On Thursday afternoon Robin Van Persie, captain of English powerhouse Arsenal and top scorer of the EPL last year, will move to major rivals Manchester United for a stunning 235,000 pounds-a-week deal after a 24 million pound deal was agreed between the two clubs. That means that a player that has spent a fair amount of time on the treatment table (last season was his first season playing every game for Arsenal), will earn a whopping 12.2 million pounds a week. Manchester United are undoubtedly adding an exceptionally talented forward to an attack that includes the like of Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, and the world’s best fifth-choice striker in Dimitar Berbatov, but the question remains; was this a neccessary deal for Manchester United?
Van Persie is 29 years old and while he is at his peak now, his declining years are not in the too-distant future. Arsene Wenger has a habit of selling players for big money right before they decline (Patrick Viera, Thierry Henry) and this seems to be no different. Van Persie has no sell-on value as by the time his contract expires so he is obviously a purchase for the immediate first-team, and as indicated above, he has a history of spending large portions of time on the treatment table.
The purchase of Kagawa was possibly one of the most crucial transfers for the Red Devils as it fills one of the biggest holes in the squad (the other being a creative deep-lying playmaker to replace the aging Paul Scholes), and allows Wayne Rooney to finally relieve the burden of dropping deep and now can fully focus at attacking the opponent’s defense, a frightful notion for all EPL teams. However Van Persie is of the same mould as Rooney in that he is more effective getting the ball and using his creativity to start counterattacks. One only has to look at his form for Holland in the Euro 2012 to see that he is not a poacher and is more effective as a No. 10 than a traditional No. 9 forward. Welbeck does not offer the goalscoring consistency to aid this issue, since he is the type of striker that plays in his teammates, as one could see with the tandem that he and Rooney forged during the last season. The best poacher on the team is Hernandez and his spot on the team is now at risk due to his injury woes last year and the arrival of Van Persie.
Nevertheless an attacking quadrant of Kagawa, Van Persie, Rooney and Antonio Valencia with a wealth of options on the bench that has the likes of Ashley Young, Nani, Hernandez, and Welbeck is sure to give Manchester United the firepower necessary to match up to Manchester City’s fearsome offensive machine. The money may have been to better use in buying a deep-lying playmaker, but it is possible that Cleverly or Anderson are able to step up this year to ease the burden on Paul Scholes and relieve the pressure by the fans to buy a player in the mould of Modric or Sneijder. The truth is that this is a deal that will help United’s attempt to stop City from creating an era of dominance, but in the long-term the questions still remain for Sir Alex’s Red Devils.
About the Author
Written by Mahmoud Ghellai