Robin van Persie Disillusioned at Man United, Claims Coach Raymond Verheijen

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

Netherlands team captain Robin Van Persie poses before the friendly soccer match between France and Netherlands at the Stade de France in Saint Denis, north of Paris, Wednesday March 5, 2014.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Remy de la Mauviniere/Associated Press

Dutch coach Raymond Verheijen has spoken of his belief that Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is unhappy at the club under David Moyes.

Colin Harvey of The Daily Star reports that Verheijen, who was part of the Netherlands' coaching staff that went to the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and knows Van Persie well, commented: "Robin isn't stupid, he knows exactly how late [in his career] it is."

Verheijen continued:

For years he was at Arsenal winning nothing, and then he made the move to Man United so at least he could win some things in his career because he was already in his late 20s. He had a lot of loyalty to Arsenal and it was difficult for him - it was a painful move. Ideally he would have finished his career at Arsenal winning some trophies.

He knew that was not going to happen, so he had to make that move. He made a painful, but brilliant move. He had a very successful first year, wins the title and then thinks 'let's go for the Champions League now'.

Then, all of a sudden, Ferguson retires. How do you think he felt?

If he had known that was going to happen he still would have left Arsenal, because staying there would mean zero trophies. He would definitely have moved but would have more than likely gone to Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

Jon Super/Associated Press

The words of Van Persie's former coach will be stinging for Moyes and United. 

Despite the rumours of discontent, Van Persie has given his club his usual good return in the goal department. In his 16 games in the Premier League this season he has netted 11 times, per Squawka.

Moyes had previously moved to refute claims that Van Persie might want away from the Premier League champions, describing the allegation as "absolute nonsense," but he admitted that his side should be performing better than they have done: 

Whether Van Persie is happy or not, Moyes needs to get the most out of him and work with the Dutchman to improve United's win record.

It appears Van Persie is uncomfortable as the lone striker in Moyes' 4-4-1-1 formation, which restricts his movement around the last third of the pitch. Moyes' tactics will need to be tweaked in the coming games if he wants to include his best players in their best positions, but the danger is that the Scotsman will ignore this.

Van Persie is one of the few genuine world-class strikers in the Premier League, and Sir Alex Ferguson pulled off a masterstroke in his acquisition. Now it is up to the board to give Van Persie the assurances he needs, as they did with Wayne Rooney. This is not the time for United to lose their best players, and RvP is one of them.

Rob Griffith/Associated Press

With Nemanja Vidic being moved on, there could also be an opportunity for Van Persie to take the armband from him and be captain of the team as he once was at Arsenal.

This could improve his relationship with Moyes. 

However, the expectancy is that Rooney will be given the honour. The scenario is a mirror image of last season: Van Persie was Ferguson's main go-to guy, with Rooney on the outside, looking in.

Now it appears that Rooney is Moyes' golden child, leaving Van Persie as the odd man out.