Robin van Persie didn’t take the decision to leave Arsenal, where he had spent eight years and was the team’s talismanic captain, for Manchester United easily.
The Dutchman knew that his legacy at the Emirates Stadium would be destroyed if he chose to join the Red Devils - but he knew he needed to leave north London in order to land his hands on the Premier League trophy.
Van Persie completed his £22.5 million switch in the summer of 2012 and helped United seal their 20th league title in his debut campaign at Old Trafford.
In fact, ‘helped’ would be a gross understatement. Without Van Persie, who scored 26 league goals during the 2012-13 campaign, United probably wouldn’t have won the title - and perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn’t have brought an end to his glittering managerial career.
Van Persie arrived in Manchester full of admiration for the legendary British coach and the two men formed a formidable working relationship.
Ferguson's retirement hit Van Persie hard
However, after his first season at Old Trafford, Fergie stunned the world by calling it a day. His time had come to leave.
Van Persie was never the same player after the Scot’s retirement. Rio Ferdinand admitted in 2014 that Ferguson’s departure hurt the Dutch striker more than any other player in the United dressing room.
Not even the appointment of Louis van Gaal, hired after the disastrous 10-month reign of David Moyes, sparked Van Persie back into life.
At the end of his third campaign with the Red Devils, he was unceremoniously moved on to Fenerbahce for just £3.84 million.
Van Persie: The idea was Ferguson would stay
Ahead of his first return back to Old Trafford, Van Persie has admitted that he was effectively misled when he agreed to sign for the Premier League giants.
"When I signed for [Manchester United], that was the idea. Sir Alex would stay for a few more years but things change positive and negatively,” he was quoted as saying by BBC Sport’s Simon Stone.
Van Persie looking forward to United reunion
On playing against his former employers, Van Persie was quoted by the Mirror as saying: "It will be a special occasion and a special game for me.
"I know Manchester United want to be in the Champions League, but it's how it is now and for me it is a very special group in the Europa League [his first club, Holland's Feyenoord, are also in the section].
"I'm now playing for Fenerbahce and I want to do well for my team, but of course it will be special to play 'at home' in a great stadium with great fans against a great team.
"It will be tough for us. United are the favourites, but you never know what will happen."
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