Having been one of, if not the biggest push behind Manchester United's run to reclaiming the Premier League title in 2012/2013, it's difficult to quantify Robin van Persie's importance to the club.
It's difficult, because with him, the Red Devils look like a vastly more threatening outfit, yet are still a considerable power without his talents on the pitch, as was shown in the 5-0 battering of Bayer Leverkusen during midweek.
With that being said, the Dutchman is very much needed if David Moyes' side are to continue the Manchester United tradition of reviving their campaign around the new-year period, having been absent in the last few games.
According to David Lynch of the Manchester Evening News, van Persie is in line to make his return from injury against Tottenham this weekend along with Nemanja Vidic and Rafael, both of whom have also spent time on the sidelines of late.
In his strike partner's absence, Wayne Rooney has taken it upon himself to shoulder the brunt of United's attacking responsibilities.
The 28-year-old was nothing short of sensational Wednesday night against the Factory Squad, grabbing no less than four assists in the mauling of their German opponents.
WhoScored.com show just how essential the striker has been in Europe for United:
However, there's only so much even a revitalised Rooney can take on in terms of leading his side forward in front of goal, and when one looks around Moyes' squad, there's not too healthy a reserve of potential scorers.
Granted, there were four different scores on the sheet in Germany this week (plus an Emir Spahic own goal), but the brunt has almost exclusively been shared between Rooney and RVP this term, with the duo accounting for 13 of the club's 20 Premier League goals.
With seven goals in his 10 league outings so far in the campaign, van Persie has once again been a reliable asset for United to rely upon, but it's more the versatility that the player adds to Moyes' options that are valued than strictly goals alone.
Being able to take that goal burden off one player is a sizable contribution in itself, and the 30-year-old just so happens to be one of Europe's most reliable finishers himself.
As things stand, United are in sixth place and lay seven points away from league leaders Arsenal. The shock draw at Cardiff City last weekend was another example of the side's lack in possessing a certain killer touch that was so essential to their 2012/13 season.
If those kind of standards are to be revived, it's essential that van Persie makes a return to fitness and not leave his side relying on a selection of players who aren't currently cutting it as desired.
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