Robin Van Persie: 5 Changes Manchester United Would Make If They Signed RvP

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIJuly 23, 2012

Robin Van Persie: 5 Changes Manchester United Would Make If They Signed RvP

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    Should Manchester United sign Robin van Persie from Arsenal, a whole raft of changes could be seen at Old Trafford.

    United boss Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed his side have made a bid for the 28-year-old striker, telling the club's in-house TV station MUTV: "Obviously Arsenal have given out the fact that we’ve made a bid for him."

    The reported offer is said to be in the region of anywhere from £13 million up to £20 million, depending on which newspaper you believe.

    Despite the fact Van Persie was the Premier League's top scorer last season, a lot of tinkering would have to be done in the Red Devils team to accommodate the Dutchman, while the player himself might also have to change his style.

    And just when we thought enough changes would be made with the signing of Shinji Kagawa, even more switching around will be done if Van Persie arrives at the club.

    Here are five changes Manchester United would invariably make if they signed the striker.

Make Robin van Persie a Ruud Van Nistelrooy

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    Manchester United already have enough strikers who drop between the lines in search of the ball.

    Dimitar Berbatov may be departing, but Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck are also such forwards with that kind of style.

    So if United sign Robin van Persie—a player who last season would also pick up the ball between the opponents' defensive and midfield lines—Sir Alex Ferguson will no doubt change him into a much more typical Dutch forward, i.e. a poacher.

    It's clear that United's lack of a different type of striker cost them last season, with no option waiting in the penalty area before the wingers put a cross in.

    While Van Persie did drop deep for the Gunners, he also played on the last shoulder, especially when partnered with Thierry Henry up-front.

    That sort of poaching play, combined with Van Persie's world-class finishing ability and the creativity from Shinji Kagawa, Paul Scholes and the wingers, means Sir Alex could see the Gunners' forward as United's new Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

    And considering Van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals in 219 games for the Red Devils, if that's what Sir Alex has in mind for his team, an assault on the Premier League title is a big possibility.

    It would also give the Red Devils a much needed balance up-front, having two deep-lying forwards in Rooney and Welbeck, and two poachers in Van Persie and Javier Hernandez.

Keep 4-4-2

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    If Manchester United sign Robin Van Persie, they'll have four established strikers—five if they can't offload Dimitar Berbatov.

    Therefore, a 4-3-3 formation will waste two if not three of those forwards. So it seems United will be keeping the 4-4-2 set-up. 

    Of course, they may not start with a 4-4-2, but throughout a match, Sir Alex could switch things up and pair Wayne Rooney with Van Persie.

    With a plethora of attacking options on the bench, it's a formation that could see a starting role when Shinji Kagawa, for example, is unavailable for selection.

    While 4-3-3 will be king next season, with United's lack of a trequartista a problem last term, 4-4-2 is still set to make a good number of appearances.

    And in an another clever move by the manager, such tactical flexibility could make United a harder unit for the opposition to predict.

Tom Cleverley the New Paul Scholes?

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    If Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa all take to the field together this season, then other advanced midfielders will invariably be pushed back.

    Sir Alex Ferguson has already said Nick Powell's future will be central midfield, and it seems Tom Cleverley is also set to play further down the park.

    As Paul Scholes surely has only one more year left in him, it appears the United boss is strengthening other areas with the answer to Scholes' replacement already in the team.

    Cleverley looks set to play a deeper role this season alongside Scholes or Michael Carrick.

    After all, Shinji Kagawa has Cleverley's assumed position covered, while far more established stars like Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and Ryan Giggs have also played that role.

    But in the deeper central midfield slot, besides Scholes and Carrick, an unconvincing Anderson, a vastly inexperienced Nick Powell and an unfit Darren Fletcher are the only competition.

    So if United sign Van Persie, or any other striker—a possibility given the Robert Lewandowski rumours are circling again—then Cleverley could be working a lot more on his long-range passing game this season.

Curtains for Chicharito?

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    Dimitar Berbatov is almost certain to leave Manchester United this summer, but another striker who could be departing soon is Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

    Chicharito was already the third-choice striker behind Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, and if United land Robin van Persie, he'll unassailably be the fourth-choice forward.

    While that would give the Red Devils possibly the greatest up-front depth in world football, it could also mean bye-bye for Hernandez.

    After all, with United also confirmed to be in for Lucas Moura, and the two full-back positions also needing to be addressed (especially left-back), the Mexican striker—who in any case would play a very bit-part role—could be sold to free up funds.

    Having Hernandez in the team will give United the balance they need in attack, but with around 15-20 appearances all season on the cards for Chicharito, it could be the case that both parties call time on his Old Trafford career.

    Of course that is only if United sign a new striker this summer—otherwise the Mexico international should be good for 30-35 appearances and 15-20 goals this season.

Arsenal-Like Midfield

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    Manchester United could adopt an Arsenal-like midfield with the signing of Robin van Persie.

    With 4-3-3 set to be the preferred formation regardless this season, adding Van Persie could also make United more unpredictable in midfield as well as attack.

    At the moment, their 4-3-3 is set to work with Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick the deep-lying playmakers, and Shinji Kagawa the link between midfield and attack, supporting and linking up with Wayne Rooney and the wingers.

    However, having Van Persie and Rooney in the same team gives manager Sir Alex Ferguson the scope to alter the midfield and make it harder for opponents to second-guess what midfield setup United have.

    With Van Persie and Rooney, United could play a midfield similar to the Gunners, with Van Persie spearheading the attack and Rooney just behind, with Kagawa or Scholes the box-to-box midfielder ahead of Michael Carrick as the holding mid.

    In essence, signing Robin van Persie will require some significant changes to the United team—but will also give them a new dimension and could be the key to regaining the Premier League title.