Many saw the signing of Robin van Persie as something of a short-term deal. The 29-year-old joined from Arsenal in a £24 million deal that stunned the Premier League and it has been vindicated with the prolific Dutchman spearheading United’s climb to the top of the table.
It was seen as a signing to tip the balance of power back into United’s favour and to give the club a welcome pick me up after a dismal end to the 2011/12 season.
But if Robin van Persie’s recent interview with Dutch publication Voetbal International is anything to go by, he may be around for more than just a few seasons.
“For the next few years I will be at Manchester United – and maybe longer. United could be my last club,” he said.
“You have a number of clubs in Europe where older players can find it good, where they are valued. You used to have that at Juventus and AC Milan, Manchester United today is a good example. So who knows how long I will stay at the club.
“There is a new challenge for me every day at United. My development is an ongoing process. That gets an extra boost when you are surrounded by new coaches and team-mates, all with their own ideas, in a totally new environment.”
Van Persie has proved a massive hit since his controversial transfer over the summer and has scored 23 goals in all competitions. The Dutchman ended his mini-goal drought in style over the international break with three goals in two matches including a superb header.
Throughout the glorious years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign as Manchester United manager, old heads have always been utilised to full effect.
Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes still continue to defy their advancing years and Edwin Van Der Sar, Gary Neville and Dennis Irwin are further examples of experienced players performing into their late 30’s.
Despite having an injury blighted beginning to his footballing career, the striker has been relatively injury free for the best part of two years (touch wood) and has featured frequently this campaign, hardly missing a game in the league.
Many believe van Persie has all the necessary tools to continue performing at the highest level well in to his late 30’s. He has never been blessed with the lightning pace of many other strikers but is gifted technically, leading many to speculate that the 29-year-old can continue to make an impact on the big stage in the latter stages of his career.
As well as hinting at his desire to finish his playing days at United, van Persie has also heaped praise on fellow compatriot and first-team coach Rene Meulensteen and believes the master tactician prepares him and his team-mates in the best possible way.
He continued: “Rene’s (Rene Meulensteen, Manchester United’s first-team coach) training is always designed with a view to the next opponent.
“Every week we are prepared for the specific playing style of the opponent, we must each play to deal with a style. That is our strength. We have our own qualities and we know in detail where the weak points of the opponent are.