Robin Van Persie's Signing Doesn't Gloss over Manchester United's Weaknesses

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2012

KHARKOV, UKRAINE - JUNE 13: Robin van Persie of Netherlands sits on the ground during the UEFA EURO 2012 group B match between Netherlands and Germany at Metalist Stadium on June 13, 2012 in Kharkov, Ukraine.  (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Robin van Persie's signing is a massive coup for Manchester United, but the fans shouldn't be fooled.

The 29-year-old would make an impact in any team, but for the Red Devils, van Persie's arrival isn't enough to pave over the cracks in midfield.

Although Shinji Kagawa's transfer is also a massive boost to the side, the Japanese international isn't the type of player who's snapped up for his physical capabilities.

Last season, United's midfield suffered terribly.

In too many matches, Fergie's men failed from a lack of bite. When the going got tough, nobody took control in the center.

The return of Paul Scholes improved the midfield's effectiveness, but again, he isn't going to win any awards for being the Premier League's resident powerhouse. Between Scholes and Michael Carrick, United's passing capabilities are amongst the best in the world.

Even so, a certain doggedness is missing.

Manchester City have Yaya Toure, who acts as the driving force for the entire team. It doesn't matter what part of the pitch he's on, the Ivorian has the sheer presence to pick his colleagues up by the scruff of their necks and grind out a result.

Right now, United don't have this.

With players like Tom Cleverly and Anderson returning, the team should fair better in the middle of the park. Both have consistently suffered with injuries, and if it goes wrong again, the Old Trafford crowd will witness the same problem once more.

Darren Fletcher is said to be on his way back (via The Independent), and there's no denying he's exactly the type of player needed to tighten up an uncharacteristic slackness.

It's often said players like Fletcher are needed for the superstars to shine, and I firmly believe that's true.

If Robin van Persie is to make a substantial impression, United need to bring in another midfield enforcer to back him up.

Ferguson's attacking threat is undeniable. With five senior strikers at the club, and at least three world-class wingers, van Persie will have more than enough chances to score.

The problem is, if the boys behind him don't show their teeth, his contribution will be futile.