His goals, interesting and articulate interviews combined with his leadership and unbelievable natural technique, ensures he will go down as one of United’s top forwards in recent times.
Robin van Persie, a parting gift for Sir Alex Ferguson in one last title charge perhaps, but well worth the money. The scorer of great goals, the owner of a beautiful technique and he won the trophy that eluded him for so long and what his gifts deserved – the league title.