Let’s get one thing straight. Robin van Persie joined Manchester United to win silverware. He didn’t join because he was a lifelong United fan. He knew the animosity it would create with Arsenal fans because of his history at the club but at 29, he couldn’t wait any longer and didn’t want to finish his career without a league title to his name.
His decision was vindicated immediately at Old Trafford with silverware in his first season but all is not well this year with Van Persie and reports have gathered pace over the past few weeks that something is wrong in the Van Persie camp. We took a look at the reasons why Van Persie may be frustrated and the Daily Mail’s Martin Allen even tries to put it down a power struggle but regardless of the situation, his body language this season has certainly been noticeably different from last year.
It was always a risk that United took on Van Persie when they signed a 29-year-old injury prone striker but it looked like those issues were behind him last year. However, they have come to the fore again this year and United have had to cope without him which leads to a simple question:
Should United consider selling Van Persie if we could get £20 million for him?
Van Persie’s debut season was incredible and he had a similar impact to Van Nistelrooy but injuries have curtailed him from doing the same this season. If United could recoup the majority of his fee and reinvest it immediately, would it be the right thing to do? There is certainly a risk that Van Persie’s injury troubles have returned which may see him sidelined more often than not at United from here on in.
But even if United entertained the idea of selling him, what club would want to buy Van Persie where he can challenge for trophies. In the Premier League, Manchester City don’t need a striker any more and a return to Arsenal would be strange, so Chelsea are the most likely option. In other leagues, Barcelona are in need of a striker.
From United’s perspective, the only way of justifying selling one of the best strikers in the league to recoup on some of his fee is to immediately reinvest it in an adequate replacement. However, we didn’t do that when we sold Ronaldo so there is every chance that if Van Persie left, United wouldn’t replace him given the Glazers’ preference to hold onto cash in the bank.
Van Persie doesn’t owe United anything. He came and won us the league in his first year and at 30, wants to finish his career with a flurry of silverware. That’s the only reason he left Arsenal. Even if United don’t want to sell him, he may seek a move elsewhere given how unpredictable United will be for the next few years.