As many Manchester United fans are probably more than aware, it has come to light in recent days that their star striker, Robin van Persie, is being linked with a move away from Old Trafford.
The story—which was broken by the Mirror, allegedly following comments made by legendary Match of The Day pundit Mark Lawrenson—suggests that the Dutchman has handed in a formal transfer request and may be on his way out of Manchester as early as this January.
When stories with as much potential impact as this one are broken, the natural reaction for most supporters is to analyse the source that is providing the information.
As many fans on this site will tell you, if it isn’t The Guardian, BBC Sport, Sky Sports or The Telegraph leading the way with an angle, then most concerned spectators (rightly or wrongly) don’t give the story a second glance.
This is one of the occasions when this rule, that most of the Red Devils’ army follows, applies.
So, RVP is staying at United, right? In all honesty, almost certainly.
However, that doesn’t detract from why a well respected figure like Lawro would be coming out and announcing that the striker wants a move away, knowing full well how much of a stir it would cause amongst the masses.
Whether you believe that van Persie has or hasn’t handed in a transfer request, one thing is always for certain when it comes to the world of football: there is never any smoke without fire.
Unquestionably, with a string of terrible results plummeting the champions down to a miserable ninth spot in the league table, there is bound to be some sort of unhappiness amongst the ranks of a previously elite squad.
Usually the greatest level of unrest comes from the players who are most accustomed to winning. Robin has demonstrated in his short time with the club that beneath that cool exterior lies a ferocious beast waiting to be unleashed.
The red mist has descended on more than one occasion since his arrival from the Emirates last summer, and it’s a wonder that he is still yet to receive a red card for the Red Devils.
This disgruntled—and at times arrogant—behaviour is exactly the sort of thing that would be prone to flaring up during training at such a dire point in United’s recent poor run—especially given his prolonged absence through injury and the frustration that must be causing him.
Let’s face it: top players like winning. That’s what they’re paid to do, and that’s what they expect to happen on a weekly basis. This year RVP has had very little to feed this need for success.
Does that mean he wants a move away from United this January? No. Does it mean that if things don’t pick up he may be looking for a way out in the near future? It’s not a yes, but United fans have to brace themselves for the worst.
This almost feels to me as if the former Arsenal man (who left the club because—let’s face it—they weren’t winning anything) is trying to find a reason to stay with United right now, using this potential world-beating partnership with Rooney to put his confused mind at ease.
This kind of news is a sign not only of van Persie in particular growing unhappy, but may well be the start of a mass exit of top players should the side not be able to drag themselves back into the top four—similar to what we have seen at Liverpool prior to this season.
This news isn’t too serious for David Moyes, who needs to desperately focus on picking up a string of victories in the weeks ahead.
However, whether United fans or the new manager like to hear it or not, this incident may be laying the groundwork for a whole host of future dramas should the side’s performance not pick up in the coming match-days.