The arrivals of Eric Cantona and Robin van Persie at Manchester United were in many ways very different, but their impact was similar in catalysing the club to success.
They are very different players and men, with different styles of play, but what they share is a capacity for genius and that overused footballing epithet "world class." In 10, let alone 20 years' time they will both be regarded as legends in the same breath as Ronaldo, Best, Law, Charlton, Giggs and the rest.
So this article will consider not only their comparative impact on Manchester United, but also their similarities and differences.
To call Robin van Persie the new Eric Cantona is both a compliment and unhelpful at the same time. The Dutchman has greatness in his own right and in many ways far exceeds the Frenchman as an out-and-out professional.
One was a flawed genius and the other a consummate footballer; both had or have sheer talent flowing through their very being.
The underlying premise in the title "Can Robin van Persie Really be Manchester United's New Eric Cantona?" is based on his potential impact on the club and its fortunes. We shall go further.
But the best place to start is the circumstances of their respective arrivals.