Robin van Persie – fabulous signing but is he necessary?

Author: Doron

Follow Doron on Twitter

After weeks of speculation it’s happened. United have broken their signings policy to make 29 year old Robin van Persie a Manchester United player (subject to a medical and personal terms being agreed). The move, whilst immensely pleasing, is slightly odd – going into the off-season period, I’m not sure many United fans would have felt that another striker was the priority. Nevertheless, last season’s Premier League top scorer is a United player.

More than anything, this is a statement of intent. The deadliest striker in the Premier League last year, the man who hit 30 league goals in a good but inconsistent team, is now a Man United player. It’s not like United necessarily needed more goals from upfront – Rooney’s fabulous haul of 27 league goals was only three shy of Robin’s and came and a better rate too. So why sign him?

The best players rarely become available and at a time when many top teams are pretty well stocked with strikers, demand for van Persie has been surprisingly low. Juventus were keen but off-pitch issues have meant that wasn’t a goer. It came down to us and City – they have numerous strikers on their books at the moment who they’re trying and failing to get rid of. Early in the saga it was thought that Robin had bought into the culture and history of United over City, maybe that gave us an edge. Surprisingly, Chelsea have never seriously been linked.

I was among the many who thought United weren’t clinical enough last year – odd considering it was a bumper season for goals and converting chances (yep, the figures do say that). However you feel that van Persie adds a scare factor – as if United weren’t dangerous enough, now you could be forgiven for thinking that the club’s strikers could bag 65+ league goals between them.

Talking of strikers, what does the signing mean for Welbeck and Hernandez in particular? One would expect Berbatov to leave and Macheda to go out on loan, but how will Danny and Javier get games? In 1998/99 United had four brilliant strikers but it was easy to rotate them as they were all pretty much on a par. Rooney is, in the eyes of Fergie, largely undroppable and you’d have to imagine it’ll be the same with Robin. Four quality strikers but no obvious signs that rotation will happen regularly. It’s possible that Welbeck might be used wide as we’ve seen in the past and Hernandez is excellent as an impact sub against tiring legs but will that be enough for those two?

Robin too is a bit of a mean player. I’ve never liked him and thought he was a bit of a [insert rude word]. However, United could probably do with some of that. It’s not clear why, but we’ve almost become a bit soft – maybe it was the double loss of Vidic and Fletcher last year with Rooney’s frustrations being calmed, but we’re not quite as imposing as we were. Robin will certainly add a bit of that, although I think I’d have preferred someone mean to come in central midfield rather than upfront.

I, like many, am pleased with the business we’ve done this summer – Kagawa and Powell are already looking like smart additions. Kagawa is of course best just behind a striker, so where does this leave Rooney and van Persie? Robin’s very well suited to playing the lone role but Rooney won’t want to miss out. Despite Kagawa doing ok in a two man central midfield against Hanover, he comes to life in the final third of the field – I hope this signing doesn’t mean that Kagawa’s role will be changed for the worst.

The gripe that many of us have is not against Robin as a player, but against the club making him the marquee signing. It’s not that we’re an ungrateful bunch, rather, I think many would have preferred the money was invested into other areas, notably central midfield. It feels increasingly rare for the club to have a large lump sum to invest in the playing squad and so maybe having it invested in more pressing areas of the squad would have been the ideal. Certainly, and it’s with the writing equivalent of a heavy-heart that I bring this up, but the IPO proposal states that spending in the years to come will not be on a par with this summer. A total of £40m net will be spent this summer whilst that might be halved in future summers.

If goals become a problem this season then I’ll be baffled. With Rooney, Nani, Welbeck, Valencia, Hernandez, Young, Kagawa, van Persie and others; you’d be hard-pushed to find such attacking quality in depth like that elsewhere. The addition of van Persie is a very positive move, yet the cynic in me can’t help but look at the players who’ll play further back on the pitch and wonder if the money could’ve been even better spent.

6 Comments on Robin van Persie – fabulous signing but is he necessary?

  1. What this signing does is massively decrease our reliance on Rooney. Imagine if, 2 games in, Rooney picked up a cruciate ligament injury – without someone like RvP we’d be screwed.

    My guess is, like Rooney and Berbatov, we’ll only rarely see them in the same team – if you think of the number of games we get through if we can challenge on 3 or 4 fronts, there’ll be plenty of chances for everyone.

    As for central midfield – Cleverley is looking pretty decent.

  2. At first I wasn’t that pleased about the signing to be honest. It felt pretty weird! Hesre a player that’s spent basically his whole footballing career at Arsenal, a player that is adored and worshuipped by almost every gooner…u can’t really blame me for not being too pleased about it. Let’s look at it this way…how would u fell if u were a gooner and afc signed wayne rooney??? A player worshipped by MUFC fans worldwide etc. Its a weird one. But after having a bit of time to think I have to say its a massive statement of intent by us and by Fergie! We deffo mean business this season! The thought of looking at a MUFC teamsheet containing both Rooney and Van Persie is well tasty! Bloody hell! Frightening! It can only mean one thing! And and that’s goals, goals and more goals. And at the end of the day, goals is what wins you ttiles and trophies! So I’ll have to get behind the lad! I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never wanted him at the club! I’ve never liked the guy, think he’s arrogant etc but fuck it, he’s now a United player and every United player and even Bebe now after his improved performances on tour gets my backing and support! Let’s av it RVP! Fire us to title #20 this coming season and win the hearts of all United supporter worldwide!

    220K a week?? Wow! BUT look at it this way. Look at the amount of casg the player will be bringing into the team! RVP shirt sales are going to go through the bloddy roof etc…

    And its been too long since we’ve signed a world beater! Well done Fergie! Legend

  3. It has to be said that RVP has the best left foot in world football today…besideds for Messi! Let’s just hope the lad can stay fit and score goals galore during his time at United! Its all about United for me! His talent is insane! I’ve often just thought to myself in the past watching RVP play – “wow, imagine this lad played for United” well, well, well. And we’ve got ourselves a specialist freekick taker from now on as well…something that’s been lacking in our game. Rooney is decent…as we saw last season and again a couple days ago but when RVP connects and bends a freekick, wow! Nothing on Beckham but there’s no doubt RVP can take a free kick! The only problem I see with signbing the player is what happens to the likes of Hernandez, Macheda and Berbatov now? Surely Berba has to be solled now?? He won’t even make the bench the way our attacking options are looking…!ut it looks as if the lad is going to stay…nobody wants him!? Madness! Just sell him Fergie! Lower the price and just sell him. Your killing the guy by keeping him! He’s just too good and too classy to be treated like this. As for Macheda, hmm will he go on loan? Permanently? I like the lad as. A footballer! I really do! But even he must be thinking his time is surely up!

    I’d love to see a CM come in as well! A world class one! BUT if we don’t sign one, I won’t be too disappointed! Carrick and TC23 started in midfield tonight and I’d be pretty pleased if those 2 start vs Everton on Monday! Then there’s Anderson who’s had a decent pre season to be fair, looks fresh and fit and scored a lovely solo goal last night so he’s back in the mix…Scholes is still bloddy quality! Watching him last night dominate yet another football game just never gets old does it! Love it! What a legend! He is still doing 1 hell of an effective job in our midfield! Giggs is still alright isn’t he? Then there’s Nick Powell who has a lot of potential, Fletch hopefully back on the mend and Petrucci who I really hope camn make it at United! What a talent he is…and Tunnicliffe as well! So let’s see what happens but for this season were alright in midfield imo.

    Bloody hell I love Manchester United! Its nights like these which you live for! Honestly! Lovely stuff! We ll cheerio fellas…that’s my night sorted then…I’m off to dream about RVP scoring shitloads of goals for MANCHESTER UNITED! GET IN!

  4. As a gooner, if you’re expecting Van persie to score more than a couple of goals from freekicks every year, you’re going to be disappointed. He’s not exactly great. I think he scored 1 vs Sunderland last season, none the season before, and maybe 4-5 in all the years before that.

  5. Van Persie is a phenomenal talent yes, but is he worth the cost and worth the risk. In pure footballing terms clearly not, especially with Rooney Welbeck Chicarito already there. But there’s nothing like a marquee signing to make the fanbase happy. But think of this, united has effectively added 60 million pounds to it’s debt through this Van Persie deal, he’s 29 years old it’s a big risk, I suspect this was in no small part done so the club could steal the media spotlight from City

  6. Agreed, Van Persie is a fantastic signing but is he necessary? My opinion would be no, he’s not.

    I’m assuming the plan for United, pre Van Persie signing at least, was for them to continue playing with an advanced striker supported by a deeper lying one – a la Welbeck and Rooney. With the early capture of Kagawa, a player who Fergie himself has stated is best deployed in the hole behind the striker, the intention could even have been to modify that system slightly into a lone striker supported by an advanced attacking midfielder. Either way, with Rooney, Chicharito, Welbeck and Kagawa I believe we were well covered in attack.

    Ok, you could argue that United would still have been heavily reliant on Rooney to provide world class quality up front, but at least there was world class quality in that position that we could rely on. Where we’re lacking world class talent is, I believe, in central midfield. Don’t get me wrong, United have a good depth in that position in terms of numbers. Carrick, Scholes, Anderson, Cleverly, Giggs and Fletcher (assuming the recent optimism does result in his return to the team) provides Fergie with plenty of options. What I believe the team are lacking is a world class box to box man. Someone who can be a first name on the teamsheet, a solid, determined, aggressive, quality player who can wrestle back control of a midfield when it gets away from us. A player in the mold of Yaya Toure, if such a thing exists other than Yaya himself.

    Another slight point of annoyance for me relating to Van Persie’s signing is, if you believe that the major reason why United didn’t end up getting Hazard, and also Moura for that matter, was because Fergie was not willing to spend the amount of money required to compete with Chelsea and PSG for their signings, why is it that £25 million for an injury prone 29 year old with one year remaining on his contract represents better business than £35 million for an immensely talented 21 year old (or 20 in Moura’s case) able to provide United with, potentially, 10 years worth of service?

    I know three games in to a premier league season is far too early to comment on the success of a new signing, but just look at the way Hazard has started his premier league career! I’d argue that United would have been better off with a player of that type, able to provide greater creativity and penetration in the final third rather than a second world class striker who is going to be reliant on largely existing United personnel to provide him with chances to score. I’m assuming Fergie could well have been of a similar opinion, otherwise why did he seem so insistent on bringing in that type of player….first going for Hazard and then Moura when Hazard ended up at Chelsea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.