Manchester United Transfer News: Robin Van Persie Makes Striker Deal Unlikely

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2014

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates after scoring against Arsenal during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Nov. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

After weeks of speculation about his alleged unhappiness at Manchester United, Robin van Persie has finally spoken his mind to put the rumours to bed.

In recent times, RvP has looked out of sorts on the football pitch as he attempts to recover his form and fitness after a campaign hit by injury.

However, van Persie was clear in his sentiments when he said on Thursday, per David McDonnell's article in The Mirror:

The truth is I'm very happy at this club.

I signed for four years and I’d be delighted to stay even longer, beyond the next two years I have left on my contract. This is how I feel, although it’s not what has been suggested. I’m very happy with my team-mates and I’m very happy with my manager and his staff.

The sessions we have on the training ground are fantastic and I'm learning a lot from them every day. I've been a professional footballer for 12 years and there’s no doubt I’m learning new things and progressing with David Moyes.

Jon Super/Associated Press

The last line of van Persie's quote is significant. It is a public backing of Moyes when it appears that United's results could indicate that he has lost the dressing room.

However, van Persie's further comments really do put these notions to bed, per McDonnell: 

I've worked with some brilliant coaches and I've taken a real interest in all the methods they use and the choices they make. And I can tell you that Moyes’ sessions and the things he says in his team meetings are spot-on. I really enjoy working under him and I’m absolutely convinced things will pick up and we’ll turn it around.

Jon Super/Associated Press

The timing of RvP's words is interesting, just before the visit of North West derby rivals Liverpool on Sunday. It is the shot in the arm that United fans needed.

Speculation has dragged on for weeks and was fired up by van Persie's former coach Raymond Verheijen, who had previously given his opinion of the player's contentment at Old Trafford, per FourFourTwo:

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.

Van Persie's latest words now make United's pursuit of a top-level striker highly unlikely. It appears that the Dutchman's intentions to stay beyond his current deal will solidify his place in the United squad, leaving no room for a player of the magnitude of Edinson Cavani, who was recently linked with the Reds by Tom Hopkinson and Steve Bates of The Mirror.

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Van Persie has continued to prove there is nothing wrong with his goal record. Even in a season of such turmoil for United, the player has achieved impressive figures. 

RvP has 11 goals in his 17 Premier League appearances, per Squawka, and a strong finish to the season could see the Dutchman record a better goals-to-games ratio than last year's championship-winning performance.

However, it is questionable whether van Persie is the right player for Moyes and his tactics. As the United manager more regularly plays a 4-2-3-1 to accommodate the talents of Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj, van Persie is left as the lone striker, isolated and having to do a lot of running. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Robin Van Persie, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney of Manchester United stand over a free kick during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on February 22, 2014 in London,
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

This is not his game and Danny Welbeck is more suited to this tactic. Van Persie likes to drop deep and drift into the channel, where he can manipulate his marker and find space. Rooney fulfils this role for United, leaving van Persie to perform a different function.

But the world-class ability of the Dutchman cannot be denied.

If he is truly happy at United then Moyes will feel, at least in the shorter term, that he can accommodate a player of such proven brilliance. There will be no need to buy a striker, and funds can be concentrated on the midfield and defence. 

Now the Dutchman just has to improve his general form and touch on the pitch, and the rumours of discontentment will fade away into history. A full-on assault by United for the final Champions League place will focus one and all on football matters once again.