United and City both vying for the signature of a player Arsenal are hoping to keep? Sound familiar? Robin Van Persie has replaced Samir Nasri as the Gooner being coveted by both halves of Manchester. Last season’s title loss couldn’t have been any closer and it’s pretty obvious to everyone that had Nasri signed for United, it would have been number 20.
The knowledge that missing out on Nasri proved pivotal, may have strengthened Sir Alex’s resolve when it comes to the purchase of Robin Van Persie. Should the Premier League’s top scorer join the champions, then the task of winning back “our trophy” would be made even more difficult. Sir Alex may also look back to the whole Carlos Tevez affair, where the manager by his own admission “hesitated” in trying to re-sign the player, which all but allowed him to join City, another seminal transfer moment.
It’s the knowledge of how instrumental losing Tevez and losing out on Nasri was in handing City success that must make Sir Alex adamant we need to sign Van Persie, not just for what he’ll add to our squad, but to prevent him adding it to Roberto Mancini’s side. That’s my theory anyway. The reason I believe this, is I don’t honestly see the need for spending upwards of £20 million on a player we simply do not need. Yes, RVP is class, but he’s also 29 in Auguest and isn’t going to greatly improve. Danny Welbeck on the other hand is only 21 years old, has just enjoyed his best season ever and has showed in the Euros just how far he’s come since he announced himself to many Reds with a stunning strike against West Brom.
If you look at Welbeck’s goal scoring stats they read played 98 scored 25 since he turned professional – not counting internationals. At 21 years-old, Welbeck is perfectly set to kick on and become one of the best strikers the Premier league has ever seen.
Just take a look at the Mancunian’s stats when compared with some of the best strikers we’ve seen over the past two decades. Alan Shearer at the age of 21, had played 48 games bagging 14 goals, the in-demand RVP had 78 apps and 22 goals, Eric Cantona, the greatest striker the Premier League has ever seen, had 79 games and 27 goals, while Didier Drogba’s record at the age of 21 was 83 games 18 goals.
All of the aforementioned strikers blossomed in the following seasons, many being not only their sides top scorers, but also one of the leagues.
Should Robin Van Persie come to United, the chances of Welbeck being able to progress properly will be stifled somewhat as he’s almost certainly destined to be relegated to the bench.
At Eastlands, our rivals have a similar situation with the development of Mario Balotelli, who’s stock has risen dramatically following his superb showing in the Euros.
Balotelli has had a somewhat blistering start to his career, with 148 games and 55 goals by the age of 21, even more impressive considering the standard of leagues he’s played in.
There’s no doubt should Van Persie end up at Eastlands- which he probably will- then Balotelli a player who despite his problems is extremely gifted, would surely see his opportunities limited, perhaps to the point where his temperament got the better of him and he decided to leave.
Personally I’d be happy if Van Persie didn’t sign for United as I fully expect Welbeck to become one of the league’s top scorers and eventually a legend at Old Trafford, City fans may have a similar feeling about Balotelli.
The question is would the short-term gain of signing a 28 year-old with a patchy injury record, at the expense of a striker on the cusp of greatness be worth it? I’d argue for both clubs it wouldn’t.