Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is understood to have ‘trained ferociously’ over recent days in a bid to end the season on a high.
This is according to the Mirror, who speculate that Van Persie’s increased efforts in training this week might be due to the fact the Netherlands international has a point to prove.
The 31-year-old’s contract expires in the summer of 2016, but despite the fact he would like to sign an extension, it’s not clear whether the Red Devils feel the same way.
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United could sell Van Persie this summer
There’s a possibility that Manchester United will consider cashing in on Van Persie when the season ends, even though Radamel Falcao is also set to leave Old Trafford when his loan deal expires this summer.
The former Arsenal captain has struggled for form and fitness since the end of the 2012-13 campaign - his debut season at Old Trafford following his shock £24 million move from the Emirates Stadium - and may find himself on the bench when he returns from the ankle injury that has ruled him out of action for the past five weeks.
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Van Gaal is a huge Van Persie fan
However, it’s no secret that Louis van Gaal is a huge fan of Van Persie, the striker he made captain of the Netherlands national team during his spell in charge of the Oranje.
The two men have an excellent working relationship and Van Persie has started in all 24 Premier League matches in which he has been available to feature in this season.
This Saturday, for the first time this term, Van Gaal is expected to start Van Persie from the bench in a Premier League match - against Aston Villa at Old Trafford - although the veteran Dutch coach will never start a player after a prolonged period of time on the sidelines.
United performing better without Van Persie
United’s performances have improved dramatically without Van Persie leading the line, with Wayne Rooney performing well upfront and Ander Herrera flourishing in central midfield in the Dutchman’s absence.
And with Manchester City and Chelsea to play in successive weekend’s after this Saturday’s clash against Aston Villa, Van Gaal must decide whether including Van Persie in his starting line-up is worth the potential disruption it might cause.
The large majority of Manchester United fans would claim it isn’t, particularly after the team’s superb wins over Tottenham and Liverpool.
United fans: does Robin van Persie have a future at Old Trafford? Should Van Gaal play him against City and Chelsea? Have your say in the comments below!