All the hysteria surrounding the arrival of Robin Van Persie has meant that it’s very difficult for any United fan not to get carried away with the signing of the Premier League’s top goalscorer. Trawling through social media sites as well as speaking to friends and family the whole RVP announcement almost felt like the time we signed Eric Cantona or the afternoon I got home from school to see Andy Cole was joining the Reds. The signing may have seemed imminent but with the on/off Wesley Sniejder/Lucas Moura deals of late, not to mention us being favourites for a certain tweeting Belgian there was an air of reservation amongst many Reds until the deal was actually confirmed by someone more credible than an ‘ITK agent’ on twitter.
Many people I spoke to, or read, were claiming that not only is the league was now assured, European glory beckons and that this could be the most triumphant season since “and Solskjaer has won it.”
Naturally I’d love that assessment to be true and I think the first part is close to the truth although not due to the arrival of Van Persie. I’ve said all along that the return of Nemanja Vidic, plus Paul Scholes starting the season rather than coming into it at the halfway stage, David De Gea being more settled and Tom Cleverley, hopefully playing more than a handful of games, should give United the edge in the title race. Losing our captain was a massive blow, despite Jonny Evans’s superb form and with him in the heart of our defence I always felt the league was there for the taking.
Signing Van Persie may make the league title slightly easier to wrestle from City’s grasp, but I’m not totally convinced we’ve now gone from a side that was going to finish second to one that will finish first in the Premiership.
That brings me onto Europe, could United launch an assault on club football’s most coveted prize? Similarly to the league we were already in a better position to have a successful season in Europe the question is how successful? It’s difficult to see past the two Spanish sides for Champions League glory, but as Chelsea showed last season, anything can happen.
The signing of Van Persie doesn’t suddenly make me think we’re good enough to win the CL, but there’s one major factor his arrival does change: belief.
A marquee player like him arriving at Old Trafford, at the peak of his footballing ability suddenly makes everyone ‘believe’ we’re capable of beating practically anyone, even the cream of Europe and that is one positive that cannot be ignored. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen this sort of excitement before when the likes of Juan Sebastian Veron or Dimitar Berbatov arrived as seemingly the ‘final pieces of the puzzle’ to take United to another level. The difference between then and now is United weren’t wounded beasts when the two supremely talented individuals signed. We were on something of a wave and confidence was at its pinnacle.
Now though following last season and the recent transfer snubs, United more than ever need a bit of a lift, the sort of boost that can translate to stepping onto the pitch assured that we’re going to win. RVP’s arrival also gives us our strongest strike force since 1999 and the rotation of that quartet didn’t work out too badly, so it’s not even a case of trying to accommodate him.
I was n’t convinced we needed Van Persie, but now he’s here, I can already feel the buzz and excitement he’s created and can’t see that being a bad thing especially in the light of recent Glazer-induced turbulent times amongst fans and even the manager.
Van Persie may not be enough to help us conquer Europe, he may not have been necessary for us to regain the league, but the belief he’s suddenly given everyone at Manchester United, is worth a lot more than even his hefty price tag…and it’s only been a matter of hours.