Robin van Persie's first season at Old Trafford may have been the silverware-producing success that he was hoping for, but he is having a tough time with Manchester United at present, according to Louis van Gaal.
Netherlands coach van Gaal insists that the striker is happier when training with his national squad than under David Moyes, whose defending Premier League champions currently sit seventh in the Premier League standings.
Speaking at a FIFA workshop in Brazil this week, the Oranje manager is reported by Joe Callaghan of the Daily Mail saying:
I think he should be great in the tournament because he loves to play in the Dutch squad. The football from Man Utd now is for him maybe difficult but then he wishes to show his techniques. Techniques in the Dutch team for him is higher.
He has shown that all the qualification matches more than ever because he’s our top scorer and I hope he can continue this.
Van Persie has struggled to maintain fitness this term, but has still managed to bag 10 goals from the 15 league outings that he has featured in, per Transfermarkt.
It's in stark contrast to the Golden Boot-winning season of 2012-13, when the 30-year-old featured in all 38 Premier League fixtures during Sir Alex Ferguson's last season in charge, scoring 26 goals in the process.
Unfortunately for Moyes, the striker's absence has had a telling impact on the club's chances of retaining their title during his first campaign in charge of the English giants.
CNN's Tancredi Palmeri says things are so disrupted at the Theatre of Dreams that an Arsenal return is even on the cards for van Persie:
Van Gaal's comments won't help in correcting that struggle for club form, either, with United set to kick off the first of their two-legged affair against Olympiacos in the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday Feb. 25.
The Greek giants might be viewed as arguably the smallest team remaining in Europe's premier competition, but neither van Persie nor the Red Devils will be taking anything for granted.
More concerning for United fans is the insinuation from van Gaal that van Persie does not enjoy the style of football under Moyes at Old Trafford. Such a claim, if true, can deter other big-name players from signing for United.
The emphasis now will be on how the superstar forward reacts over the remainder of the season. If van Persie is enjoying his football more with his national side than his club, he may be tempted to save himself for what realistically represents his last chance of winning a World Cup.