One of the great transfer sagas of the summer is now at an end - Robin van Persie will be a Manchester United player next season. The Dutchman will agree terms on a £24 million move and undergo a medical at Old Trafford today and should be unveiled to the club's fans this afternoon.
While the deal is done the debate rages on; is Van Persie an over-age waste of money with only one good season under his belt that Arsenal have done well to get rid of for such a high price, or is he the man who can help United wrestle back the power in the Premier League from thier fierce rivals down the road, Manchester City?
Here to wiegh into the debate are two of GiveMeFootball's esteemed writers - but which one do you agree with? Read their arguments and have your say below!
"Forget his price and age, Van Persie's quality can fire United to the title" - Pete South, GMF Writer
Fear not Manchester United fans, your team are back in business. After a couple of frustrating summers in which English football’s dominant force had their status at the top of the tree questioned, the club’s supporters will be relieved to see that not only do they still have the pull to beat their rivals to the punch but that they have the cash to back them up in the transfer market.
There is no doubt United fans will allow themselves to feel a little smug this morning as Robin van Persie flies in to sign on the dotted line.
While Roberto Mancini is tearing his hair out about the lack of transfer activity this summer and Arsene Wenger has conceded defeat after another summer of losing his captain and talisman, they can lick their lips at the prospect of teaming the Premier League’s two deadliest strikers in Van Persie and Wayne Rooney together and watching them fly.
Now United have a front line and an attacking unit that can go blow for blow with the stars of Manchester City. Van Persie will likely be the focal point of United’s attack, ahead of a three-man line of Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and either Ryan Giggs or more likely Nani alongside them.
Rooney has evolved two facets of his game to allow him to be both the hitman and provider, something Van Persie is equally adept at. Neither will stay put in their fixed position and the pair will be interchangeable, making it a nightmare for defenders to pick up.
They have potential to create space for one another and their team mates. Their partnership may take some nurturing and understanding, but to suggest they cannot work together is to ignore the outstanding ability and intelligence of both men. Regardless, the pair are the Premier League's leading scorers over the past five years, and when has it ever been a problem to have too many goalscorers in one side?
Throw in the creative talents of Kagawa, the crossing ability of Antonio Valencia and the trickery of Nani, and this United side have goals seeping from their every pore.
With Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley, who should make Ferguson’s starting XI regularly from now on, showing a good understanding in midfield for England last night and Paul Scholes on hand to offer guile and experience, United should be a different proposition from last season. They certainly look a more rounded unit with Van Persie on board.
According to some the move is tempered by the fee Arsenal received for him. £24 million in total seems somewhat high for a 29-year-old with one year left on his deal, they say - revisionism deems that he has had one good season with Arsenal, just weeks after the club’s fans were anointing him their new hero.
The question of price is almost redundant. Ask any Premier League club if they would prefer Van Persie playing for or against them and the answer will always be the same – on face value, £22 million for the leading Premier League scorer last season is good value, last year of his contract or not. United will care not a jot how much he costs if he is to be the difference between winning and losing the title this time round.
"Wenger can prove Arsenal are better off without Van Persie" - Will Haine, GMF Writer
Robin van Persie's imminent £24 million move from Arsenal to Manchester United serves as a clear indication of how Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger differ.
Never would Wenger entertain the idea of bidding such a significant fee for a player pushing 30 and with only 12 months remaining on his contract, regardless of how talented he may be.
Ferguson, conversely, strives to do all he can to reinforce his United squad with the best players available and there can be no doubt that Van Persie is one of those. This deal does, however, represent a risk for Ferguson and, perhaps due to the scale of the investment, more so than any other United transfer in recent times.
Wenger can be content in the knowledge that Van Persie's move to Old Trafford represents a better deal for Arsenal than it does for Manchester United, and allows the Gunners to rebuild and reenergise without the distraction of their captain's desire to leave.
Van Persie's goalscoring ability will undoubtedly be a significant loss for Wenger, but generating £24 million when the Dutchman could have left for nothing in a year is a stunning piece of business.
Wenger moved early to ensure the damage left by Van Persie's departure was minimal, with the acquisitions of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud tempered by the poor planning last summer prior to the sales of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
With a sizeable fee now back in the kitty Wenger can reinforce again before the transfer window closes at the end of this month, and the recruitment of another striker remains feasible.
Fernando Llorente is a player who has been in the mind of Wenger and, should the Spaniard form a triumvirate with Podolski and Giroud, Arsenal can begin the new season with greater prospects than the last.