In the scenario that Manchester United centre-forward Robin van Persie wants to leave in the summer transfer window, could management replace him with Hannover 96's Mame Diouf, a former United player? Here is a scouting report on whether or not Diouf fits in at United in the hypothetical situation that the club target the 26-year-old Senegalese international.
Why RvP Could Leave Reason 1
Van Persie jumped ship from perennial underachieving Arsenal, a club that has not won a trophy in eight-going-on-nine years, to United, a club with the most English Premier League titles ever.
Sir Alex Ferguson's presence and winning attitude would have been a major factor in Van Persie's decision.
"We [United management] had told Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, for example, that I would not be retiring any time soon," former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson wrote in his autobiography. "Which was correct at the point I said it."
Ferguson used Van Persie for a last hurrah before retiring.
Here was Van Persie's reaction, per Sky Sports: "I was not happy to hear his [Ferguson's] message."
Why RvP Could Leave Reason 2
Van Persie probably sighed when he found out David Moyes, who has never won any significant trophy at top-flight level, was named as the successor to Ferguson.
Bert van Marwijk led the Netherlands to the 2010 FIFA World Cup final. Arsene Wenger coached Arsenal to an unbeaten Premier League season. Louis van Gaal, a Champions League-winning manager, has won titles in three different countries (the Netherlands, Spain and Germany). Ferguson has won 49 trophies.
Those are just some of Van Persie's managers and then there is Moyes, who won the second division with Preston North End in the 1999-2000 season.
United management are going to give Moyes £100 million to rebuild the club, per Mark Ogden at the Telegraph, so is Van Persie, 30, willing to stick around?
Why RvP Could Leave Reason 3
You have to give Rooney's agent Paul Stretford props for being so brazen in negotiating a £300,000-per-week contract extension (which has yet to be officially confirmed), per Sam Wallace at the Independent.
If Rooney does end up earning £300,000-per-week at United, then expect Van Persie to demand the same salary.
This could lead to an unsavory exit if United management dismiss the idea of giving an injury-prone 30-year-old £300,000-per-week.
Mame Diouf was called 50cent by a young patient who was a bolton fan! Not for the 1st time though!— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) December 23, 2011
Once only known as having an uncanny resemblance to rapper 50 Cent, Diouf was a flop in England: Did not make the grade at United and scored three goals in 27 Premier League games on loan at Blackburn Rovers.
Though, you can spin that in a positive light: Diouf has Premier League experience.
Diouf has all the traits to be a successful Premier League No. 9 should he give the league another try.
Diouf wins 5.4 headers per game this season and is always a threat to score off crosses, therefore he fits into Moyes's game plan, per Adam Bate at Sky Sports: "Spread the play wide. Cross. Retrieve the ball. Spread the play wide. Cross. Repeat."
David Moyes-themed controller for the PlayStation... pic.twitter.com/gr5QghTOhd— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 10, 2014
Diouf is not just a target for crosses, he has pace which Wolfsburg found out in 2012 when he cut through their defence with a long run during Hannover's 2-0 victory.
He is a superb athlete as demonstrated with an outrageous overhead kick outside the box in a 5-4 defeat to Schalke.
Another facet about Diouf is he can lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 or play alongside another forward in a 4-4-2, both formations corresponding with Moyes's tactics.
With Diouf's contract expiring at the end of the season, he could arrive on a free transfer if United can convince him to uproot his family and move back to Manchester again.
"I love the city [Hanover] and I am starting to play like I want to," Diouf said, per FIFA.com. "I want to focus on what happens on the pitch and we'll see what happens."
In the hypothetical situation that Van Persie leaves, Diouf can come in and compete with Danny Welbeck for the No. 9 position.
Welbeck is a more proficient shooter, but Diouf is stronger in the air and more adept at bringing his teammates into play.
|Shots Per Goal||8.7||4.4|
|Shooting Accuracy %||45||50|
|Key Passes Per Game||0.9||0.6|
|Headers Won Per Game||5.4||0.5|
What about Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez?
Well, since his agent "had meetings with a few clubs" during the January transfer window, per ESPN Deportes (h/t Paulo Freitas at Sky Sports), you assume Chicharito could leave in the summer transfer window.
Granted, Diouf is not in Van Persie's class, United fans have to accept targeting great but not world-class players will be of the norm should Moyes's team miss out on UEFA Champions League football next season.
Re-signing Diouf on a free transfer would be a steal for United.