Football

Robin van Persie shows Van Gaal what he's missing

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The summer arrival of Robin van Persie from Manchester United was greeted by thousands of adoring Fenerbahce fans as he became Turkey's biggest import since Wesley Sneijder's move to Galatasaray in 2013.

The Dutchman came with star quality, a great footballing pedigree and a prolific goalscoring record. Many believed that the clinical forward would be a hit for his new club, but few thought his previous employers United would miss him so much.

Louis van Gaal may seem content with his club's position as they sit third in the Premier League table with seven points out of a possible nine, but underneath he must be concerned about United's blatant lack of potency in attack, particularly after they drew a blank at home to Newcastle in Saturday's goalless draw.

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With Wayne Rooney's poor form in front of goal, and only Javier Hernandez and James Wilson to choose from as backup strikers, Red Devils fans are crying out for another attacking option with many lamenting Van Gaal's ill-judged move which saw Van Persie leave the club this summer for a reported fee of £4 million. 

United's loss is Fenerbahce's gain, however, and the 32-year-old has shown brilliant early form for his new club. The Dutch marksman has been used sparingly by new manager Vitor Pereira as he works to build up his match fitness, but in just 92 minutes of playing time the striker has scored two goals, the most recent of which assisted by former United teammate Nani.

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Van Persie has scored goals wherever his career has taken him, and looks to be on track to do so again for Fenerbahce as the Turkish club look to reclaim the league title from their bitter Istanbul rivals Galatasaray. 

The former Arsenal man is a born finisher and a player who single-handedly fired United to their last title in the 2012/13 season with his 26 league goals. The Dutchman himself admitted that Sir Alex Ferguson's departure affected him badly, but surely he was worth keeping at Old Trafford?

Even a half-fit van Persie is an asset to any team, as Fenerbahce have discovered. There are few better manipulators of space in the box, few deadlier finishers and few strikers in the world as technically gifted.

Judging by the first few weeks of the new season, it appears that van Gaal has made a blunder by selling his Dutch compatriot. 

The challenge now for the Istanbul side will be to keep their marquee signing fit, happy and firing. After a disappointing start to life in Europe following elimination to Shakhtar Donetsk in the qualifying round of the Champions League, with the help of ex-United stars Nani and Van Persie, Fenerbahce will hope to get their season up and running with qualification to the Europa League. 

Van Gaal, meanwhile, will be cringing in his seat as he watches Van Persie start his career in Turkey with a bang, while he trawls through a list of available strikers who might not offer what the Dutchman still could.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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