Football

Robin van Persie: Past his best already?

Van Persie joined Manchester United from Arsenal in 2012 (©GettyImages)
Van Persie joined Manchester United from Arsenal in 2012 (©GettyImages).

When Manchester United confirmed the £24m signing of Robin van Persie in 2012, some questioned whether a striker aged 29 was worth that considerable amount of money.

He may have been arguably the best player in the Premier League at the time, but it was still a perfectly reasonable question to ask.

This was a player less than 12 months away from turning 30 - the age when players, particularly strikers, tend to show signs of decline.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson needed to take one look at the Dutchman's greying hair to realise he wasn't signing a spring chicken - not that he was overly concerned; after all, the Scot knew this would be his final season in charge at Old Trafford, and helping the club win their 20th league title was his primary aim.

It ended up working out perfectly for United, Ferguson and Van Persie, who went on to lift that 20th league title in emphatic fashion.

From the very start it proved to be a match made in footballing heaven. Van Persie would score 30 goals in all competitions, lifting the Premier League Golden Boot award along the way, while Ferguson bowed out of football a winner as United snatched the title back from the grasp of local rivals Manchester City.

But given his advancing years, it's entirely plausible that United may have already seen the best of Robin van Persie at Old Trafford.

Will he enjoy another 30-goal season again at the age of 30, 31 or 32? Serious doubts persist after watching his first few matches under David Moyes's management.

The Netherlands international opened his account with two stunning goals away to Swansea City on the opening day of the season, before following that performance up with two disappointing displays against Chelsea and Liverpool - the Red Devils' most important matches during these opening weeks of the campaign.

Van Persie was decisive in last season's Premier League matches against both clubs before Christmas, but struggled to make an impact this time around, as United picked up one point from the two fixtures.

Of course, much of that was down to the transitional stage United currently find themselves in, with the team steadily adjusting to post-Ferguson life under Moyes.

Still, there's no getting away from the fact that Van Persie isn't getting any younger and United need a reliable goalscorer - aside from Wayne Rooney, who plays from a deeper position - in order to keep the Premier League trophy in their silverware cabinet.

Ferguson was a master at moving on star players as soon as he noticed the slightest signs of decline.

Will Moyes be as ruthless to Van Persie at some point in the near future?

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Robin Van Persie

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