It is an incontrovertible fact that Robin van Persie was Manchester United's best player last season.
Indeed, 44 goals in 71 games in the red shirt is an impressive tally. More importantly, even when he isn't playing well, he has some kind of impact - as his assist against West Brom proves. Players like that are rare and when a team finds one, it should usually do everything it can to keep him happy and prolific. That being said, David Moyes should sell Van Persie.
Had I made this claim three months ago, I would have been targeted by throngs of merciless Mancunians. Nowadays however, Van Persie's departure is a real possibility. There is little use in keeping around a player who clearly doesn't want to be in the team.
In United's recent game against West Brom, he roamed the field pointlessly, putting in bad tackles left, right and center. West Brom fans could even make a somewhat legitimate claim that he should have been sent off.
It's very rare for a player to fit so well into a team one year and look totally out of place the next, especially when the squad hasn't changed very much. Then again, Van Persie's isolation is very likely due to his own discontent with the team. No matter how many people assert that the Dutchman is content in the team, his attitude clearly suggests otherwise.
In terms of how much the striker's departure would hurt the team, one could argue that his departure would not be the Nostradamian catastrophe that many have assumed it would be. In the Juan Mata, Van Persie, Wayne Rooney trio, pace is one attribute that is clearly lacking.
United have never relied solely on the counterattack but have historically been reasonably prolific on the break. The lack of pace has heralded a noticeable change in United's tactics, with Moyes espousing a heavily possession-dependent style of play. His tactics however have brought disastrous results for one reason: a possession dependent game requires two world class center midfielders to dictate the play.
They act as the anchors, moving the ball in such a way to allow attacking players to take up the best possible position. Without the prerequisite midfielders, United instead enact a cycle, holding the ball for long periods of time and losing it before creating a scoring chance.
As a result of the possession game, United have been particularly susceptible to the counter attack. With Van Persie out of the team, the Red Devils would have the chance to employ a more speedy striker - one who is capable of sprinting up the field on the counter attack and isn't lagging ten yards behind.
Van Persie wouldn't be easy to replace but his departure would allow United to play a faster, and more productive kind of game. While it may be hard for some United fans to see it as so, his departure could be a blessing in disguise.
By selling him, Moyes would be making a statement of intent, stamping his authority over the United team. Time and time again, Sir Alex Ferguson sold his best player and rebuilt his squad, and continued to win. By selling Van Persie, Moyes can take a step out of Fergie's shadow.
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