Another summer of transfer gossip; another summer of lies to sell newspapers; another summer of “Sky sources understand…”; and it seems another summer of misery for United fans.
2011 saw a three-month long courtship with Dutch ace, Wesley Sneijder. One minute the bookies had stopped taking money on his move to Manchester, the next he was quoted saying it was 90 per cent likely that he was to stay at his current club, Inter Milan. The fundamental point in what became a farcical topic, is, nobody within the club confirmed he was a target of ours – so as far as I am concerned, we never missed out on him. In fact, we were never in for him.
A combination of tabloid journalists that would sell their soul to shift a newspaper, and this current, and frankly embarrassing trend of ‘in the know’ accounts on Twitter, created enough hype between them, which had many of the Old Trafford faithful wanting, hoping, and believing the creative central player would be playing in red come 2012. This story did not have a happy ending.
This summer is different. Manchester United head honcho, Sir Alex Ferguson, has openly admitted who he is looking to bring to the club.
Naturally, it is not in the club’s nature to comment on speculation, but with Arsenal having already confirmed interest from United, Sir Alex was left with no choice but to admit Robin Van Persie is on our radar.
2011/12 Player of the Year and top goal scorer, Van Persie, has attracted interest from Europe’s top clubs, including Juventus, Real Madrid and PSG – however, reports suggest none are willing to meet his wage demands.
It seems a no-brainer that if Sir Alex has confirmed the interest, and Arsenal have indicated towards their price, the deal should be as good as done – who could turn down United?
Of course, the lure of playing for a massive salary at a club like Manchester City, PSG or Chelsea is an attractive sight for many footballers; just ask Van Persie’s ex-team mates, Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichey, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebeyor, who all left the Emirates for huge contracts elsewhere.
You will not be playing in front of a packed stadium every week; you will probably be replaced within two seasons by a better player – but boy oh boy, you will earn enough money to buy your own country – who wouldn’t be tempted?
Robin Van Persie, despite having an amazing season for Arsenal, has many question marks surrounding him.
A less than impressive goal scoring record for five years prior to last, and a history of spending months on the treatment table, does not fill potential suitors with confidence.
The Arsenal captain also has his critics who say he cannot perform at the highest level, having choked for Holland at Euro 2012.
Would he be worth a £20m fee? Would he be worth £150k a week? Would he become the new Owen Hargreaves?
At the age of 29, and into the last year of his contract, this would very much be the last big move for the Holland ace – and the last chance to join a club which can offer him the opportunity of silverware; and I firmly believe he would be less of a risk than people think.
Was signing Eric Cantona a risk in 1992? He was a trouble maker that had been kicked out of the French squad for criticising the coach – not to mention being kicked out of the Marseille squad and not settling at Nimes, Sheffield Wednesday (loan) or Leeds. A journeyman with a bad attitude.
Was Teddy Sheringham a risk in 1997? He was already into his twilight years (31) and playing for mid-table Tottenham – what could he possibly bring to the United side?
Was Wayne Rooney a risk in 2004? £26m for a teenager who had no more than three years’ experience behind him? A lot of money to pay for potential alone.
Robin Van Persie, 2012, no more of a risk than any of the above. Sign him up.