Losing to Stoke City on Saturday somewhat took the wind out of the sails of the much-heralded renaissance of Manchester United. And if that wasn’t bad enough for United fans, Sunday newspapers are carrying a story that will only add to their depression. Star striker Robin van Persie is reported to be disenchanted with the David Moyes regime, and is thinking of quitting the club at the end of the season.
After his first season at the club under Sir Alex Ferguson, laden with goals and a title-winning medal, things have fallen apart a little. The Dutchman had a chequered injury history with the Gunners and missed a lot of games. Even that however improved under Ferguson and a fit and firing van Persie is a potent weapon in the Premier League. The current season however has seen a return to his health problems, and it’s been rumoured that the player attributes a portion of this to both Moyes’s training techniques, and an ill-judged rush to get him playing again following an injury absence. It recalls the comments of the Dutch fitness expert, much-publicised in the summer, that van Persie had concerns about the changes in training under the new manager.
With van Persie missing a chunk of the season to date, the decline in the fortunes of United is probably less of a surprise, but the Dutchman’s absence cannot be the only reason. Without delving too much into any internal politics, the simple answer is that the team is plainly not performing at the level that is expected, and as far as some of the newspapers are concerned, for van Persie, this isn’t what he signed on for.
It may seem like heresy at the moment, but if van Persie did choose to move on, it may actually help Moyes in his ploy to rebuild the squad. van Persie will be 31 before the new season starts, and with that sort of age comes an increasing propensity for injuries, and a decreasing value in the transfer market. It may be that for United, it could be time to cash in.
Whilst that may seem strange initially, consider this. United have Rooney and record-signing Juan Mata who both will want the ‘number ten’ role behind van Persie. Jamming both into a system that doesn’t really work, when one of them is out of position and therefore compromised, is less than ideal. If van Persie wasn’t there however, the option would be to play Rooney as the main striker and deploy Mata to support him. Suddenly playing them both isn’t a problem and actually fits perfectly. But will United countenance a sale of the Dutchman?
Reports on Sunday have suggested that a return to Arsenal may be a way out for van Persie, but I have to say that seems a little far-fetched to me. More likely perhaps could be a move to Italy, Germany or Spain. Barcelona have a penchant for that sort of player, and a move to the Blaugrana may just suit all parties.
As mentioned, this all seems so distant and unrealistic now, but if in July or August, such a move happens, remember this. Of course, all of this is only relevant if the reports are true, otherwise please just ignore all of the above!
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