With their recent announcement of an accepted bid (per The Independent), it seems that Manchester United are convinced that Robin van Persie will be the player to help them regain the Premier League crown from their hated neighbors.
However, they will be disappointed when they get their man, for a variety of reasons.
The whole move for the Dutch striker smacks of desperation on the part of Sir Alex Ferguson, as if he knows that he doesn’t have the time to bring in the young talent that he is so famous for developing.
Instead he needs to win now, which makes sense when you consider that he is buying a 29-year-old striker whose future is as uncertain as any right now.
United aren’t known for the reckless, transfer-market-monopolising of Manchester City and Chelsea. Instead they have offered the smallest glimpse of hope that it is still possible to build a team, not just vomit cash on the nearest club that has a successful player. That’s why this move seems all the more bemusing.
RVP’s record at Arsenal has been enviable and it’s understandable that Ferguson wants that kind of goal threat on his team. However, there’s absolutely no guarantee that van Persie will have the same impact at Old Trafford.
We saw at Euro 2012 that van Persie doesn’t always raise his game when it’s demanded of him and a lack of commitment will certainly not sit well with Ferguson. Especially if they are going to pay him the £220,000 a week that he is rumoured to be demanding.
It’s not as if United really needed a striker, anyway. Paul Scholes isn’t going to be around forever, so it would have seemed much more sensible if Ferguson had found a replacement for him first. The added risk of buying van Persie comes from having to actually play him.
His impact on the wage bill demands that he sees the maximum amount of minutes, which is going to have an adverse effect on the development of Danny Wellbeck.
Wellbeck has given the United boss much to think about with good performances playing next to Wayne Rooney, so the move to suddenly pull the rug out from under him seems like a slap in the face.
Wellbeck has the talent to become a prolific striker—for both United and England—and the acquisition of van Persie may force him to seek employment elsewhere to ensure that his ascent continues.
Rooney will not be the player benched, so Wellbeck will find himself on the outside looking in, along with Javier Hernandez. Dimitar Berbatov will find himself so far out of Old Trafford that he may as well be playing for Man City, but that’s likely to be of little concern to Ferguson now.
Van Persie scored 37 goals across all competitions last year, so if he can recapture that form—forging a good relationship with Rooney and reclaiming the title in the process—then Ferguson and the United fans will be convinced of the transfer’s validity.
After that, however, he turns 30 and the questions will start again.